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How to write an effective resignation letter

August 30, 2016

If you’ve decided to leave your job, you need to tell your employer in a resignation letter. You don’t want your employer to be in any doubt about your plans so always resign in writing, even if you’ve already told your manager that you are leaving. That way there can be no disagreement later about when or whether you’ve resigned.

Before you resign, check your employment contract to make sure that you know how much notice you have to give. If you don’t give enough notice, you will be in breach of your contract. If you’re not giving your full notice period, because, for example, you are claiming that your employer has breached your contract allowing you to resign without giving any period of notice (known as constructive dismissal), explain this in your resignation letter.

Your resignation letter should be addressed to your line manager (unless your contract says something else) and should say that you are resigning and when your last day will be. It doesn’t have to be legalistic or long, but it should be professional and polite. The letter is likely to be kept on your personnel file and may affect whether you get a reference from your employer. Even if you don’t want a reference, it is rarely worth upsetting an employer when you leave (unless you’re already in dispute with them). Things may change in the future and you may need a reference at a later date. Remember an employer doesn’t have to give a reference so use positive statements about your employment, and offer to help with any handover. Generally, you shouldn’t explain why you are leaving, what you disliked about your job, your employer and your colleagues, or make emotional statements.

Once you’ve resigned, you can’t change your mind unless your employer agrees. It’s not necessary for your employer to accept your resignation so be certain that you’re doing the right thing.

If you are a director and you resign your directorship, you should provide the company with a director resignation letter. This will confirm that you are resigning as a director (as well as an employee, if you hold both roles). You should check what the articles of association of the company say about resigning as a director, as well as any contract that you have with the company.  If these don’t say anything about resigning as a director, you can resign at any time.


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Sometimes, it may be the company that asks you to resign. This could be under the terms of the Articles of Association, or as part of a reorganisation, or when the company is being bought. You may then be presented with a director resignation letter. This is likely to include a clause waiving your rights to bring any claims in relation to your directorship.

Once you have resigned your directorship, it is the company’s responsibility to complete a form TM01 confirming your resignation. This has to be submitted to Companies House within 14 days of your resignation.

Louise Paull – LawBite Employment LawBrief. For further legal advice you can contact Louise via our online legal advice portal.