Handling Employee Resignations


Employees quitting can often come out of the blue and leave employers in a sticky situation; others can represent welcome news. Your actions on receiving a staff resignation will be dictated by how valuable you perceive the employee to be. Still, there are a few pointers to consider in all employee resignation processes.

Acknowledging And Accepting Employee Resignation

If an employee resignation was given verbally in person, ask for it in writing. Then, acknowledge it with an answer in writing accepting their resignation, checking that they have given the correct amount of notice as per their contract of employment, and confirm the date of their last day. If they haven’t given enough, remind them that they are contractually obliged to provide a certain amount. Some employees give more than the required notice, and it is in the employer’s best interests to accept this; enforcing the shorter notice runs the risk of a constructive dismissal claim. Always confirm a date for the last day of employment when accepting employee resignation to clarify the situation for all parties.

Retaining Employees After Resignation

Employees quitting in the heat of the moment may not be the employee’s true intention. Stressful days or conflicts with colleagues can lead employees to make rash decisions. Giving them the chance to cool down before accepting any employee notice of resignation may be advisable; you might save a good employee. In addition, unreasonably refusing a withdrawal may be risky and lead to claims of constructive unfair dismissal.

If the employee is a top talent, you may want an incentive for them to stay in their job, e.g. more money, a new contract, a more senior job role, or a team move. As an employer, be prepared to negotiate with your workforce, as retention of good employees can be a positive thing for the workplace and your business.

Notice To Employer For Resignation

Notice to employer for resignation periods are there for a reason. They allow you to prepare for the employee’s departure by starting a recruitment exercise to find a replacement in good time so a handover can occur. Sometimes, having an employee work their notice may not be advisable. For example, they may try to steal company data if you have concerns after receiving an employee resignation letter. In this situation, you could agree to shorten the notice period, or if the contract allows, pay in lieu of notice or enforce garden leave. Garden leave is an option that allows the employee to remain at home during the notice period whilst remaining an employee.

Exit Interview Following Employee Resignation Letter

If you receive an employee resignation letter, conducting an exit interview is a good practice and can be advantageous for you and the employee. Gaining feedback from an employee that may be slightly more open and forthright, as they have nothing to lose, on the company as a whole can be a helpful development tool. It could let help you see what factors you are getting right or wrong and where you may be able to improve your employee retention rate in the future.

Restrictive Covenant Following Employee Resignation

After receiving an employee resignation, a restrictive covenant will limit employees’ actions after leaving your company. You can ask any employee to sign one. Still, having a restrictive covenant in an employment contract is most valuable for senior employees to prevent them from working for a competitor, poaching your employees, contacting your clients etc. If there is one in place, remind the employee of their obligations under it. If there isn’t, try to get, the employee to agree to it before they leave.

Employee Resignation FAQs

After I receive an employee resignation letter, can the employee take annual leave during their notice?

Once an employee resignation letter has been received, yes, depending on how much notice they are required to give. Remember that you can decline a request. Suppose an employee takes holidays during their notice period. In that case, this will reduce their final pay or avoid any residual holiday pay due to the employee upon termination of the employee’s contract.

What should I include in my reply to a staff resignation letter?

Once you receive a staff resignation letter, and if you accept the employee’s resignation, you should reply in writing with some basic details. Your reply should include the date, employee’s name, confirmation that you accept, the final date of employment, and when they will receive their final pay. When accepting employee resignation, you could add any deductions due from their final pay or company property, such as uniforms, security passes, mobile phones etc.

Is allowing employee to resign in lieu of termination a good idea?

Allowing employee to resign in lieu of termination can be a good idea in certain circumstances. You may have workers who do not fit in well on a personal level or just aren’t taking on the necessary skills to perform within the job. Depending upon the circumstances allowing them to quit and resign could work for both parties as it is an easier process for you as the employer, and they leave without having it on their record that they got fired. You can arrange the details and notice period to be served.

Should I be notifying staff of employee resignation?

Yes, notifying staff of employee resignation is a good idea for several reasons. Sending out an email to employees letting them know when an employee is leaving is quite common practice. Other staff members may be affected by the departure with a possible increase in their workload, and you can also let your workforce know if you intend to replace and fill the position.

What should I include in my employee resignation and termination policy?

You should include several crucial points in your employer’s employee resignation and termination policy. The employment resignation policy should state who needs to be informed within your organisation of any intent to resign. It could be a member of the management of your HR department. Making it clear in your policy that written notice is required, with details of when the employee intends to serve their last day, is also a good idea. You should also include the notice needed upon receiving an employee resignation letter.

As a small business owner, can I ignore an employee notice of resignation if it negatively affects my company?

If, as the employer, you receive an employee letter of resignation, you can’t refuse it, the same as if an employee hands in their notice, they can’t withdraw it.

Both parties must agree on either of these two circumstances to change.

If your company has an employee resignation policy stating that an employee must give notice in writing, and you only receive verbal notice, it would not be considered a valid resignation. You would not need to support it. If your employees have a contract, and the policy is to give written notice, whether two weeks or three months into the future, the moment an employee hands the appropriate person the letter, you should honour it.