The art of acceptance…of resignation.

Be your business big or small there will come a time that an employee decides for you that they are leaving.

Sometimes it is someone you don’t want to lose while in other cases, it might just be a blessing in disguise. Either way, there is a reason you will want to make sure it is clear that the resignation is being accepted when it happens.

Here’s why

Quite simply, it reduces the chances of you being exposed to claims of unfair treatment, makes sure there are no other underlying issues and ensures clarity around an end date and the notice period (if any).

PS- for long term casuals, it confirms that the employment relationship has indeed ended

Even when it’s obvious

Let’s consider this using the following scenarios (based on true stories) to explain further:

  • An employee refusing to accept a roster change and simply walking away from a company vehicle in the field
  • An employee tells their manager they resign and walks out after a conversation about their poor performance
  • A worker simply failing to show up for work

At first glance the employee has clearly demonstrated they have resigned right?

Not always, and unless you have it in writing from them, how does anyone really know the reasons for their sudden departure? Worse, might they say you contributed to their decision because of what you said or did?

Either way, you are now open to possible claims of unfair treatment or worse because nothing is in writing.

Peace of mind

At the end of the day, confirming the resignation in writing does at least four things for you as an employer:

  1. You don’t miss looking into a genuine cry for help from an employee (we lead with this one as mental well-being should be top of mind)
  2. You confirm an end date and a notice period – and what is to be paid out
  3. You get to put your side of a ‘worse-case’ situation in writing
  4. You show a fair and balanced approach to the resignation should this be necessary later

What to write

The basic elements you should place into a resignation acceptance letter (and they will change based on the circumstances) include:

  • Acknowledging the employee has resigned
  • The date they have resigned
  • Their last day at work (including a notice period or not)
  • That they will be paid out any entitlements and by when
  • What they have to do to return company equipment

Here is an example of a Resignation Acceptance letter to demonstrate.

  Resignation Acceptance

And employees resigning under a cloud?

It is also ideal to state how they resigned and that you are querying this to make sure you have understood that their intention is to resign.

For example, with our employee who just walked off site, we should query the manner of how they walked away and that we taken this to mean they have resigned. For clarity, provide a time frame for them to come back to say they want to remain employed. Remember, you can still move to addressing the manner in which they resigned via performance management if they wish to stay.

It might seem like an extra step at the time but when you need it, you’ll be more than happy you have in writing that the employee resigned themselves.


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