The process of employment termination is a critical component of managing employee relations. If executed incorrectly, it can have devastating consequences for the employee as well as the workplace in general. 

While there are numerous types of separation from employment, all of them fall into two main categories: voluntary or involuntary.

Whether the employee has chosen to resign or is being involuntarily terminated, this checklist will enable you to execute the offboarding process in an efficient, compliant, and respectful manner.

First steps:

Record termination details

Request a letter of resignation

Request the employee to write a resignation letter that states he/she is leaving the company along with the effective date of resignation.

Companies usually request a minimum of two weeks notice when possible. 

You can use the email template below to send the request without delay. 

Receive a letter of resignation

When the employee has provided you with a resignation letter, attach it below and record the date of resignation. 

Inform the HR department

Notify the human resources office as soon as the termination is confirmed so that the process can get underway.

Permissions/access termination:

Notify your network administrator

Notify your network administrator or other appropriate IT staff of the date and time on which to terminate the employee's access to computer and telephone systems.

Make arrangements for how their accounts will be routed to ensure that your organization will not lose contact with clients and customers.

Confirm all online accounts are terminated

Once the company's network administrator has been notified, confirm that all of the employee's online accounts have been terminated. 

These may include:

  • 1
    G Suite
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
    Atlassian Jira
  • 6
    Other company applications

Disable access to company buildings and property

Effective on the date of termination, whether immediately or at a mutually agreed upon end date, you need to cut off the employee's building access.

Depending on your access methods:

  • Disconnect the employee's building entry code
  • Disable the entry swipe card
  • Collect the employee's keys

If the employee needs to access the building for a few more days, provide them with a temporary access card that they can return on the date of termination.

Return of company property:

Get company property back

Resigning employees are required to turn in all company property. Follow the sub-checklist below to ensure that nothing is taken with them.

  • 1
  • 2
    ID badges
  • 3
    Computer (if company owned)
  • 4
    Cell phone (if company owned)
  • 5
    Credit cards
  • 6
    Company files
  • 7
  • 8
    Other misc. company items

Document the items returned

Make sure you record exactly which items have been returned by the employee. 

Status of employee benefits:

Review COBRA compliance

Check with your insurance provider to ensure that you are complying with COBRA requirements.

In a nutshell, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) requires employees with over 20 employees to offer extended benefits to employees for a certain amount of time following their termination. These include retirement plans, health insurance, life insurance, outplacement, unemployment insurance, HSA or HRA, and expense account plans. 

If you feel unsure about COBRA compliance, check out this detailed article on what employers need to know about this federal law.

Request a benefits status letter from HR

Former employees receive a letter from the human resources office that details the status of their benefits upon termination.

You can use the email template below to immediately request the letter from HR.

Ensure that the letter covers life insurance, health coverage, a retirement plan, expense account plans, and clearly states the employee's COBRA status. 

Click here to read a sample benefit termination letter

Receive a benefits status letter from HR

Record a copy of the letter using the form field below.

Employee agreements:

Review all signed agreements

Review confidentiality and non-compete agreements to make sure that the employee understands what is expected of him/her upon termination.

Even if the employee never signed such a document, most employee handbooks have a clause or code of conduct paragraph about non-disclosure of company-related confidential information or trade secrets. Review this and remind the employee that any breach of this confidentiality will be addressed effectively.

Ensure records of all agreements are kept

Ensure that copies of all signed agreements are kept in company records, should you need to refer to them in the future. 

Final payment:

Issue the final paycheck

Issue the employee their final paycheck.

Items to include in the final paycheck are:

  • 1
    Outstanding wages
  • 2
    Unpaid commission
  • 3
    Unpaid business expenses
  • 4
    Severance pay
  • 5
    Unused vacation pay
  • 6
    Health spending account balances

Your state law will tell you when you need to send the check. It might be on the date of termination, the next payday, or a different date (e.g. 3 days after termination). 

Exit Interview:

Conduct a confidential exit interview

Resigning employees are encouraged to participate in a confidential exit interview with the Human Resources department.

Exit interviews are an important process you can use to gather information regarding the working environment in your organization. When notified that an employee is terminating employment, your HR office will schedule an exit interviewrecord the date of this interview using the form field below.

All information gathered is confidential and is reported periodically in summary form.

Receive written permission for references

Resigning employees, who plan to seek employment elsewhere, must sign a form giving the company permission to provide reference information when potential employers call.

Record the signed document by uploading a copy to the form field below.

Update employee information

Give the employee an address update form to fill out if they move. Especially for multinational companies, or those with high turnover, W-2s will come back as non-deliverable if the address has changed.

As a backup, verify that the employee's emergency contact information is up-to-date and that you can contact that person if you have trouble getting their W-2s to them.

Final steps:

The last step in this final section requires the HR employee working on the termination to decide if there's enough budget for a farewell party, if it's necessary, or if it should be avoided.

They can either approve, reject, or reject the consideration of the farewell party with a comment as the last task is an approval task

They have been automatically assigned to the approval task thanks to role assignments.

Read our blog post to learn more about approvals.

Place all documents in employee's file

All documentation, including receipts for returned items and termination letters, need to go into the employee's file. 

Also include documentation regarding disciplinary action such as verbal or written warnings, as well as performance reviews that help show why the employee has been terminated. 

Consider hosting a farewell party!

Although a farewell party is not always appropriate, it can be a good thing to do when sending off an employee. 

It provides you with an opportunity to show your appreciation for the work they have done, while also improving company morale as other employees see how you value and appreciate the work done at the business in general.  

Remember, as mentioned in the "Final steps" task, the HR employee working on the termination will either approve or reject the farewell party in the next task (which is an approval task).

Approval: Farewell party

Will be submitted for approval:
  • Consider hosting a farewell party!
    Will be submitted


Sign up for a FREE account and
search thousands of checklists in our library.

Sign up for a FREE account and search thousands of checklists in our library.