Leaver’s checklist

Just as it is important to start the employment relationship with a through induction it is equally important to finalise the details when someone leaves.

Completing a leavers checklist when a member of staff exits your business is a great way to ensure that all the relevant processes and important handovers are carried out correctly.
Having loose ends, for example not completing payroll correctly or forgetting to change important passwords, can leave your business exposed to risk.

A comprehensive leavers checklist will give you the peace of mind that the correct procedures are being followed every time.

What should be included in a Leaver’s Checklist?

Every business is different, but usually you’ll want to address the following points:

Their final pay needs to include their pay to their final working day, notice pay if contractually allowed to pay in lieu, accrued untaken holiday entitlement plus their normal additional pay elements. A P45 is then issued.

There may need to be deductions from pay if they have taken more holiday than accrued or have outstanding loans. If your contract allows deductions for failing to return uniform or PPE items.

  • Outstanding expense claims.
  • Equipment returned: Laptops/Mobile phones /printers and any items provided for working from home.
  • Keys, badges and security passes.
  • Company documents.

Before an employee leaves, you may also want to plan a handover of outstanding work. 

Putting together a leaver’s checklist may sound complex and time-consuming, but we can help. We’ve worked with hundreds of businesses just like yours, so we’ll help you establish the most relevant and comprehensive checklist for your company. 

Exit interviews and learning from leavers

No matter why an employee leaves, losing a valued member of your team can set your business back. You’ve probably spent time and money getting someone integrated into your business, and if they’re resigning of their own volition, you’ll want to know why. 

What’s more, recruitment is exhausting and expensive. According to Glassdoor, the average cost of hiring a new employee in the UK is £3,000. Understanding why employees choose to leave your company is important and can prevent you losing employees in the future. If you find you have a rapid turnover of staff, you’ll want to identify any patterns or common issues that are causing people to leave. 

By holding an exit interview, you’ll be able to understand why an employee is leaving . Sometimes there are personal reasons for an employee to leave such as relocating with their partner which you can do nothing about but on many occasions you can learn from a well constructed interview and make significant changes for the future. The day they hand in their resignation is not when they decided to leave and it is what was happening at that time that is key.

Providing references – passing on information about previous employees

When someone leaves your business, they will most likely ask for a reference for future employers. Depending on your experience as an employer, and your relationship to the person leaving, you may have questions about what you should and should not include in a reference, or if you need to provide one at all.

Some industries have a statutory obligation to provide a reference for future employers (eg the financial sector). Other sectors prefer to simply confirm dates of employment and job title.

If you have questions about providing a reference for a past employee, it’s best to consult a HR professional. At The HR Dept, we can run through the process with you, explain your options and make sure your business is compliant with the latest regulations.

Restrictive Covenant Insurance – protecting your interests

You’ve built a successful business, but the competition is never far behind. Having a Restrictive Covenant in place to prevent employees leaving and taking all your data to a competitor is sensible, but unfortunately, some will still breach this agreement. 

With insurance from The HR Dept, you’ll have full peace of mind. In the event that a contractual agreement is breached, we’ll be on hand to help, and you’ll be able to take full legal action to protect your business.

Reasons for leaving

Your exit interview will look different depending on why your employee is leaving. Whatever the circumstances, you’ll need to take the appropriate steps to ensure your business is covered.

Here are some examples:

When an employee resigns
If an employee decides to leave your company, they will need to provide a formal letter of resignation in writing, whether that’s on paper or via email.

You’ll also need to calculate their notice period and if you have a pay in lieu of notice clause decide whether you want them to work until the end of their notice. Your leaver’s checklist may also include a security handover (retrieval of passcodes, badges, swipe cards and/or uniforms), a final payment date and an exit interview.

When an employee is dismissed
Dismissal will normally result from disciplinary action and requires formal documentation of the steps taken to ensure the dismissal has been fair. You must show that you have treated your employee correctly and that there is evidence of any wrongdoing.

In the UK, dismissal procedures must follow the process set out in the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) code of practice. Otherwise, you could be taken to an employment tribunal and forced to pay compensation.

If you’re thinking about dismissing an employee, you must seek professional advice to ensure the process is legal and non-discriminatory.

