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NOTICE TO EXPLAIN, or show cause letter, is a document from the employer to the employee, requiring a written explanation brought about by an incident report. It is a legal requirement, the first of the two-notice rule. It provides the employee with the opportunity to explain, often called as “Due Process”. Thus, prior to writing the said notice, you should have in hand (a) an incident report (or reports) and (b) all the possible pieces of evidence.

first of the twin notice rule: notice to explain

Please read the following for better appreciation of the topic
- How to write a notice of decision memo
- Preventive suspension, how to
- How to conduct an administrative investigation
- How to write a notice of administrative meeting
- Due Process and Employee Relations
- Due Process and Employee Resignation
- Progressive Discipline
- Termination: Just Causes 
- Termination: Authorized Causes
- Termination: Health Reasons


Other than your company rules and regulations, it is also best to familiarize yourself with Article 282 of the Labor Code which outlines violations. These are :


  • Serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the employee of the lawful orders of his employer or representative in connection with his work;
  • Gross and habitual neglect by the employee of his duties;
  • Fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by his employer or duly authorized representative;
  • Commission of a crime or offense by the employee against the person of his employer or any immediate member of his family or his duly authorized representatives; and
  • Other causes are analogous to the foregoing.


Below is a sample template of Notice to Explain


TO: the name of the employee who needs to write the explanation.

DATE: the date you made the notice.

FROM: the name of the department head




Please be advised that we have received an incident report. It is alleged that on (write the date and time of the incident) at (write the location of the incident) you were (describe briefly what was being done or not being done but should be).


This is a violation of (read the Company Handbook or Code of Discipline and specify the rule number and the violation). Based on our rules and regulations, the First Offense (or Second or Third or so on and so forth) may be given a disciplinary action of (write the specific sanction).


Submit your written explanation within (for sanctions of Warning, write “forty-eight (48) hours”; for sanctions of Suspension or Dismissal, write “one hundred twenty (120) hours”). This will give you an opportunity to explain to defend yourself and provides you due process. Failure to submit within the deadline means you have waived your right to be heard and management may make a decision.


Please be guided accordingly.


Managers Name | Position Title | Signature

Noted by: HR Manager


CC: 201 File (If there is a Union and the employee is a Union Member, add the “Union” to the CC).


ATT : and specify the attached evidences (example : “Photos of____”, “Photocopy of Delivery Receipt No. ______”, or “Incident Report of ________”, etc.). Attach the attachments.


IF in your company, HR is the one releasing this memo, then modify the template to include the following:


THRU: The Department Head (just below the TO section)
FROM:  the HR Manager
SIGNED BY: HR Manager (instead of the manager of the employee)
NOTED BY: Department Manager (instead of the HR Manager)


Once the notice to explain memo was signed by management signatories, then have the employee receive the document by writing his/her name, date of receipt, and signature. (Option: Have employee write the time of receipt). Leave one copy with attachments to the employee. Retain a copy with the employee’s receiving. Make a copy for the 201 file. (And if there is a Union, give a copy to the Union and have a Union Officer receive).


For sanctions of Suspension or Dismissal, there will be an administrative meeting and a separate notice of meeting will be sent out. In some instances, the admin meeting is already stated on the notice to explain memo. Either way, it should be made clear that said meeting is (1) another opportunity to explain employees side, especially if the employee did not submit his written explanation, (2) failure to attend the said meeting can be interpreted as a waiver of the right to be heard, and (3) employee can bring a representative of his/her choice.


What to do in case an employee refuses to receive the notice to explain memo?


Have employee’s superior (and if there is a Union, a Union Officer) write and sign “Employee refuses to receive” (then write their name, date and signature).


Have you prepared a notice to explain the memo before? Care to give additional pointers?


Disclaimer: The articles found on this blog do not constitute legal advice, and engagement/discussion does not signify a professional-client relationship. Likewise, subsequent court and administrative rulings, or changes to, or repeal of, laws, rules, and regulations may have rendered the whole or part of this article inaccurate or obsolete.

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