Employee Termination Letters Made Easy with 4 Samples + Template

Paul PetersTermination Letters

I doubt anyone enjoys writing an employee termination letter from scratch. 

If there's someone that does, I'd be a little worried about them ;)

But they're one of those things that unfortunately need to be done from time to time. Because terminating an employee is hard enough, we're going to save you the trouble of writing your letter from scratch with a really simple template you can copy and paste, as well as several samples you can use to get ideas for your termination letter.

A good termination letter will help protect your business legally, provide documentation of the termination, and give the employee any instructions and information they may need to smoothly transition out of the company.

Disclosure: Neither Betterteam nor the author are providing legal advice on termination letters or employee terminations. Consult legal counsel for advice on these matters.

A Simple Letter of Termination You Can Use Now

Copy and paste the letter below, fill in the gaps and have a letter of termination ready to go in minutes. 

[Date Letter is Drafted]

[Employee Name],

This letter is to inform you that your employment with [company name] will end as of [date termination is effective].

You have been terminated for the following reason(s):

[List factual reasons for termination].

This decision is not reversible.

You will receive: [List compensation they will receive, including pay for unused leave, severance pay, salary owed, etc].

Your health care benefits will [explanation of what will happen with their benefits].

You are requested to return [list all company property that is to be returned].

Also, please keep in mind that you have signed [list any agreements employee has signed, such as a confidentiality policy or a non-solicitation agreement].

If you have questions about policies you have signed, your compensation, benefits, or returning company property, please contact [contact name, typically someone from HR, with contact info].

Sincerely,

[Name of person handling termination]

Why Should You Use a Termination Letter?

If you're already planning to terminate an employee in person, you may be wondering why you should create a termination letter as well. There are several good reasons.

1. It may be required. In some states, employers must give termination letters to employees. These laws are subject to change. If you're unsure about the status in your state, consult a legal professional.

2. For unemployment. In most states former employees are ineligible for unemployment if the termination was caused by gross misconduct. If this is the case, a letter that documents reasons for termination is important.

3. Legal protection. Once again, it's about documentation. Having a document that clearly states the reasons for termination and the circumstances around it can aid you if there are any legal issues. 

4. They can give important info to employees. Termination letters help make the transition as smooth as possible for the employee when they provide important info about compensation, benefits and ongoing agreements.

Essentials for an Employee Termination Notice

Crafting your own employee termination letter? Here's a quick guide to the most important information you'll want to include.

  • The basics: Name of employee, effective date of termination, company name, person handling termination.

  • Next steps: What the employee will receive in terms of severance, compensation owed and remaining leave. What will happen with their benefits, what company property they are expected to return, and who to contact with questions.

  • Reason for termination: If someone is employed at-will (the default in most states) you are not required to give a reason. If the reason involves gross misconduct, or you feel documentation is necessary in case of future legal issues, you'll want to include clear reasons for the termination. 

  • Legal reminders: Remind employees of any legal agreements with the company that will remain in effect, including non-disclosure, non-compete, non-solicitation, etc.

4 Sample Termination Letters

Here are 4 sample termination letters you can use to help write yours. 

The following letters are examples only. Consult professional legal counsel before using a termination letter.

Basic Termination Letter (no reason given)

Oct. 29, 2017

Mr. Peters,

This letter is to inform you that your employment with The Internet Company will end as of October 29, 2017. This decision is not reversible. 

You will receive your final paycheck for this month and payment for remaining leave today. Once you have signed and returned the attached release of claims document, you will receive a $25,000 severance payment.

Your health care benefits will remain in effect for another 90 days.

You are requested to return the company laptop, swipe card, and cellphone before the end of the day.

Also, please keep in mind that you have signed a confidentiality policy. Please review the attached copy.

If you have questions about compensation, benefits, company property or policies you have signed, please contact John Doe at 555-1212.

Yours,

Barry White 


Termination Letter for Cause (Attendance)

Oct. 29, 2018

Mr. Peters,

This letter is to inform you that your employment with Acme Internet Inc. will end as of October 29, 2018. This decision is not reversible. 

You have been terminated for the following reasons:

On September 29, 2018 you were absent from work without leave. At that time, you were given a formal written warning that your absence violated company policy. 

On October 18, 2018 you were again absent from work, without leave. At that time you were given a second warning, and informed that a third case within a year would result in your termination.

On October 28, 2018, you were absent from work without leave a third time, resulting in your termination. 

You will receive your final paycheck for this month, and payment for remaining leave today.

Your health care benefits will remain in effect for 60 days.

You are requested to return company property, including laptop, swipe card, and cellphone before the end of the day.

Also, please keep in mind that you have signed a non-solicitation agreement. Please review the attached copy.

If you have questions about compensation, benefits, company property or policies you have signed, please contact Jane Doe at 555-1212.

Yours,

Francis Bacon


Termination Letter for Cause (Performance)

Oct. 29, 2019

Mr. Peters,

This letter is to inform you that your employment with Internet Industries Corp. will end as of October 29, 2019. This decision is not reversible. 

You have been terminated for the following reasons:

On July 1, 2019 you received performance coaching, and were informed that your performance would be required to improve if your employment with Internet Industries Corp. were to continue. On August 25, 2019, you received a second warning, and were informed that failure to improve performance within 60 days would result in your termination. 

You have failed to meet the performance targets agreed upon. As a result your employment has been terminated. 

You will receive your final paycheck for this month and payment for remaining leave today. Once we have received a signed copy of the attached release of claims document, you will receive a $5,000 severance payment.

Your health care benefits will remain in effect for 30 days.

You are requested to return company property, including your laptop, cellphone and ID badge before the end of the day.

If you have questions about compensation, benefits, company property or policies you have signed, please contact Jane Doe at 555-1212.

Yours,

Justin Vernon


Termination Letter (Layoff)

Oct. 1, 2020

Mr. Peters,

This letter is to inform you that your employment with Pied Piper, Inc. will end as of October 29, 2020. This decision is not reversible. 

You have been terminated for the following reasons:

Recent economic conditions have caused a significant downturn in sales, necessitating a 20 percent workforce reduction at Pied Piper. Unfortunately your position is part of this reduction, and has been eliminated. 

You will receive your final paycheck after your last day, as well as payment for remaining leave. You will also receive a $15,000 severance payment provided the attached release of claims document is signed and returned.

Your health care benefits will remain in effect for 180 days after you termination takes effect.

You are requested to return the company laptop, swipe card, and cellphone on your last day of employment.

Also, please keep in mind that you have signed a confidentiality policy. Please review the attached copy.

If you have questions about compensation, benefits, company property or policies you have signed, please contact John Doe at 555-1212.

Yours,

Jack Barker



Terminate Your Letter

That should be all the info you need to quickly and easily put together a termination letter. 

Need guidance for terminating an employee? We've got a useful guide here. 

If you're ready to start looking for your next great employee, let Betterteam help by making it easy to post your jobs to 100+ boards, track applicants and hire.

Paul Peters
Paul Peters
Wordsmith for Betterteam.