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Long-term absence dismissal letter

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If an employee is unable to return to their job as a result of long-term absence and there are no suitable alternatives, send this model letter to confirm dismissal.

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What is a Long-term absence dismissal letter?

A long-term absence dismissal letter is a formal communication from an employer to an employee who has been absent from work for an extended period, usually due to illness or injury. The letter typically informs the employee that their employment will be terminated due to their prolonged absence.

The letter should state the reasons for the dismissal, including the length of the absence and the employer's efforts to support the employee during this time. The letter should also inform the employee of their rights to appeal the decision and any entitlements they may have under their employment contract, such as notice pay or redundancy pay.

It is important for employers to handle long-term absence dismissals sensitively and fairly, following all relevant employment laws and regulations. Employers should also provide appropriate support to employees who are absent due to illness or injury, including access to occupational health services and reasonable adjustments to enable a return to work where possible.

Issued by who, to whom
Who should issue this letter, and to whom?
The Employer (you) to the Employee
Applicable legal jurisdictions
In which jurisdictions can this letter be used?
Great Britain & NI (United Kingdom), Worldwide

What legislation and best practice guidelines have been taken into account in the development of this template?

United Kingdom

Here are some key UK employment legislation regarding Long-term absence dismissal letters:

  • The Equality Act 2010: Employers must not discriminate against employees due to their disability or health condition. This means they should make reasonable adjustments to support a disabled employee's return to work, including adjusting working hours or duties.
  • The Employment Rights Act 1996: This act outlines the minimum notice periods that employers must give to employees before dismissing them. The notice periods depend on the length of service of the employee and range from one week to 12 weeks.
  • The Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Regulations 2018: These regulations state that employers must pay SSP to employees who are absent from work due to illness or injury, subject to certain eligibility criteria. Employees are entitled to SSP for up to 28 weeks.
  • The ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures: This code provides guidance for employers on how to handle disciplinary and dismissal processes fairly and consistently. Employers should follow this code when dismissing employees due to long-term absence.
  • The Data Protection Act 2018: Employers must ensure that any personal data they collect and process about an employee's health or disability is done in compliance with this act, including obtaining the employee's consent and ensuring that the data is kept confidential.

It's worth noting that these are just a few examples of relevant legislation, and there may be other laws or regulations that are relevant depending on the specific circumstances of the case.

Other territories

Consult your jurisdiction's employment legislation or labor laws to ensure compliance with the template. Review the language for local precision.

Long-term absence dismissal [Delete this line]

[Company name]

[Sender address]



[Recipient name]

[Recipient address]


Dear [Recipient first name],


Termination of employment

I refer to our meeting on [date] concerning your absence from work due to illness.

Following our earlier consultations with you and warnings that [Company] might have to consider terminating your employment on the grounds of your long-term absence from work since [date], you attended, at our request, a consultation with [name of doctor].

[Name of doctor] [advised that it would be inadvisable for you to return to your current employment.] OR [recommended that [details of recommendations] would be necessary to enable your return to work. We consider these recommendations and discussed them with you, however have decided that they are not viable [give reasons].]

We held a meeting with you on [date] during which we discussed the possibility of alternative employment, but unfortunately there are no vacancies that would be suitable for you. I regret, therefore, that [Company] has no alternative but to terminate your employment with effect from [date].


As you were not well enough to attend a meeting with us, we had to make a decision as to the continuation of your employment without the benefit of a joint discussion. I regret that our decision is that [Company] has no alternative but to terminate your employment with effect from [date].]

We appreciate that your absence has been due to health reasons, and we have made every effort to accommodate your needs. However, we must also consider the impact that your absence has had on the business and our ability to continue operating effectively. Unfortunately, we have now reached the point where we are unable to sustain your continued absence any longer.

We will make a payment to you in lieu of your notice period of [state length of notice period] and a payment in lieu of any accrued but untaken statutory holiday entitlement for the current holiday year. Please note that all benefits under your contract will therefore come to an end on [date of termination].

We understand that this news will come as a shock, and we want to assure you that we have taken this decision after careful consideration of all the facts. If you wish to discuss this matter further, or if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We wish you all the best for the future.

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]

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Get much more with our
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Long-term absence dismissal letter
long-term absence dismissal letter