When an employee is made redundant
You may also select members of your team for redundancy, but you must follow the correct protocols. You must have a compelling business case and consult with staff or their elected representatives before selecting and terminating someone’s employment..

When an employee retires
When someone in your team chooses to retire, you’ll need a formal notification of their proposed retirement date. This is then handled in the same way as any other resignation.

Other reasons
There are other reasons an employee may decide to leave your company, such as the end of a fixed-term contract, ill-health or personal reasons. Each of these scenarios requires a specific leaver’s process that our qualified HR professionals can help you complete.

Leaver’s Checklist: What to do when an employee resigns

It’s important to note that every business is different, and it’s best to consult a HR professional to run through your contracts and make sure the process runs smoothly. 

Here is an example of a leaver’s checklist you might follow if someone from your team resigns. 

  • Ask for a formal, dated notice of resignation.
  • Decide whether you want the employee to work their full notice period or if you have a contractual right to pay them in lieu or put them on Garden leave. 
  • Organise their final payment
  • Make an agreement with the employee about how they will announce their departure to other members of the team
  • Organise a handover period
  • Retrieve any equipment, documents, security passes or uniforms from the employee
  • Arrange an exit interview 
  • Provide a reference for their future employer
  • Remove the employee from your payroll 

These are just the very basic steps you might take when an employee decides to leave your company, and each one can present issues of its own. 

For example, there may be disputes about holiday allowance or expenses claimed, or you may be unsure about how to write a reference for an unreliable member of staff. Reach out to us, and we’ll help build a personalised leaver’s checklist that meets the unique needs of your business.

When issues arise 

There are many reasons why issues might arise when you’re completing a leaver’s checklist. Perhaps your employee reports a toxic work culture during their exit interview, or maybe they refuse to work their full notice. 

In an ideal world, all working relationships would end on the best of terms, but this isn’t always the case. When in doubt, it’s best to consult a HR professional, but not all companies have an in-house team at their disposal. That’s where we come in.

Leaver’s Checklist FAQ

What should you ask in an exit interview?

Typically, you should ask the employee why they’re leaving, what a new company might be offering, and if there’s anything you could do better as a business. You may also ask whether they’re comfortable discussing any problems they faced at work. 

Although exit interviews take time, the information you gain can provide a better understanding of your workplace and help you cultivate a more rewarding environment in the future. 

What if you don’t want an employee to leave?

There are various reasons why someone might want to leave your company, so you shouldn’t take it personally. The average person changes jobs 10-15 times in their career, so it doesn’t necessarily point to a problem with your business. 

The first thing you should do is find out why the employee is leaving. You should then ask if there is anything you can offer to encourage them to stay, such as more flexible hours or a higher salary. 

Remember that your employee has the right to leave and you should treat them with respect and follow the proper procedures. Whatever the circumstances, it’s always best to part on good terms.

What do you do if an employee quits without notice?

An employee quitting on the spot can cause serious problems for any business. Firstly, you should check their contract, as you may be able to make a court claim if you have incurred extra costs as a result of them not working their notice. 

You should also ask the employee if they’d be happy to provide an exit interview so you can understand the reasons they left abruptly. If there is an issue you’re unaware of, such as bullying or harassment in the workplace, this could affect your court claim and cause problems for your business down the line.

Should you tell the rest of the team if someone resigns?

You cannot legally force someone to conceal their resignation from the rest of the team, but you may come to an informal agreement that they’ll keep it quiet while working their notice. 

Some employers feel that knowing someone is leaving can affect morale, while others think it’s best to be transparent with their workers. It’s entirely up to you.

How do you prepare an employee for leaving?

We suggest you create a leaver’s checklist with the help of a HR professional. This will ensure the same protocols are being followed each time someone leaves your business and that you’re keeping in line with current employment law.

How do you cope with losing a key employee?

Losing a valued employee can be tough for any business. Exit interviews are a great way to find out more about why a person is leaving so you can make your company a better place to work in the future. 

We can also help with recruitment when it comes to hiring a new employee. Outsourcing to us will save you time and money and make sure your recruitment process is legally compliant.

Need help with leavers?

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Payroll and Pensions

Performance and Appraisals

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