How to deal with resignations

What should you do when someone resigns??, a quandary that perhaps you have faced, are facing, or will do in the future. Thing is how should a resignation from an Employee be handled.

In our article we explore, legal requirements, how to acknowledge (and pitfalls of not doing) of course what to include in your acknowledgment and next steps.

Why not take a read today…

What should you do when someone resigns?

As we know Employees resign for many reasons, for some it is for career progression, financial, for others personal/social reasons and for some unhappiness in the role/Company, it is important (and best practice) to acknowledge their resignation and in writing, when doing so you should then confirm:

  • their leaving date
  • after checking they’ve provided the sufficient notice period (checking their Contract of Employment)

what they will receive in their final salary, this would be their normal salary, accrued yet, untaken leave, commission/bonus (if applicable, and subject to notice caveats)

  • payment in lieu of notice (PILON) if they are not required to work, and you agree to pay them instead
  • return of equipment/items belonging to your Company, what these are, and how/when they are to be returned
  • and of course, any deductions of payment in final salary, to make deduction(s) you should refer to your Contract of Employment to ensure you can make the required deduction(s) and in line with legislation, this could include overtaken leave, training and certification, damage to equipment/items etc

What do I do if an Employee has resigned with immediate effect, or not provided their full contractual notice?

This can be commonplace, we always advise to take a reasonable approach, however, If the Employee has not provided their full contractual notice, or any at all, (upon checking their Contract of Employment) you are legally entitled to withhold payment.

What if my Employee has a substantial amount of untaken annual leave, or has overtaken leave?

In the first instance you should again, check over their Contract of Employment, in this you should have a clause which permits you to enforce your Employee to take any accrued yet untaken annual leave during their notice period.

To make the deduction of overtaken leave you should again refer to their Contract of Employment for relevant clauses to make the deduction.

Is it a legal requirement to acknowledge a resignation?

It is not a legal requirement, however, there are many practicalities that should be considered by not doing so, these can be:

  • misunderstandings about the leaving date
  • final pay and what this will include
  • final pay and what deductions are planned/proposed
  • request for return of equipment/items
  • planning of a follow up, or exit interview

One area that can be significantly overlooked (and really does happen) is when your Employee decides to rescind their resignation, or denies they even did resign, this can have an impact, causing you to have further conversations with them about the issue, by writing to not just acknowledge their resignation you will have an audit trail, this is important where there may be friction upon leaving.

It is important to also remember that by acknowledging, and of course highlighting the finer detail, such as final pay and any relevant deductions can reduce/eliminate your Employee from bringing a claim to tribunal for an unlawful deduction of earnings, and it is crucial to remember an Employee does not need to have over 2 years’ service to bring such a claim.

Should you acknowledge their reason for leaving?

So far this is one area we have not covered, so should/do you acknowledge/explore their reason for leaving??…

It may be your Employee has experienced some issues and these are documented on their resignation (or known about), by acknowledging their resignation in writing you can address these issues/complaints, and make the arrangements, or offer to resolve these before their leaving date.

There are a couple of ways to do this, let’s take a look…

  • you could acknowledge and then make the arrangement to speak to them formally or informally (this would depend on the nature/seriousness of their reasons for leaving)
  • you could cover these areas by completing an exit interview with them

It is important to follow up in either of these situations, not to take their departure personally, and above all learn from the experience.

How can we help?

At HR and You Ltd we have a team of highly experienced HR Consultants who can assist, support and manage any HR and Employment Law matter, why not contact us for a confidential no obligation chat. 0333 006 9489 or email us at [email protected]


This article contains a general overview of information only. It does not constitute, and should not be relied upon, as legal advice. You should consult a suitably qualified lawyer on any specific legal problem or matter.

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