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An employee quits but now wants to come back: Should we rehire him?

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Question: “We have a former employee who left our employ one week ago.  He has now called and stated that his leaving was a mistake, and he would like to come back to work for us.  Can you tell me what policies you have in place for this situation?  We are thinking about hiring him back.  What do we do about seniority, pay, vacation, health benefits, etc.?  Does he start at the beginning?  This is the first time this has happened to us and we don't have a policy in our handbook that covers it.  Any suggestions or laws that you may know of that would apply?” — Nancy

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We have this happen all the time. Our policy is if the employee was in good standing at the time of their departure and gave 2 weeks notice we will hire them back if we have an opening. We will only do this once.

On senority etc. if the lapse in employment with us is 6 months or less, then they retain seniority, more then that and they start all over.

We just had the same issue, but we do have a policy that the employee has 2 weeks after their day of leave to return IF their position has not been filled. In regards of seniority...will still the same.

I think it should all depend on if the employee is worth hiring back. I work at a company that rehires even when they shouldn't. It just shows how hard it is now adays to find good people.

I'd really have to think about why the individual left in the first place. Did they leave thinking they'd found "greener pastures," and if so - what about the next week they read the help-wanted ads & find that next great thing? This person was only gone a week (according to your post). So - I guess it'd have to be considered in a case by case basis if we'd even hire the individual back under our employ. We have in very rare circumstances hired people back in this situation. When we do "re-hire" however, they have to sign a contract stating that their "seniority" will be reinstated after 6 months of continued satisfactory service. Until that time they are at the basically a "new hire" all over again. Also - any paid time off, vacation, etc., is treated the same as new hires until after the 6 month period. We've found it helps weed out those that are returning but still searching for that next best thing. Anyone that has been away from the company for 6 months or more start at the beginning again and will not have their seniority reinstated (unless it is negotiated as part of the re-hire package).

We do not have a policy, but if it was in my control, I would say that if (s)he gave 2 weeks notice and left on good standing, then it would be okay to hire them back, seeing as it was a mistake and we all make them. If the person didn't give their 2 weeks notice but still is an asset to the company, then hire them back, but do NOT retain seniority since they quit out of haste. This is a lesson to be learned. If they aren't an asset, the answer is simple: don't re-hire. Count your losses and start interviewing to fill the position. Let them know it's time to be an adult.

We have a policy in effect that requires the person to apply as a Rehire. That application goes through an approval process that includes the previous supervisor and director, the supervisor and director of the department of the applied for position, General Manager approval and HR input. If all approve the person is brought in for the interview process. They start all over with seniority, benefits, 90 day probation period and PTO accrual. Also, there is no guarantee they will be rehired. We find this procedure to be effective in determining any past performance issues and reflects the determination of the applicant to be rehired.

We have a policy in effect that requires the person to apply as a Rehire. That application goes through an approval process that includes the previous supervisor and director, the supervisor and director of the department of the applied for position, General Manager approval and HR input. If all approve the person is brought in for the interview process. They start all over with seniority, benefits, 90 day probation period and PTO accrual. Also, there is no guarantee they will be rehired. We find this procedure to be effective in determining any past performance issues and reflects the determination of the applicant to be rehired.

We have hired back former employees four times. Each time, all benefits and seniority sets back at zero. (They know this ahead of time and are okay with it; we think, as do employees who did not leave, that is unfair for them to maintain seniority rights and vacation benefits if they had left the company.) But usually it is a year or two later. As others have said, after only one week, I would wonder how quick it would be before they left again. I think it really should be decided on a case-by-case basis based on why that person left and how good of a worker they were.

It depends on why they left. Did they leave for a better job? Because then I would wonder if this would happen in the future. Also, did they leave because they no longer liked the workplace or had a policy issue? I would be hesitant to rehire because they may have a poor company attitude. We have only rehired employees who were relocating their home and then either returned or the plans fell through. One case it had been 2 years and he started at the beginning, for the most part, his pay was the same because he was still as qualified but his vacation etc. went back to as if he never worked here. The other employee went to Florida, hated it, return in 4 weeks. We hired her and did not make her start all over. We did have someone recently who didn't like a policy and walked off the job, he asked to come back, and we said no way. So my answer would depend on why they left.

Our policy is if an employee leaves in good standing (two week notice, no employee problem etc.) and would like to come back, that employee is a re-hire. Employees will not lose any seniority, longivity pay, sick or vacation accural as they come back within six months. If its longer than the six months a former employee is treated as other new employees.

We decide on a case by case basis and they come back as a new employee. I'm surprised by how many companies reinstate seniority.

My feeling is that if they've gone to the trouble to look elsewhere, sent their resumes out, interviewed and have done all that it takes to get a good job these days, they're probably not happy with the work, the pay, the benefits, the people they work with, etc.

I have rehired staff though, but I find that they usually don't stay for very long.

We do look at circumstances of their leaving, whether or not they were a good employee, attendance and things like that and thank goodness....I was rehired 10 years ago!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jay December 12, 2014 at 5:29 pm

If the person gave proper notice and was in good standing with the company before and at the time of departure; I might consider hiring them back. We all want something more and if its not there, that is a lesson learned and the employee should be more loyal and devoted know aware of what is on the other side of the office door.

However, that being said we have an employee that quit his position, then later quit his job because he did not like the changes that happened in the company. He went around blaming team members for his failure and now, after almost 6 months, the company has hired him back. Many of the team and staff are livid but the hiring bodies don’t seem to care about the destruction they have set in motion.

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Does November 15, 2011 at 3:04 pm

a staff would want to leave with a higher salary from another company. We matched that, and he promosed to stay with us. However, the another company tried to offer even higher salary after two months. He quitted. After not 4 month in the new company he wanted to come back. Which salary should we offer?

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Clay Bratton March 19, 2011 at 6:53 pm

I worked at a local Verizon store near my house.. I made good money in commission while I was there but did not receive benefits (PTO, insurance, 401k, etc.). I applied at Sprint, and they offered me a job with benefits on the 31st day. I walked into work (Verizon) and told the manager that I was leaving; she asked me if I would work a notice, so I did. I ended up working a 3 weeks notice, (on my days off at Sprint, which was risky because I could have jeopardized my new job. I did it to stay on good terms in case the new job did not work out.

Now I ended up not liking the new job, so I got in touch with my former manager, and she arranged for me to speak with the DM. I spoke with him and was under the impression that I was going to be hired back, after being unemployed for 3 months now, I am fighting hard to get my job back. I would like some recommendations and advice as to what I should do. And also the policies about rehire eligibility.

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Des October 16, 2009 at 8:51 pm

A mistake? I’d be interested in knowing what kind of mistake a person could make to give notice and leave a job. I’d really have to think about that one. If a person left under a misunderstanding and it was corrected and the person wanted to come back that’s different. So, in either event, if the person was in good standing, gave the appropriate notice I’d attempt to hire he/she back. However, because of the organization I work for, they would have to reapply, be interviewed just like everyone else. And, if it’s under a year their seniority would still be in tact.

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