Introduction to this document

Withdrawal of resignation acceptance

There are a few reasons why an employee might want to withdraw their resignation and the law says you don’t always have to accept that withdrawal. However, if you do, use our letter. It covers three situations.

Improved terms

When an employee resigns, sometimes you might want to try and persuade them to change their mind. If they’ve resigned because they’re unhappy with their current terms and conditions of employment, you might decide that it’s appropriate to meet with them with a view to offering them improved terms and conditions by way of an incentive to persuade them to stay - see our Letter to Discuss Resignation. The first optional paragraph in our Withdrawal of Resignation Acceptance is for use in these circumstances once the employee has confirmed they’re now withdrawing their resignation. It outlines the improved terms offered and, where the employee has agreed to a contractual variation, it provides them with an updated employment contract or written statement of employment particulars to reflect the change.

Problems at work

The other most likely reason for an employee to want to withdraw their resignation is where they resigned because they were unhappy with a work situation, such as bullying or harassment, a manager’s treatment of them or a personality clash, and now that matter has either been informally resolved or it’s been progressed to be treated as a formal grievance. Our second optional paragraph covers this scenario. You don’t have to agree to the employee withdrawing their resignation in these circumstances (unless it was given “in the heat of the moment” – see below) but, if you’re willing to do so, use this optional paragraph in our letter to set out what the problem was and how it’s been, or is in the process of being, resolved.

Heat of the moment

A resignation stemming from problems at work may also have been given “in the heat of the moment”.  If it was given in the heat of the moment, e.g. following an argument or disagreement at work, the employee’s immediate response was to resign and then walk out in a fit of temper, it’s not legally valid because of the fraught circumstances in which it was given. In this situation, immediately send the employee our Response to “Heat of the Moment” Resignation letter. If you purport to accept a heat of the moment resignation without having given the employee the reasonable opportunity to calm down first and confirm their true wishes, you’re at risk of converting the situation into one of an express dismissal by you. Usually, a day or so is a sufficiently reasonable time to allow the employee to calm down. If they then still want to resign, that’s their choice. If they don’t, our final optional paragraph covers a heat of the moment resignation and sets out that you’re happy to treat their resignation as retracted where the employee has subsequently stated they didn’t really want to resign and now wish to withdraw it. If applicable, you can use this paragraph in conjunction with the optional paragraph covering problems at work.