Many times, a Company’s best hires are former employees who left voluntarily and hope to return. However, rehiring a former employee without checking their eligibility for rehire, or rehiring an employee who has been terminated for misconduct can cause significant problems in the workplace. Thus, even when a person is allowed to “quit” in lieu of being termed, it should be noted that person is not eligible for rehire. Troubles encountered when inconsistent rehires occur can be compounded when business owners and managers also consider a possible overall workplace morale problem if the rehired member returns and exhibits the same behaviors that were an issue previously. If the prior inappropriate behaviors have not been properly addressed, it is very likely that they will continue.
A company’s supervisors and managers are generally responsible for determining whether a staff member is eligible for rehire each time the staff member terminates employment, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. Staff members who leave the company in good standing and later want to return are eligible for consideration for rehire. It is an HR Best Practices recommendation that a company have a documented policy regarding what defines an employee as eligible and ineligible for rehire. Having a documented policy will lessen confusion when making this determination upon the termination or resignation, but will also outline the procedures to follow when a former employee reapplies for a position within the company.
The policy should include the basic rules and restrictions regarding rehiring an employee, including the verification of eligibility for rehire before activating an application from a former member. All employees should be educated regarding the policy so they are aware of their responsibilities and consequences for non-compliance. Former employees requesting rehire should indicate their former employment with the company on any application for re-employment. The verification should be done by an assigned individual or department for consistency.
The hiring supervisor or manager will then be advised of the former staff member’s eligibility for rehire and the requirement to check references, including contacting the previous company supervisor or manager before continuing in the hiring process.
The following is a sample list of reasons when a former member should be eligible for rehire:
1. Successful completion of the original probationary period;
2. Appropriate notice of resignation;
3. Participation in an exit interview, if applicable
4. Performance evaluations reflecting that the employee’s performance consistently met the requirements of the job.
5. Employees who have been laid off by the company for business reasons. (These employees would normally be considered first for any open positions.)
The following is a sample list of reasons when a former member should be ineligible for rehire:
1. Employment was involuntarily terminated for wrongdoing or misconduct;
2. Employment was terminated for violating company rules or policies.
The policy should also state that rehired employees will be treated as any other new hire, including completion of all employment documents, orientation and benefits waiting periods. Rehired employees may not have prior benefits reinstated, such as sick leave, annual leave accrual rate, etc.