Resignation

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Quick Facts

23rd June 2023

  • If provoked to resign by the employer's actions, an employee may have been constructively dismissed.

  • The employee is bound by his or her contract of employment to work a period of notice, unless the employer agrees to waive the notice requirement.

  • The employer should always accept an employee's resignation in writing, specifying the last day the employee will be expected to work and the day on which the employment will terminate (if different).

  • Provided the contract of employment allows, an employer may pay the employee in lieu of notice in order to facilitate his or her early departure from the organisation.

  • Employers may, provided contracts of employment allow for it, place employees on "garden leave" for the duration of the notice period.

  • It is good practice for employers to carry out exit interviews to establish the employee's reason for leaving and to use this as an opportunity to address any workplace issues.

Key Updates

Updated: 12 may 2023

Government to legislate on non-compete clauses

In May 2023, the Government published its response to consultation which closed in February 2021 on "measures to reform post-termination non-compete clauses in contracts of employment".

In a move to boost flexibility and dynamism in the UK labour market, the Government has committed to introducing a new law to limit the length of non-compete clauses to three months (there are currently no laws relating to restriction/enforceability), when parliamentary time allows. 

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Resignation: Resources

Policy

This policy details the process to be followed by an employee who wishes to resign and gives guidance for managers on the issues to consider before the resignation takes effect. The policy covers giving notice, pay in lieu of notice, garden leave, restrictive covenants, managing holiday during the notice period and the completion and handover of work.

Letters

This letter confirms the company’s acceptance of the employee's resignation. A number of optional paragraphs are included in relation to contractual notice periods.

This letter offers an employee who has submitted a resignation letter containing grievance issues the opportunity to have the issues addressed. The letter states that an informal chat or formal grievance meeting can be arranged but also outlines that if the employee does not wish to address the issues then a separate letter confirming the arrangements for their resignation period will be sent.

This letter can be used after asking an employee to reconsider their resignation, where they have resigned raising an issue or grievance, if no response is received.

This letter is to respond to an employee who has resigned whilst on suspension as part of the disciplinary process.

This letter can be used for an employee who has resigned pending possible disciplinary action.

This letter can be used where an employee has resigned with immediate effect prior to disciplinary action being taken against them.

For employees who resign in the heat of the moment, this letter gives them an opportunity to discuss the reason(s) at a grievance meeting. If they do not respond to this invitation they are considered to have resigned and their P45 and final payments are processed.

For an employee who has resigned in the heat of the moment following a period of poor mental health, this letter asks them to arrange a meeting to confirm their intention and to discuss the workplace support which is available. The letter confirms that their resignation will be processed if the employee does not respond to this letter.

Use this letter to conclude the resignation of an employee, who does not have two years' service at the date of concluded resignation, following a period of unauthorised absence. The letter outlines the attempts the organisation has made to contact the employee and confirms arrangements for final payment.

This letter explains the employee's obligations to the organisation while they are on garden leave and when the garden leave starts.

This letter should be sent to employees in the event that a retraction of a resignation has been formally accepted. The letter outlines the reasons for the retraction and confirms that the employee will remain in employment.

Downloads

Resignation policy

This policy details the process to be followed by an employee who wishes to resign and gives guidance for managers on the issues to consider before the resignation takes effect. The policy covers giving notice, pay in lieu of notice, garden leave, restrictive covenants, managing holiday during the notice period and the completion and handover of work.

Letter acknowledging receipt of resignation

This letter confirms the company’s acceptance of the employee's resignation. A number of optional paragraphs are included in relation to contractual notice periods.

Letter responding to resignation letter containing grievance issues

This letter offers an employee who has submitted a resignation letter containing grievance issues the opportunity to have the issues addressed. The letter states that an informal chat or formal grievance meeting can be arranged but also outlines that if the employee does not wish to address the issues then a separate letter confirming the arrangements for their resignation period will be sent.

Letter to employee after asking them to reconsider resignation and no response – acceptance of resignation

This letter can be used after asking an employee to reconsider their resignation, where they have resigned raising an issue or grievance, if no response is received.

Letter to employee who has resigned whilst on suspension

This letter is to respond to an employee who has resigned whilst on suspension as part of the disciplinary process.

Letter to employees following their resignation pending disciplinary action

This letter can be used for an employee who has resigned pending possible disciplinary action.

Letter to employee following immediate resignation prior to disciplinary action

This letter can be used where an employee has resigned with immediate effect prior to disciplinary action being taken against them.

Letter to an employee who has resigned in the heat of an argument

For employees who resign in the heat of the moment, this letter gives them an opportunity to discuss the reason(s) at a grievance meeting. If they do not respond to this invitation they are considered to have resigned and their P45 and final payments are processed.

Letter to an employee who has resigned in the heat of the moment following poor mental health

For an employee who has resigned in the heat of the moment following a period of poor mental health, this letter asks them to arrange a meeting to confirm their intention and to discuss the workplace support which is available. The letter confirms that their resignation will be processed if the employee does not respond to this letter.

Letter concluding resignation following period of absence without leave by short service employee

Use this letter to conclude the resignation of an employee, who does not have two years' service at the date of concluded resignation, following a period of unauthorised absence. The letter outlines the attempts the organisation has made to contact the employee and confirms arrangements for final payment.

Garden leave letter

This letter explains the employee's obligations to the organisation while they are on garden leave and when the garden leave starts.

Letter accepting retraction of resignation after formal acceptance

This letter should be sent to employees in the event that a retraction of a resignation has been formally accepted. The letter outlines the reasons for the retraction and confirms that the employee will remain in employment.

Reviewed 16 January 2024

Case Reports

Steel v Spencer Road LLP (t/a The Omerta Group)

A clawback provision can disincentivise an employee to resign, but this is not the same as a restraint of trade.

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Leaney v Loughborough University

When deciding whether a contract has been affirmed in a constructive unfair dismissal case, the time between the last straw that prompted the resignation and the resignation itself is not determinative of affirmation. Instead, the employee’s conduct during that time should be assessed for evidence of express or implied affirmation.

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Mr R Omar v Epping Forest District Citizen Advice

Where a resignation has been clearly and unequivocally given, and the employer deems it to have been seriously meant, it is not necessary to allow it to be retracted to avoid an unfair dismissal claim.

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Cope v Razzle Dazzle Costumes Ltd - Unfair dismissal: ambiguous resignation

Employers who fail to question further an ambiguous resignation can find themselves liable for unfair dismissal if they treat the employment as at an end.

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Fentem v Outform EMEA Ltd - Unfair dismissal: resignation into dismissal

The Employment Appeal Tribunal was asked to consider whether or not the claimant was dismissed by the respondents’ actions in terminating his employment early during his notice period, which he was serving as a result of his resignation.

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JLT Speciality Ltd v Craven – Contractual terms: interpretation

The Court of Appeal has ruled that mistakenly referring to a different termination date than specified in an employment contract will not vary the date if there is no basis for inferring this intention.

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