When is a resignation not a resignation?

Here at PES we often get asked about employee resignations. This seemingly straightforward issue gives rise to many misunderstandings.

Our HR support professionals offer the following answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about resignations.

If an employee resigns, can I refuse?

No, but you can make them work a notice period. If the resignation has been tendered with immediate effect in order to avoid facing disciplinary proceedings, you can ask the employee to serve their notice period and continue with the process.

The other option is to make it clear that if you’re asked to provide a reference, you’ll explain the circumstances of the resignation to any future employer.

Can employees change their mind after resigning?

Only if you agree (provided they have formally resigned). If they have resigned and you’ve accepted, it’s confirmed. However, you might want to make it possible for them to retract if the resignation has come about as a result of a temporary crisis – after a ‘cooling down’ period. Be careful if someone has resigned in the heat of the moment.

Does a resignation have to be in writing?

Yes, if the employment contract specifies this. If it doesn’t, a letter isn’t essential – but it probably is advisable, to avoid any misunderstandings about verbal resignations later.

Can you assume an employee has resigned if they simply don’t turn up for work for a period of time?

No. If they haven’t clearly stated in writing their intention to resign (see above), you can’t be sure of the circumstances. It would be better to begin disciplinary proceedings against them, which may of course end in dismissal.

Need any further help?

Whether you’re a small organisation with no in-house HR team, or a larger business that needs help from time to time with complex issues, we’ll slot right in and deliver pragmatic HR support.

For tailored support with your HR, employee benefits or wellbeing services, please contact us.

About PES

Delivering a great employee experience is a challenge for growing organisations. At PES, it’s what we do. Our online employee benefits platform, HR support and workplace wellbeing services bring out the best in your employees – enabling your business to thrive.

Call us on 01454 808658, email us at hello@wearepes.co.uk or fill in our enquiry form.

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