How to Handle Employee Resignations in BC

  • End of Employment
employee resignation in BC
Kiljon Shukullari

Kiljon Shukullari, HR Advisory Manager

(Last updated )

Employee resignations may be a common occurrence in the professional world, but they can still pose significant challenges for employers. Whether the resignation is expected or not, employers in British Columbia have an obligation to comply with the provisions of the Employment Standards Act (ESA) throughout the process.

By having a clear understanding of the rules surrounding employee resignations in BC, such as notice periods, resignation letters, and steps to take post-resignation, employers can ensure compliance with the ESA and establish a smooth transition in the workplace.

Resignation notice period in BC

When it comes to resignations, the ESA doesn't mandate employees to provide written notice unless their employment contract requires it. Ideally, employees should give reasonable notice of their resignation to employers. Common notice periods are two weeks, which allows employers time to prepare for transition and find replacements.

An employee may not be eligible for federal government benefits if he chooses to quit his job. However, once the employee has given notice to the employer that they wish to resign, the employer can then decide if they want to terminate them earlier than the resignation date. In this case, the employer is obligated to pay an amount that equals the remaining notice given by the employee or the amount they would've paid if they had terminated them.

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The importance of a resignation letter

Encouraging employees to submit a written resignation letter is beneficial for both parties. A resignation letter serves as a formal record of the employee's intention to leave, which can be invaluable for documentation and reference purposes.

Here are a few reasons why you should have a resignation letter:

Clear intent and formality

A resignation letter provides clear evidence of an employee's intention to leave their position. It offers a formal record of the decision and eliminates any confusion or ambiguity about their departure.

Documentation and records

Having a written record of an employee's resignation can be essential for documentation purposes. This record can be valuable in case of future disputes, legal inquiries, or when providing references for the employee.

Transition planning

Resignation letters often include the employee's intended last working day. This allows employers to plan for a seamless transition, such as redistributing tasks, arranging for temporary replacements, and ensuring the continuity of work processes.

Exit procedures

A resignation letter initiates exit procedures such as finalizing compensation, returning company property, conducting exit interviews, and any specific terms discussed during the resignation process.

Protection against disputes

A written resignation can serve as evidence in case of legal disputes over the terms of departure, notice period, or other contractual agreements. It can help resolve and prevent potential lawsuits down the line.

Steps to take after the employee’s resignation

Here are some of the steps an employer can take after an employee resigns:

  1. Accept the resignation: Acknowledge the employee's resignation in writing and confirm the last working day and any necessary exit procedures.
  2. Review employment agreement: Check the employment contract for any clauses regarding notice periods, post-resignation obligations, and non-compete agreements.
  3. Finalize compensation: Ensure all outstanding payments, including salary, benefits, and vacation pay, are settled according to ESA guidelines.
  4. Collect company property: Request the return of company-owned items such as laptops, access cards, and other materials.
  5. Exit Interviews: Offer the employee the opportunity for an exit interview to gain insights into their reasons for leaving and get feedback on improvements for the business. 

Paying final wages

When an employee resigns, employers must pay any outstanding wages in full. These include regular pay, overtime, statutory holiday pay, and compensation for length of service and vacation pay.

Final payment must be made to the employee within: 

  • 48 hours after the employee’s last day of work.
  • Six days after the employee’s last day of work if the employer requires more time to calculate the final amount owed.

Announcing an employee's resignation

An employee’s resignation can impact your business’s workflow and project timelines. To prevent any unnecessary disruptions, you should inform your team about an employee’s departure, provide stakeholders with the necessary context and reassign responsibilities accordingly. 

Here are the steps employers can take when announcing an employee’s resignation:

Communication with your team

Let your team know about the employee's departure in a professional and respectful manner. Keep them in the loop about major changes to maintain transparency but avoid disclosing sensitive details. 

Notify stakeholders

Depending on the role of the departing employee, you may need to notify relevant stakeholders such as clients, partners, and vendors. Assure them that the services you provide won’t be affected by the resignation. 

Reassign workloads and responsibilities

Determine how the departing employee's responsibilities will be redistributed to maintain workflow continuity. Adjust your team’s expectations and workloads on projects and provide a timeline for replacing the employee.

Address questions and concerns

When employees see their colleagues leaving without understanding the reasons, it can affect morale and create anxiety and uncertainty about the stability of the organization. You can help alleviate these concerns by addressing questions from the remaining team members. 

Other things to consider

  • Confidentiality: Maintain the departing employee's privacy by not sharing unnecessary details about their departure.
  • Knowledge transfer: Implement processes, training, and measures to help transfer knowledge between the departing employee and their colleagues to prevent work disruption.
  • Promoting a supportive atmosphere: Communicate with your team about their colleague’s departure and give them a chance to offer well wishes and support. This will foster a sense of camaraderie in the workplace and preserve morale.
  • HR documentation: Ensure that necessary HR documentation is completed, such as updating records and processing final payments.

Do you need help with employee resignation procedures?

Peninsula Canada is here to provide expert guidance on handling employee resignations in compliance with BC's employment laws. Our HR professionals can help you navigate the process seamlessly, manage complex paperwork and documentation, and help maintain  workplace harmony. Contact us today at 1 (833) 247-3652 to learn more.

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