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resignation letters

writing letters of resignation - jobs, employment, business, professional and retirement - free cover letters samples, templates and examples - and resignation acceptance letters

Here are free templates and tips for writing resignation letters. Good resignation letters and letters of resignation acceptance are important for individuals and employers, so that the process of leaving a job is properly and professionally managed. Organisations and individuals are liable to dispute or penalty if resignation is not handled properly; resignation letters and resignation acceptance letters are therefore vital mechanisms for handling the resignation and leaving process properly. Following these simple rules will help you whether you are resigning, or managing the acceptance of the resignation an employee.

First, it's very important to keep letters of resignation and resignation acceptance positive - always leave friends behind, not enemies. See the love and spirituality page if you need reassurance about doing the right thing. Try to behave with compassion and humanity, even if the other side doesn't. Also by keeping resignation letters positive you avoid risk of libel or defamation, which carry potential legal liabilities for employee and employer. Positive resignation letters also increase the likelihood that your boss will provide a positive reference for you if you need one, and as a general rule, the more support you need from your boss then the more positive and appreciative you should be. As a general rule, and particularly to maintain a positive relationship with your line manager, give verbal notification of your resignation to your boss first, and then follow-up with a confirmation resignation letter to your line manager, with a copy to your HR department or equivalent. Obviously if the thought of having this discussion face-to-face worries you a lot then don't do it - just write the letter.

Please note that these resignations tips and resignations letters samples use spellings based on UK English common form, for example, 'recognise', 'organise', 'specialise', whereas US English favours the 'ize' spelling. For these and any other spellings subject to regional variation, change the spelling in your own resignations letters to suit your situation.

N.B. Age Discrimination legislation (UK and Europe) 2006, superceded 2010 by the Equality Act, has significant implications for retirement. See Age Discrimination and Equality.

(Tips and letter examples for withdrawing resignations are below.)

sample resignation letters and templates

Certain contracts of employment state how resignation notice should be given - particularly how given and to whom - if your contract states a procedure for resignation take note accordingly. Resignation letters should be printed or hand-written (either is acceptable) on a headed note-paper or a sheet of paper showing your home address (normally positioned top-right corner or top-centre). Resignations should ideally be delivered by post or by hand - avoid sending by fax, and email is not a good method either because these methods are simply not robust, reliable methods of making or terminating contracts. If you resign verbally (assuming you do not wish later to withdraw it) you must confirm the resignation in writing. Failing to do so could leave you vulnerable to losing certain rights, and if you then go on to leave the job you could be dismissed without notice due to failing to show up for work, on the basis that you had not formally resigned.

resignation letter

Top-left insert the name, title, organization and address of your line manager - not your foreman, team-leader, supervisor or shift supervisor, unless they are formally responsible for managing recruitment and resignations. Normally supervisory positions are not responsible for employment issues - your supervisor's boss is normally your formal line manager and the person to whom to address your resignation letter. It is important that your resignation letter is received by a manager who is officially responsible, otherwise disputes and confusion can arise as to whether you have actually resigned, and letters can 'go astray' if not sent to a responsible person in authority. If in any doubt as to whom to address your resignation letter (in small or disorganized companies sometimes these matters are not crystal clear) check with a senior manager, director, HR/Personnel Manager or even the CEO's p.a., any one of whom should be able to advise you.

Top-left below your manager's address insert the date you are writing the letter. Generally employers will deem the effective date of resignation to be the date shown on the resignation letter, but in other situations employers can regard notice of resignation effective from the date they receive the letter, so try to ensure that the date on the letter an the date of receipt are the same or very close. (It is not unknown for resignation letters to sit in a manager's in-tray for a week or more due to absence or holiday, leading to inevitable confusion as to the effective resignation and leaving dates, also impacting on termination pay and commencement of the person's new job.) Whatever, date your letter with due regard for its possible effect on your notice period and final leaving date.

Start your letter with Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss (surname), or Dear (first name), whatever you normally use when speaking to your boss - in all but the most traditional and formal organizations first name terms are quite acceptable. The resignation letter below is a sample which you can use as is, or as a letter template to amend as you need.

Clarity and simplicity are important - just say what is relevant and no more. Do not take the opportunity to tell the employer all the things you'd do differently or would change about the organization given the chance. If they want to know how you feel they'll hold an exit interview, which is the place for feedback, not the resignation letter.

