Managing employees: The HR essentials all employers and managers need to know!


Video Nine – Ending Employment – It’s time to say goodbye the right way

Kath: Hi everyone, and welcome to the ninth video in our series of managing employees, HR essentials all employers need to know. Today, I’m joined again by Paulette from Fresh HR Insights. Hi, Paulette. How are you?

Paulette: Hi, I’m good. Gosh, it only seems like yesterday since we filmed the last video. Months went so quick.

I know, it has. Absolutely. So, thanks for joining me again today. Today we’re going to be talking about ending employment. So how is the best way to finalize someone’s employment and how’s the right way to do it. So how do you, one, when someone who is, one when you have to terminate their employment, and the other way is, I guess, if someone’s actually resigning. What’s the right way to handle that?

And it really does come down to the right way to do it. Now all the way through this video series, we’ve talked about policies and procedures going through, we’ve talked about the disciplinary process. Now all those are setting you up and protecting you when it comes to the ending of employment. Now if a person’s resigned from their employment, quite often people choose to pay them in lieu of their notice, so they’re not required to attend the workplace and you pay them out their notice period in their final pay, as well as all the employee entitlements.

So, if they’re a permanent full time or permanent part time employee, you need to pay them out any accrued and remaining holiday leave that’s there. You need to pay it. And if you don’t, you’re going to have a claim against you.

With your notice period as well, you need to look at their length of service and what their notice period is.

Now if it comes down to where you’ve gone through disciplinary processes, we went back in video seven, so month seven with that, the disciplinary process with that, you need to make sure you’ve followed the procedure [inaudible 00:01:38] way to do it, that you’ve offered the person actual justice and that you’ve gone through every support process that you can, you’ve done the paper trial, you’ve had the investigation, you’ve had the meetings, you’ve offered them a support person, and you’ve set them objectives and whether they’ve reached those and meet them or not.

You would be inviting them into maybe a final disciplinary meeting as an example, and if you had decided that the allegations are strong enough to terminate them, you would offer them a show cause meeting. So show good reason why we should not terminate your employment and give them one final option. And from then you can decide whether you’re going to or not, and at that point then … if it’s because a disciplinary matter you would actually terminate their employment and actually put them out of pay in the middle of notice. You wouldn’t want them left in the workplace potentially being a little bit toxic and influencing trouble. So, it’s best to move them on and every person’s … And also follow up with a letter, as well, to make it very clear.

Same with a resignation. If someone’s resigned from the business, you can do them a resignation letter, thank you for working with us, we’re going to miss you. As per your letter, your last date of employment is, we’re going to pay you in lieu of notice and best of luck with your future going forward.

And you can also talk to them how, depending on the circumstances of why they’re exiting the business, what the communication’s going to be to everybody else that’s leaving behind as well.

Okay. And what about what’s the process around writing references for people these days? Is that something you have to do as an employer?

It is a tricky one. A lot of people don’t like writing references. I kind of say to my clients, just do the standard, “Yes this person was employed here, this is the date of employment, this is when their employment finished, and this is the main duties that they did within their role.” And it’s not company policy to write anymore. And the reason why I do that is that just you sit on the fence. So someone can’t come back and go, “You gave me a bad reference, I didn’t get the job.”

Or you gave me a really good reference and opens things up for another employee possibly.

Yeah. If you gave them a really good reference and then that actually doesn’t prove true then the other employer might decide to have a go at you as well. So really just sit on the fence. I know it doesn’t help when we’re recruiting, and it’s frustrating when we’re recruiting, but it’s just much better to sit on the fence.

Okay. Alright. So is there anything else that you need to do when you’re finalizing someone’s employment?

Do it respectfully. In the case of maybe redundancy, if it’s a redundancy situation, these people have got families that they need to feed, lifestyles as well, so just be respectful of the process you’re about to go through as well. With the redundancy process, there is a process to it and you do need to go into communication with those that are going to be effected as soon as you know there’s the potential for redundancy happening. And you do need to make sure it’s a genuine redundancy and not just a disguise to get rid of someone from the work place.

Because then you could be opened up for unfair dismissal

So with the redundancy it’s always the role, it’s never the person. So, you’re making the role redundant. So, if you’ve got five people doing the same role and you just get rid of one person, that’s not really a genuine redundancy because the role still needs to be required to be done. You need to put all five people into consultation.

And I guess the other thing is, too, if you’re unsure about any of these processes that we’ve talked through with all of our videos, not just today’s one, but make sure that you give Paulette a call because she’ll be able to walk you through the process correctly so that we make sure you’re doing the right thing and you’re not going to be opening yourself up for an unfair dismissal claim. Paulette’s definitely the expert in that area. So, give her a call if you’re ever worried about once, you’re actually going through that process so you actually get the right advice.

Yeah. It’s better to ask the question than to make mistakes.



Fact Sheet – Ending Employment

Abandonment of Employment Warning Letter

Abandonment of Employment Confirmation Letter

Resignation Acknowledgement Letter

Resignation Checklist


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