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Glossary: HR & Recruiting Definitions

What is a resignation letter?

A resignation letter is a letter that an employee gives to their employer to notify them of their intended departure from the business.

A resignation letter can also be known as a notice of resignation or a letter of resignation.

What is included in a resignation letter?

Different countries and businesses have official standards for their resignation letters. For example, in Germany, the following items should always be included in a resignation letter:

  • Company information (including address)

  • Employee information (including full name and job title)

  • Date the letter was written

  • Intended last day of employment

  • Employee signature

Of course, other information may be needed for certain roles. Any crucial information that may be needed from an employee when handing in their resignation letter should be included in the employment contract.

Should a resignation letter be handed in writing?

This, again, depends on the country and business. While in some places, a resignation letter can be accepted over email, in other places this might not be enough.

For example, an electronic resignation letter in Germany may not be accepted. The resignation letter must always be in physical form and signed. This helps to avoid an employee claiming they did not resign later, as well as protecting the employee.

However, in other cases, such as the United Kingdom, the laws are less strict and it is up to the employer to specify whether a resignation can be electronically handed in, physically handed, or even verbally given.

Does an employer have to accept a resignation letter?

In most cases, an employer can not reject a resignation. Most countries have employment laws explicitly confirming that an employer has to accept a resignation.

The only time a resignation can be rejected, is if an employee has not given enough notice in their resignation letter, or is breaking their employment contract in some way.

Of course, in most cases it is worthwhile for an employer to try to work with an employee who wishes to resign to try to find an amicable workaround in these cases. This avoids keeping an employee onboard who wishes to leave, improves employer branding, and keeps a good relationship in place in case the employee may become a boomerang employee!

What happens after a resignation letter is accepted?

After a resignation letter is accepted, the following steps can help to ensure a smooth transition for both employees and employer.

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