Less than two years service dismissal letter template

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Our Less than Two Years Service Dismissal Letter template helps employers notify employees of their termination before completing two years of service.

It may be that you do not think an individual is the right fit for your company, or there could have been various conduct or capability issues that have raised legitimate concerns.

Why this letter is necessary

A less than 2 years service dismissal letter is used to terminate an employee who worked less than two years without unfair dismissal protection in the UK.

It states termination, effective date, reason, final pay, benefits, and company property return.

The letter serves as a record, ensures professionalism, maintains relationships, and protects the company's reputation.

If you have already started to follow a disciplinary or dismissal procedure (as per your written policy), you are advised to continue that process to its conclusion. You should not use this template in those circumstances.

  • Employment Rights Act 1996: This act sets out the minimum notice periods that employers must give to employees before terminating their employment contracts. The notice period varies depending on the length of the employee's service.

  • Equality Act 2010: This act prohibits discrimination on the basis of certain protected characteristics, such as age, gender, race, and disability. Employers must ensure that their dismissal decisions are not discriminatory.

  • Data Protection Act 2018: This act regulates the processing of personal data and imposes obligations on employers to handle employee data appropriately. Employers should ensure that any personal data collected during the dismissal process is handled in accordance with the act.

  • Working Time Regulations 1998: These regulations set out the maximum number of hours that employees can work each week, as well as requirements for rest breaks and annual leave. Employers should ensure that they are not breaching these regulations when dismissing an employee.

  • National Minimum Wage Act 1998: This act sets out the minimum wage rates that employers must pay to their employees. Employers should ensure that they are not breaching these rates when dismissing an employee.

In the UK, employees have protection from unfair dismissal in certain circumstances. These include:

  • Statutory protection: Employees who have worked continuously for their employer for two years or more have statutory protection from unfair dismissal. This means that their employer must have a valid reason for dismissing them, and the dismissal must be fair and reasonable in the circumstances.

  • Automatic unfair dismissal: An employee is automatically unfairly dismissed if the reason for their dismissal is related to certain specific reasons, such as whistleblowing, asserting a statutory right, or taking certain types of leave (such as maternity or paternity leave).

  • Discrimination: Employees cannot be dismissed because of a protected characteristic, such as their age, gender, race, religion, or disability. Dismissal on these grounds may be considered discriminatory and lead to a claim for unfair dismissal.

  • Health and safety: Employees cannot be dismissed for raising health and safety concerns or for refusing to work in unsafe conditions.

  • Redundancy: If an employer needs to reduce its workforce, it must follow a fair redundancy process and ensure that the selection criteria for redundancy is fair and non-discriminatory.

A note about appeals:

Allowing an employee to appeal a decision to terminate their employment during probation, even when there's no legal requirement, can have several benefits for both the employer and the employee:

Fairness and Transparency:

  • Provides a fair and transparent process, demonstrating the employer's commitment to treating employees equitably.
  • Allows the employee to understand the reasons for termination and present their perspective.

Employee Engagement:

  • Engages employees in the decision-making process, fostering a sense of involvement and fairness.
  • Demonstrates that the employer values employees' opinions and is open to considering alternative viewpoints.

Retention and Morale:

  • May contribute to higher employee morale by showing that the employer is willing to give a second chance and invest in employees' success.
  • A successful appeal can retain a potentially valuable employee and their skills.

Legal Risk Mitigation:

  • Reduces the risk of potential legal claims or disputes by providing a mechanism for employees to address concerns internally.
  • Demonstrates a commitment to fairness, which can be important if the termination decision is ever legally challenged.

Identifying Systemic Issues:

  • Offers an opportunity to identify any systemic issues in the hiring or probation process that may need improvement.
  • Helps the organisation learn and refine its practices for future hires.

While not legally mandated, offering an appeals process aligns with principles of fairness, open communication, and employee engagement. It reflects positively on the employer's commitment to treating employees with respect and can contribute to a positive workplace culture.

Workflow sequence

Previous step
Guide to dismissing an employee with less than two years service

Our Guide to Dismissing Employees with Less Than Two Years' Service helps navigate legal obligations and procedures, minimising risks and ensuring compliance.

