HR & Payroll: 7 Steps to Managing an Employee’s Last Day

Even the best employers cannot retain their workers forever.

Employees’ departures are part of a company’s life cycle, but often, in their hurry to find a replacement and do a proper handing-over of duties, employers overlook crucial aspects of a worker’s last working day. This includes HR and payroll-related matters, data security, compliance, and employee experience.

Read on and find out how to make your employee’s last day successful.

1. Ask for a resignation letter

While employees may announce their departure to you or to an HR representative in person or even on the phone, it is important to ask them for a resignation letter. Being able to prove that your employee resigned is something employers overlook – and then come to regret later on, when there is a discrepancy in their records.

The resignation letter should be signed by the employee and should include the date of resignation as well as the date of their last working day, if possible.

Other employees may send you their resignation letters by email, but even then, you may wish to ask for a properly signed resignation letter. Some authorities may not recognize an email as a legitimate resignation letter, pushing the argument that it cannot necessarily be verified. Instead – and this is especially applicable for remote employees – ask your workers to write the letter, sign it, scan it, and then send it to you.

Once you receive it, be certain to add the letter to the employee’s records, whether that means adding a physical copy to their file or a digital copy in your online HR and payroll system.

2. Communicate with the departing employee

While employees must provide you with paperwork for your records, the opposite is also true. If there are any benefits that the employee will keep receiving after their departure (such as insurance or pension coverage), you are required to communicate that to them.

Your employee may also request a recommendation letter from you – if this is not something you wish to give them, you may, at the very least, give them a letter of employment. This document serves as proof that the worker was indeed employed by your company during a given period of time.

3. Conduct an exit interview

Exit interviews are important for employee experience as well as for your company’s continued success. Among other things, they help you determine the causes of an employee’s departure. They also point you in the direction of any issues with the working environment or the company’s systems and regulations, allowing you to correct or improve upon them for your remaining employees’ well-being.

Besides, exit interviews also show the departing employee that you value them and the time they spent with your organization. Through these kinds of gestures, you demonstrate your company values and in so doing, enhance your employer reputation.

Typically, an HR representative should be present during this interview. It need not be conducted on the employee’s last day, either. You may schedule it for a few days or even a week before their departure.

4. Inform payroll

Whether you handle payroll in-house or outsource your payroll to a provider, it is important to let your payroll team know of your employee’s last working day. In this way, they can take the necessary steps to remove the person from your payroll, preventing any further payments from being processed.

5. One last paycheck

Regarding payments, your departing employee is entitled to one last paycheck or salary payment covering the duration of their notice period. This must be duly paid for according to the terms of their employment contract and the labor laws in effect in the country where you do business. This should include any bonuses, benefits, and overtime payments the employee is entitled to. In some African countries such as Mauritius, accrued annual leaves that were not taken during the period of employment should be paid out to the employees as part of their last salary.

6. Store employee records according to law

Employers typically have an obligation to store employee data for a given period of time. Depending on which country you do business in, that period of time and the conditions surrounding the data storage will vary significantly.

In Nigeria for instance, the law requires businesses to keep employment records for 3 years after an employee’s departure. In Algeria, this number rises to 4 years while Tanzania and Namibia both require employers to keep these records for at least 5 years.

It is important to follow these rules and regulations to the letter and to keep up to date with them. Otherwise, you risk not being compliant with the law and exposing your company to heavy fines and public scrutiny.

7. Ensure that company property is returned

It is common for employers to ensure that company property such as laptops and electronic storage devices are returned – but they can overlook other important company property such as access keycards. This kind of omission can cost your company, especially if the ex-employee is not trustworthy. Even if the ex-employee is reliable, a keycard may easily fall into the wrong hands, once again exposing your company to security risks.

Other access permissions must also be rescinded. If an employee had access to your local computer network, email, financial accounts and other confidential data, they must be removed from the system entirely or their access must be blocked. Otherwise, you expose your company to data security risks – an issue that can easily blow up as has been the case over the years. According to the Ponemon Institute’s 2022 expense of Insider Threats Global Reports, the overall average expense of an employee-related incident increased to $15.38 million in 2021.

Turn employee’s last days into a success with Africa HR Solutions

Completing all these steps while keeping on top of compliance and data security is no easy task – especially as you struggle to find a replacement for your departing employee.

Avoid such stressful situations altogether with Africa HR Solutions’ HR and payroll services. Our dedicated teams take care of onboarding and offboarding for you, requiring minimal to no input on your part to process new hires and departures. We also guarantee bulletproof compliance across 40+ African countries!

Ready to bid adieu to all the hassles of in-house HR and payroll? Contact our team now.

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KEVINA TAKOORDYAL Africa HR Team

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MARK DU PREEZ​

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Alex Daruty - Africa HR Team

ALEX DARUTY

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