Employee Resignations - a reminder


A recent Employment Appeal Tribunal case has highlighted the importance of clarity when an employee indicates that they wish to resign their post.

In this case an ambiguously worded resignation letter led to confusion as to whether the employee wished to resign from her role and accept an alternative internal post or intended to leave the organisation all together. When the offer for the alternative internal post was withdrawn and the line manager refused to allow the employee to retract her earlier resignation – the employee raised a complaint of unfair dismissal. Whilst there is no legal obligation to allow an employee to retract a written resignation – it is important to ensure any resignation is clear and explicit. In upholding the unfair dismissal finding the EAT criticised the employer for failing to clarify the employee’s true intentions.

To avoid any ambiguity in the management of employee resignations – consider the following best practice tips:

  • Whilst resignations may initially be given verbally always ensure an employee confirms their intention to leave your employment in writing. Ask the employee to be explicit in their letter that they are ‘resigning’ and stating the job title / employers name and their final date of employment
  • Acknowledge the resignation in writing confirming acceptance and final date of employment
  • Clarify with the employee when their last working day will be and any arrangements re outstanding leave to be taken or paid
  • Advise the employee of the arrangements for paying their final salary and issuing P45
  • Agree arrangements for the return of school property / ID and keys

Employers should be wary of accepting ‘heat of the moment’ verbal resignations.  In such circumstances a cooling off period is advised to give the employee an opportunity to carefully reflect on their decision and confirm their intentions in writing.

Please seek guidance from your SPS consultant with any issues relating to employee resignations.