• Resignation
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Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

(Last updated )

In this guide, we'll discuss what a resignation is, your legal duty, and how to handle staff departures in a professional manner.

It's fairly normal for people to leave a job on their own accord. They might do this if they're seeking a new position, becoming parents, or need more money.

As an employer, it's important to manage resignation properly. This includes providing the correct final pay and ensuring departing staff work the correct notice period. Failure to do so could result in you paying missing wages, facing dismissal claims, and even reputational damage.

In this guide, we'll discuss what a resignation is, your legal duty, and how to handle staff departures in a professional manner.

What is resignation?

Resignation is when an employee decides to leave their role within your business. This is also known as 'resigning', 'quitting your job', or 'handing in your notice'.

Staff might confirm their resignation verbally or in writing. For example, providing a simple resignation letter to their HR department.

What causes an employee to decide to resign from their job?

There are countless examples of why people may decide to resign from their job. For example, they might want to:

  • Start a new job.
  • Learn work skills or experience under a new employer.
  • Take a break for personal reasons. (Such as, becoming parents or needing better financial support).
  • Retire from their current job.

How much notice is needed during a resignation?

There isn't a set amount on how much notice period is needed during a resignation. It all depends on a person's employment contract terms. If a person doesn't have a notice period clause in their employment contract, statutory minimum notice period will apply.

If their continuous service is:

  • Less than one month: They do not need to provide any notice.
  • At least one month: They should get at least one week's notice.

How to manage employees resigning from their job

It's never easy dealing with a resignation during work. But ensuring you’re following the right procedure is the best place to start. Let's look at ways to manage employees resigning from their job:

Create a resignation policy

The first step that employers should take is creating a resignation policy statement. This statement should outline details like:

  • Resignation letter: What information employees should include in a resignation letter.
  • Withdrawal: Whether employees are allowed to withdraw a resignation letter.
  • Notice: How much notice employees need to provide; and what happens if this is not done.

Ask for resignation in writing

Even though it's not a legal requirement, it's always best to ask for a resignation letter. A resignation letter template may cover details like:

  • Last day: The resignation letter should state when their last day will be. A final day might be on the same day they express their resignation; or at a future date.
  • Reasons: The resignation letter should outline their reasons for wanting to leave. This could be due to personal circumstances, for example, if they want to start a new career. Or they could leave due to issues with their current boss.
  • Handover: The resignation letter could include a handover of tasks or work responsibilities. This can help anyone covering this role. For example, it could inform their past team about work that needs completing.

You should ask for resignation in writing (even if an employee expressed their intent verbally). It’s best for record-keeping if issues arise down the line.

State their notice period

Depending on contractual terms, most people may need to complete a notice period before they resign.

As an employer, it's important to inform them of how long notice periods should be. You should also state what happens if they don't complete it.

If an employee resigns due to constructive dismissal, they're less likely to fulfil their notice. That's because it might go against their reasons for resigning.

Provide their final pay and benefits

When a person is resigning, they must be paid any owing money owed to them. Final pay and benefits can include:

End relations on professional terms

The last step involves ending relations with the resigning person on professional terms - whatever their intent is.

This could mean holding an exit interview with them. And addressing any grievance issues they're facing during this transition process.

It’s best practice to provide a written acceptance letter stating you've accepted their resignation. It’s always a good idea to end things professionally and wish staff success and support with their future career.

What if an employee wants to resign on an earlier date?

If they want to resign earlier than their end date, try to think about the practicality of this request. Allow this if you can afford to let them go earlier.

However, employers should think about the consequences that could affect their business. For example, finding someone to cover their working hours.

You should state whether you accept or reject this request and explain your reasons.

What if an employee wants to resign at a later date?

In some cases, employees may express a desire to resign from their job at a later date. Maybe they're thinking about retirement or looking for alternative jobs.

Whatever their reasons are, it's important not to hold this decision against them. Avoid treating them differently or denying them of any career opportunities, like training or promotions. If you do, you could face discrimination claims against you.

Get expert advice on resignation with Peninsula

An employee may wish to leave their job for any number of reasons - it's a normal part of employment life. Despite that, you should be able to deal with the aftermath of resignations.

However, if you fail to manage resignation properly, you could face serious consequences. Like, paying missing wages, facing dismissal claims, and causing business disruption.

Peninsula offers expert advice on resignation. Our teams offer 24/7 HR advice which is available 365 days a year. We take care of everything when you work with our HR employment team.

Want to find out more? Contact us on 0800 028 2420 and book a free consultation with an HR consultant today.


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