State the date that you regard to be your leaving date, calculated by adding your contractual notice period (normally a week or a month, or in senior positions anything from three months to more than a year. Stating your preparedness to work your full notice period is significant - asking to leave sooner will reduce your chances of receiving a settlement payment in lieu of notice if it is to be offered. This is when for certain jobs the employer stipulates an earlier leaving date than required by your contractual notice period, in which case the employer must pay you for the notice period, being your entitlement whether you work it or not. In certain jobs, particularly business sales and management positions, resigning employees are often not required to serve their notice period. Many employers have a policy to release resigning (or otherwise terminated) employees immediately to minimise potential disruption or subversion, in which case don't take such a reaction to your own resignation personally. Generally if the employer asks you to leave before your notice period is served then you are entitled to pay in lieu of notice, unless you first indicate an intention or wish, or agree, to leave before serving your notice period. Obviously if you want or need particularly to leave before your notice period permits, then you should ask for this to happen, in which case if the employer agrees (which they generally will) you will forego your pay during the notice period.

 

sample resignation letter and template - (when you are prepared to work your notice period)


Name, Position, Organisation Name and Address (each on a separate line)

Date

Dear (line manager name - eg., Mr Smith, or first name if appropriate)

Please accept this as formal notice of my resignation from the position of (your job title and site/department/division as applicable), with effect from (normally date of the letter or receipt of letter - check your contract - if in doubt refer to date of letter).

In accordance with my contract of employment I am happy to continue to work until (date that your employment ceases according to notice period, calculated from your stated effective date of resignation).

(This part is optional:) While I believe that I am moving for good reasons, I am sorry to leave, and I thank you for your support during my time with the company, which I have found enjoyable and fulfilling.

(And if applicable:) Please let me know the arrangements for handing back equipment, company car, etc, and handing over outstanding work and responsibilities.

Yours sincerely etc.


 

sample resignation letter and template - (when you are not able, or firmly do not wish, to work your notice period)


Name, Position, Organisation Name and Address (each on a separate line)

Date

Dear (line manager name - eg., Mr Smith, or first name if appropriate)

Please accept this as formal notice of my resignation from the position of (your job title and site/department/division as applicable), with effect from (normally date of the letter or receipt of letter - check your contract - if in doubt refer to date of letter).

I realise that my contract of employment requires me to work until (date that your employment ceases according to notice period, calculated from your stated effective date of resignation), however I'd be grateful to be released earlier on (date that you actually need to leave), and will assume that this is acceptable unless you inform me to the contrary.

(This part is optional:) While I believe that I am moving for good reasons, I am sorry to leave, and I thank you for your support during my time with the company, which I have found enjoyable and fulfilling.

(And if applicable:) Please let me know the arrangements for handing back equipment, company car, etc, and handing over outstanding work and responsibilities.

Yours sincerely etc.


 

sample retirement resignation letter and template

Use this simple format when you wish to notify or remind your employer that you will be leaving due to retirement. In most cases the employer should be ahead of you on this and will set matters in motion for you. Again, write using your home address or headed notepaper. Write to your line manager, with a copy to your HR or Personnel department or equivalent. If in doubt about policy and process refer to your contract of employment and contact your local government employment office. You should give notice according to your contract of employment.

You should also be mindful of your rights under the Age Discrimination Regulations 2006, superceded by the Equality Act 2010 (UK and similar legislation across Europe), which forbids employers from enforcing retirement before the 'default' (UK) statutory age of 65 years, unless the employer can satisfy the requirements of the 'objective justification' contained in the regulations (evidence that the early retirement is appropriate and legitimate for the organisational context and aims). The regulations also require employers to give at least six months' notice of retirement to people retiring and to follow certain procedures for the retirement. Employees must usually give at least three months' notice in writing to their employers of their wish to work beyond their expected retirement date.

Under any circumstances it is highly recommended that detailed, open, recorded discussion takes place between employer and employee at least six months before the employee's 'default' retirement date, so that mutual positions and intentions can be understood and agreed.

As an employee, if you give formal notification of your wish to retire you are unlikely to be able later to withdraw this resignation, unless of course your employer wants to keep you.

See the Age Discrimination and Equality information, which is important for employers and employees.

sample retirement letter

Different versions for different situations will appear in due course.


