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Employee rights: resignation

Top Tips

Employees considering resignation from their current jobs will benefit from giving careful thought as to why they want to leave the company. New employment opportunities that offer a chance for career progression may be a reason to hand in a notice of resignation, such as the current opportunities in the growing green sector.

Announcing your resignation to your employer can be done in writing or verbally, however a written resignation can be advantageous, allowing workers to clearly state their reasons for leaving i.e. more job openings in other sectors such as engineering. This can also be an opportunity to state a specific notice period.

By law, employees are required to give one week's notice if they have worked for their employer for at least one month. Your contract with the firm may also detail a longer notice period.

It is important to remember that resignations cannot be taken back, unless specified in a contract or employers agree to rescind it.

In addition, final wages from your current role will be delivered on the usual pay date outside of a contractual arrangement – leaving the company for a new job does not entitle workers to request their final wage any earlier.

Provided notice is given in accordance with the terms of employment contracts, bosses must accept resignations – however legally a reference is not mandatory.

Employment contracts may include reference clauses, to help workers find jobs in the future and in some regulated industries, such as the financial services sector, employers are obliged to provide a reference for former employees.

During notice periods, workers normally retain normal pay and the benefits set out in their employment contracts, such as a company car or mobile phone.

In addition, employees may be entitled to a minimum hour rate for any sick leave, maternity leave or holiday that occurs during the notice period.

However, should an employee work a notice period that is longer than the minimum period required by at least one week, employees are not entitled to minimum pay – the same applies if workers take part in strikes or industrial action after handing in their resignation.

Workers that leave their current jobs without good reason may find their Jobseeker's Allowance is delayed by Jobcentre Plus. Some workers searching for new jobs may find they are not entitled to claim the allowance at all – however a hardship payment can be applied for.

Personal pension plans can be transferred from your current job to new employment opportunities. Alternatively, the value of a company scheme may be transferred into another scheme or into a personal plan.

Employees should receive payment of any unused legal minimum holiday allowance when they leave their job, although additional holiday hours specific to the job role may not be compensated if unused.

Once the notice period has been served, employers will normally give departing staff members a P45 form – a record of pay and tax for the current tax year thus far.

For more information on handing in a notice of resignation and employee rights during the notice period, visit

Templates and advice for constructing a letter of resignation can be found at the CV Tips website.

More information about a career in engineering can be found on the Engineering Council website.


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