Can an employee retract their resignation?

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An employee who wishes to resign from their role in the company is required to give you the appropriate notice as stipulated within their contract of employment. It is always good practice that employees are asked to put their resignation in writing to you.

Generally, once you have accepted the resignation the employee cannot retract it without your consent. If you do not agree to the employee’s retraction of the resignation, then the employee is required to work their notice and leave. However, it is important to understand why the employee is resigning from their role and did they really want to resign!

If the employee resigned in the ‘heat of the moment’ then it may be that the resignation is not valid. The employee may have resigned because they are having a bad day at work, have had a difficult meeting with their line manager, or are not getting on with colleagues. In this situation, you should look at all the circumstances surrounding the resignation.

Whilst the employee is reconsidering whether they wish to resign, you should allow a period of time for the employee to reconsider their decision. A reasonable period of time is one or two days. After this time, sit down with the employee to discuss the situation and if the employee still wishes to resign then you should confirm the details regarding last day of employment, payments to be made and also that you gave the employee the time to reconsider their decision.

Unless you are absolutely clear that the employee did wish to resign, you could risk a claim of unfair dismissal.

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