Name, Position, Organisation Name and Address (each on a separate line)

Date

Dear (line manager name - eg., Mr Smith, or first name if appropriate)

Please accept this as formal notice of my retirement due on (date of retirement). I'll therefore be leaving my position of (your job title and site/department/division as applicable) as of that date.

(This part is optional:) I'll be sorry to leave, and I thank you for your support during my time with the company, which I have found enjoyable and fulfilling.

Please let me know the arrangements for handing back equipment, company car, etc, and handing over outstanding work and responsibilities.

Yours sincerely etc.


 

responding to, and accepting resignations

As a manager, having confirmed that the resignation is real and genuine, you must then decide whether you wish to try to persuade the person resigning to stay. This is a complex issue. Some managers never, as a matter of principle, try to persuade anyone to withdraw a resignation. This old-fashioned attitude is not helpful at all, (it's typical X-Theory behaviour) usually stemming from the manager's desire to enhance his autocratic reputation. Management and organizational response to a resignation should depend on the person and the situation: resignations can sometimes be a cry for help, a technique to achieve a pay rise, or an attempt to win promotion or improvement in conditions. On other occasions a resignation can be prompted by a determined approach by a competitor or head-hunter. Resignations can also be prompted by stress, which might be work related or domestic, or both. Resignations can also be caused by illness and related stresses (see the stress section). People occasionally resign in a fit of temper or as a result of an argument at work. So, resignations are not always what they seem, and as a rule the first response of the manager must be to counsel the person resigning to assess the real reasons for the resignation (see conflict resolution and trust). Also the manager should normally notify other departments as required by the organization's procedures, typically HR/Personnel, and usually your own line boss. If there is a valid and genuine reason for the resignation, you as the manager must then decide what to do about it, if necessary seeking advice from other people in the business (mindful of the need to maintain discretion at all times). If you decide to accept the resignation, again check your own organizational policy and follow it.

It is important to consider matters from a compassionate standpoint - people have feelings and must be treated with care. See the notes about love and spirituality in management and business, which help explain the value of bringing compassion and humanity to work.

If having done this you still need guidance, example or template for a resignation acceptance letter, use the sample below and amend it as you need.

In writing acceptance of resignation letters ensure you keep the acceptance positive. There is nothing to gain from being critical, or by raking up old issues, moreover you are liable to legal action for defamation if you choose to write anything negative. (N.B. This is different of course from disciplinary letters or termination letters following disciplinary action, when necessarily you must state the reasons for dismissal, in addition to adhering to other proper processes, about which your HR department or relevant government employment agency should be able to advise.)

Print the resignation acceptance letter on your organization's letterhead. Do not send your acceptance of someone's resignation by fax or email - use the post or give it by hand. Other methods such as email and fax, or worse still, mobile phone text messaging, are not contractually robust (or kind) and could lead to confusion and disputes. Never accept a resignation using only verbal confirmation - it is simply not valid and leaves the situation open to all sorts of difficulties.

 

sample resignation acceptance letter and template (when the person is required to work out their notice according to contract)

Ensure you check correct policy and procedures with, and seek approval from, your HR department (or equivalent) before sending any formal letters such as a resignation acceptance.


Name and Address of person who has resigned.

Date

Dear (name - Mr Smith, or first name if appropriate)

Your resignation from the position of (job title and site/department/division as applicable), effective from (date of effective resignation which should be confirmed with HR department or equivalent), is accepted.

According to your contract of employment you will work until (date that employment ceases according to notice period, calculated from stated effective date of resignation - and agreed with HR department or equivalent).

(Optional:) While working your period of notice you will obviously continue to be subject to your conditions of employment, and I would be grateful for you to maintain your normal high level of commitment to your job up to the time you leave.

(Insert specific instructions relating to leaving procedures, eg., return of equipment, company car, completion of expenses, final pay details, etc.)

(Insert details of exit interview date, time, venue and interviewer, if applicable.)

(Optional, and generally recommended unless there are disciplinary implications:) I thank you for your efforts and contribution during your time with us, and I wish you all the best for the future.

(Also optional:) I am happy to provide a reference if required.

Yours sincerely etc.