This step
Less than two years service dismissal letter template
Next step
Dismissal appeal letter template

If you wish to appeal against your dismissal, send this model letter template to your previous employer.

Implementation timeline

Step Description Responsibility Timing (Days from decision)
1 Performance Evaluation: Evaluate the employee's performance and conduct to identify valid reasons for dismissal. HR / Management Team N/A
2 Review Company Policies: Familiarise with dismissal policies and legal requirements for employees with less than 2 years of service. HR / Management Team Day 1
3 Document Performance Issues: Maintain comprehensive documentation of performance issues, warnings, and incidents. HR / Management Team Day 2
4 Decision Meeting: Schedule a private meeting with the employee to discuss dismissal reasons and provide an opportunity to respond. HR / Management Team Day 3
5 Issue Dismissal Letter: After confirming the dismissal decision, prepare and issue the Less than 2 Years Service Dismissal Letter, ensuring the notice ends before the employee's two-year service anniversary. HR / Management Team Day 3 (Or as deemed appropriate)

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Practical example


ABC Limited, a UK-based company, finds itself in a situation where an employee with less than two years of service is being considered for dismissal due to performance or conduct issues. HR Manager Sarah must evaluate the situation to determine if the employee poses a risk for potential claims of unfair dismissal. If no such risk exists, Sarah will proceed with issuing a dismissal letter.

Initial Response

Sarah conducts a thorough review of the employee's performance, conduct, and any ongoing disciplinary process. She assesses whether there are grounds for potential claims of unfair dismissal based on the circumstances surrounding the employee's situation.

Decision Making

Based on the review and risk assessment, Sarah determines whether the employee's dismissal would be lawful and unlikely to result in a successful claim for unfair dismissal. If the risk is high, or there is some uncertainlty, Sarah takes further legal advice before making a decsion. If the risk is minimal and there are no ongoing disciplinary proceedings, Sarah proceeds with the decision to dismiss the employee.

Drafting the Letter

Sarah carefully drafts a dismissal letter, ensuring it does not reference any protected characteristics and focuses solely on the performance or conduct issues that led to the decision. The letter is clear, concise, and free from any language that could be perceived as discriminatory or inflammatory.

Sending the Letter

Once the decision is finalised and the letter is reviewed to ensure compliance with legal requirements, Sarah sends it to the employee via registered post or hand-delivers it in a private meeting. She ensures that the delivery is handled sensitively and respectfully, considering the impact on the employee.

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Reading time icon
Time to read / prep / use
10 mins
Document specs icon
Word count / length
155 words, 1 page A4
Date last reviewed icon
Date last reviewed
1 July 2024
less than two years service dismissal letter template

[Company name]

[Sender address]



[Recipient name]

[Recipient address]


Dear [Recipient first name],


Termination of employment

Further to [your meeting with [name] | our meeting] on [date], I [regretfully] confirm that your employment with the Company is terminated with [effect from [date] | immediate effect].

[As stated at our meeting the reason(s) for terminating your employment with us [is | are] as follows:

  • Clearly state reasons, previous warnings, informal, formal, written etc., and circumstances and persons response and subsequent behaviour/performance for each warning, or specify end of casual or fixed-term contract.]

Your last day of service is [date]. You are [not] required to work your notice period. Your final payslip and P45 will be sent to you at the end of the month in which your last day of service falls.

You are required to return any Company property or documentation, and submit any outstanding expense claims before your last day of service.

[Thank you for your past efforts and all the best for your future endeavours.]

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You have the right of appeal against this decision. Your appeal should be directed to [Name | the HR Department | HR Services] within [number] days of receiving this letter. It should set out in full the reason(s) for your appeal.


Yours [faithfully | sincerely],



[Sender name]

[Sender job title]

[Sender telephone]
[Sender email]


[For, and on behalf of [Company name] ]

Why choose our Less than two years service dismissal letter template?

Our content:

Is easy to edit and execute, with comprehensive implementation guidance.
Is designed by accredited, experienced HR practitioners.
Maintains your compliance with ACAS guidelines, legislation, and industry best practices.
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