How to resign - Resignation

How to resign

Your employer might have a resignation process they want you to follow. Check your contract to find out. If it's not in your contract, you could ask your manager or HR department.

An employer cannot reject your resignation. However, you should always follow the right process so that you're not in breach of your contract.

You should talk to your employer about how and when other people are told about your resignation. For example, whether it'll be you or your manager who tells them.

Telling your employer in writing

You do not have to put your resignation in writing, for example in a letter or email.

However, it can be helpful to have a record that you're resigning. This can help avoid disputes, for example about notice periods.

Write to your manager or HR department unless you have been told to write to someone else.

Tell them:

  • you're resigning
  • how much notice you're giving
  • what date you want to be your last day at work

You can use our resignation letter template.

If you want a record that your employer is aware of your resignation, you could:

  • ask them to confirm in writing they've received your resignation
  • send a resignation letter by recorded delivery

Notice period when resigning

Your 'notice period' is how long you remain employed by your employer after you've told them you're resigning.

Your written statement of employment particulars must say how much notice you must give.

If you've been employed for less than 1 month, you do not need to give any notice unless your written statement says otherwise.

If you've been employed for 1 month or more and you're legally classed as an employee, you need to give at least 1 week's notice, even if you've not been given a written statement.

Find out more about notice periods when resigning

Circumstances in which you might not need to give your full notice

In your resignation letter you should explain clearly your reasons for leaving.

If there's been a serious breach of contract, you might want to leave your job straight away instead of working your notice period. Doing this could be a breach of your employment contract, but it can be justified sometimes.

If you believe you must resign because your employer has seriously breached your employment contract, you might be able to claim constructive dismissal.

Breach of contract and constructive dismissal can be complex areas of the law. Contact the Acas helpline if you have any questions.

Asking to leave before your notice period ends

If you want to leave your employment before your notice period ends, you could ask your employer whether you can:

  • leave without working all your notice – you'd usually only get paid for the period you work, unless you and your employer came to an alternative arrangement such as taking holiday you've 'accrued' (built up)
  • be paid instead of working your notice – sometimes known as 'payment in lieu of notice' or PILON
  • be put on garden leave

Your employer does not have to agree to your request.

If you do not reach an agreement and do not work the appropriate notice, it might affect your final pay or references for future jobs.

Find out more about when you're not required to work your notice

Changes during or after your notice period

Check your employment contract to see whether it includes 'restrictive covenants'. These are terms restricting your actions during or after your notice period.

For example, your contract might state you cannot access sensitive business information during your notice period.

Find out more about the types of terms in a contract

If you've changed your mind about resigning

If you change your mind about resigning, tell your employer straight away.

Your employer does not have to accept your request to withdraw your resignation. However, they should give it serious consideration, especially if:

  • you very quickly changed your mind about resigning
  • it happened when your state of mind was affected by another factor, like a health condition or bereavement
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