 

sample resignation acceptance letter and template (when the person is not required to work out their notice according to contract)

This situation commonly applies to sales and management jobs, and particularly when the person resigning plans to join a competitor, or cannot be relied on to continue to work in a committed way in the interests of the employer. Again, check correct policy and procedures with, and seek approval from, your HR department (or equivalent) before deciding and taking action about resignation acceptance.


Name and Address of person who has resigned.

Date

Dear (name - Mr Smith, or first name if appropriate)

Your resignation from the position of (job title and site/department/division as applicable), effective from (date of effective resignation which should be confirmed with HR department or equivalent), is accepted.

Although your contract of employment provides that you should work until (date employment theoretically ceases according to notice period, calculated from stated effective date of resignation - confirmed by HR department or equivalent), your employment will actually cease on (date of actual termination), and you will be paid in lieu of notice up to (contractual date of termination, or any other date that you might negotiate - sooner or later - with the resigning person).

(Insert specific instructions relating to leaving procedures, eg., return of equipment, company car, completion of expenses, expenses float, final pay details, etc.)

(Insert details of exit interview date, time, venue and interviewer, if applicable.)

(Optional, and generally recommended unless there are disciplinary implications:) I thank you for your efforts and contribution during your time with us, and I wish you all the best for the future.

(Also optional:) I am happy to provide a reference if required.

Yours sincerely etc.


 

withdrawing a resignation - letter examples

There are many reasons which cause people to resign, and sometimes the reason can disappear or change after you've resigned or sent your resignation letter. Think carefully about how you feel and what you want to do. If you conclude that you really do not now wish to leave, you wish to withdraw your resignation. It is an option that most people dismiss because they prefer to save face.

If after resigning, your circumstances change so that it really does makes sense to stay on, then consider trying to.

Going through with what may no longer be a good decision, just to save face, is not a good idea.

Without knowing the circumstances (it helps to give a reason), how long ago you resigned, and your formal notice period, which are all factors in this, here's a simple withdrawal of resignation letter, which you should write on your own headed paper:

resignation withdrawal letter example (soon after resigning)


(Name, address, and date)

Dear...........

I wish to withdraw my resignation of (date).

I hope that you are happy for me to carry on in my job as normal, and I will assume this is so unless you notify me otherwise.

Thank you in anticipation of your understanding, and apologise for any inconvenience I may have caused.

Yours sincerely, etc.


If there is a sensible and understandable reason for your change of mind then it would help to very briefly explain it, which you should do between the 1st and 2nd paragraphs. Don't beg or feel guilty - these things happen. Hopefully your employer will see it that way too. If they don't or can't, then be philosophical - sometimes that's just the way it goes.

If the situation is more complex, and/or you have completed a more than a quarter of your notice period, then a different sort of letter is appropriate, with a more questioning tone:

resignation withdrawal letter example (significantly after resigning)


(Name, address, and date)

Dear...........

I realise that various processes are now under way for me to leave the organization since I resigned on (date).

My circumstances and therefore my feelings have changed (due to.....), and if possible I would now like to withdraw my resignation.

I hope that I can continue in my job as normal, although I appreciate matters may not be that simple, and I await your response.

Thank you in anticipation of your understanding and apologise for any inconvenience I may have caused.

Yours sincerely, etc.


 

Make sure you copy the letter to all relevant people (ie HR or personnel department, your line boss, and the up-line decision-maker if appropriate).

Always follow-up a letter by phone or face-to-face discussion, and try to judge how best you can help the organization respond positively to your request.

This might be the first time that your boss has had to deal with someone wanting to withdraw a resignation and they may initially not know how to deal with it, so try to help and be flexible.

Many employers will look kindly on a request to withdraw a resignation if you present it in a mature and reasonable manner, so if things have changed and now you'd really rather not leave, it's always worth making an attempt to stay.

Of course there may be contractual issues, especially if you try to withdraw a resignation after a period of more than a few days. If the organization has already begun to make other arrangements to fill your job, then it may be difficult for them to reverse things even if they want to. And obviously if the organization treats the request as an opportunity to reduce your terms, or nail you to some unfair expectations, be very wary. Sometimes there is no going back, and if that's the case for any reason then grit your teeth and drive on.

The main point of this item about resignation withdrawals is simply that if things change and you no longer want to leave, it's often worth swallowing your pride and asking the question.






see also

Other useful free information and easy guides to personal and organizational development, plus other writing techniques, templates, samples and examples:

And on a lighter note, some amusing letters examples:


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