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The prodigal employee: Should you let staff ‘unresign’?

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in HR Management,Human Resources

Q. “An employee who resigned last week called and said it was a mistake to leave. He wants to come back. He left on good terms. Should we let him return? If so, how do we handle seniority, accrued vacation, etc.?” — Nancy

Answers from the readers of The HR Specialist Forum:

Mentally resigned? “I have found that once an employee makes the philosophical decision to leave, it's hard to get him/her back. The worst situation was that in his mind his resignation was a 'dare' or a challenge.” — Mary

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Back to square one. “If he left on good terms and is eligible for rehire, I see no reason not to. However, his employment was terminated, and he’d now be a new hire. His seniority should start all over again, along with the probationary period and benefits waiting period.” — Heather

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Send a message. “Hire him back. This will send a positive note to other employees that the grass is NOT always greener on the other side. This could help to retain other employees.” — Mike

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One question. “Even though he left on good terms, the question to ask is if the employee was a good worker. Our company has 516 employees and 11% are rehires. I am one of them. We believe in giving back seniority for vacation time, but they lose accrual as we pay out.” — Jean

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Encourage revolving door? “The terms of your benefit programs should tell whether you can reinstate immediately. However, anything based on seniority, such as vacation, should start over. You don't want to give your employees the idea that you have a revolving door because they’ll take advantage of you.” — Darrel

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As if he never left. “I worked for a company that rehired an employee back and bridged the gap with vacation time … only if the paid-out vacation time check wasn’t cashed! After that, it was as if he never left.” — Paul

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