Resignation letter

09 July 2019

There can be a number of reasons why employees choose to resign from their position. Some of the most common examples include a better offer from a different business, choosing to retire, or changing career. Irrespective of the reason, your business will receive a resignation letter sooner or later. Our guide explains what your rights are after you receive it, as well as the process you need to follow.

Your legal requirements

While there’s no exact legal process demanding employees provide a resignation letter (or even a notice letter to employers), they must still confirm their decision to resign in writing. A written resignation letter allows both parties to confirm the employee does intend to leave and hasn’t resigned in a heat of the moment argument. It can also verify the date of the resignation and help to establish the required notice to leave the job. An employee can provide a short resignation letter ceither in person or through the sending of a resignation email. In writing (handwritten or otherwise) is also fine—but it’s important to save the document in your records. In these situations, there’s also no reason why you can't accept a resignation letter/email. But you can prohibit that in your contract of employment if that's your preference. A basic resignation letter should confirm the employee is resigning and the date of the resignation. Once an employee provides it, they can’t withdraw the resignation without the employer’s express permission.

What you need to do

Upon receipt of the resignation, you should confirm you’ve accepted it in writing. A typical thank you letter to an employee after resignation should then outline when the last working day will be, the effective date of termination (if different from the last working day), and how you'll calculate final payments. Stick to minimum periods of statutory notice, unless you outline others in the contract. For example, a resignation letter for a teacher may require them to work until the end of the current school term. Employees should work through their notice period unless otherwise agreed with you. If they fail to do so, they’ll be acting in breach of contract. There may be situations where you want to try and get the employee to re-consider, for example if they feel the situation came about in the ‘heat of the moment’. If this is the case, you should send a resignation not accepted letter to the employee. This should outline why you feel you should discuss the matter further and invite the employee to a meeting. Potentially, it may be you can resoolve the issue without the employee leaving the company. If following confirmation of the resignation you want the employee to leave immediately, you can choose to provide payment in lieu of notice (PILON)—or place the employee on garden leave. However, in these circumstances, there must be an express contractual right for them to do this.

If an employee is retiring

In situations where a staff member wishes to retire, it’s (in effect) a resignation and they should still provide a resignation letter confirming this. For your response, produce a retirement letter from employer to employee confirming the employee’s final date of employment and any other relevant arrangements.

We can help

If you’re wondering how to handle a resignation letter you’ve received from a member of staff, get in touch and we’ll discuss the situation with you: 0800 028 2420.

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