Introduction to this document

Return of company property clause

It’s advisable to insert a clause obliging an employee to return all company property on the termination of their employment. This is particularly the case if the employee has office keys, company credit cards, expensive IT equipment or confidential documents.

Bring it back

When an employee leaves, returning your company property may be the last thing on their minds. However, you don’t want ex-employees having keys or pass cards that enable them to access your premises. Neither do you want them running up bills after they’ve left with company credit cards or keeping hold of costly IT equipment. Finally, whilst most of the paperwork they may have at home is probably innocuous and, for all intents and purposes, useless, you don’t want to take the risk that they take with them confidential documents or other documents that could harm your business interests if they fall into the wrong hands. Therefore, our Return of Company Property Clause not only obliges the employee to return everything (and not to have taken any copies, summaries, etc.) but also it requires the employee, if necessary, to confirm in writing that they have done so.

Remote working

If your employees work from home, then you probably supply them with office equipment such as telephones, computers, laptops, printers, etc., none of which comes cheap. If this is the case, our clause also enables appropriate deductions to be made from the employee’s final salary to cover the cost of the property should they fail to return it when requested. The clause is drafted so as to represent an estimate of the loss that you are likely to suffer as a result of the employee’s failure to return the company property. This is because the clause cannot act as an extravagant penalty on the employee out of all proportion to your loss – such clauses are unenforceable. Thus, the deduction is limited to the current market value of the unreturned items. If there are specific items of property you know you wish to recover, e.g. a company mobile phone, you can put these in the clause if you wish, so as to bring the need for their return to the employee’s particular attention.