Final written warning to employee about their performance

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What’s a final written warning to an employee about their performance and when do you need it?

This letter forms part of our suite of materials to support you where you've invoked your performance improvement policy and its process because of your concerns relating to the quality of performance that an employee is achieving.

This may include concerns about whether they are in fact capable of performing the role that they currently hold in your business. It's not the same as a disciplinary process.

This letter is the final formal written warning to an employee and it should follow the process set out in your performance improvement policy where an employee is not performing as required.

You should already have issued a first formal warning in writing to the employee before taking this step.

If the employee has not complied with your first written warning, you would typically meet with them again to discuss your concerns that their performance has not improved and this formal written warning would be the next step.

Warning letters can be controversial and employees who face them may feel resentful, embarrassed, unfairly treated and angry, which can make discussions between you and them quite challenging.

Prior to sending this letter, you should have had at least one, if not more, meetings with the employee to explain your concerns about their performance – this is the 'meeting’ referred to in the first paragraph of this template.

If this final warning letter does not achieve all that is needed, you should be entitled to terminate the employee’s contract according to the steps outlined in your performance improvement policy. Dismissal always carries risks, so if you are in any doubt about taking the next steps, we recommend first taking some expert advice.

Finally, you should only use this suite of materials in relation to employees. It would be better to seek specific advice on how to handle anyone whose performance is a problem but who's not an employee.

What else might you need?

Our guide to employee performance management can also help you to assess the seriousness of an employee’s lack of performance and your rights in response to it.

And if you need help or have queries on how best to approach this letter or, more broadly, the situation with the employee in question, our Speak To A Lawyer service is ideally placed to help you.

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