When an employee quits their job, resignation letter acceptance is more crucial to business success than you might think.
How you handle the end of an employee’s contract impacts:
- Staff morale
- Company reputation
- Employee retention
If you need immediate information on how to accept a resignation or an end-of-contract issue, speak to a human resources expert today on 01455 858 132. Otherwise, read on to find out how resignation impacts your workforce and get a free resignation acceptance letter template.
What is a resignation acceptance letter?
A letter accepting a resignation is a formal letter accepting the resignation of a departing employee. It is usually written by the individual’s direct manager, and thanks the employee for their service while setting out any relevant future details.
This is the place where you reiterate the steps in your company’s policy on end of contract and provide detailed information, such as the date of their final day of work. We would always recommend providing a hard copy letter, as well as a digital copy.
In this next section, we’ll outline all the considerations you need to consider in your resignation letter acceptance process.
Accepting a resignation
While an acceptance letter is an important part of the process, it’s not the only part.
First of all, you cannot refuse to accept an employee’s resignation. When a member of staff resigns, you must:
- Get them to confirm their resignation in writing (if they haven’t already)
- Inform them of their notice
- Agree when their last day of work will be
- Confirm how much of their notice they should work
Verbal resignation can lead to claims of unfair dismissal. This is why you should always ask for written resignations.
Why it’s important
Let’s take a look at the reasons why getting a resignation wrong is bad for your business:
- Resignation letter acceptance is important because you can’t stop someone deciding to leave. You may not like it and you are within your rights to encourage them to stay but you can’t physically stop them leaving.
- Failure to get a letter of resignation from your employee can lead to confusion about the employee’s intention
- Pushing back against a resignation sets a bad precedent when other employees leave the business. Instead of discouraging them from leaving, it will damage morale and negatively impact productivity.
On the other hand, getting it right means that you maintain a good relationship with the employee. This leaves the door open for a former employee to return to the business if the opportunity arises.
Make sure your accounts department is aware of the timeline for the exiting employee. If you fail to pay the employee what they are owed, when they are owed it, this will discredit the entire process. It could also lead to tribunal claims.
In this next section, we’ll outline all of the details you need to include in your resignation acceptance letter…
How to write a resignation acceptance letter
Writing a letter to accept the resignation of a staff member is more than just getting an employee’s contact information correct. There are a number of steps you can take to ensure your acceptance letter is serving its purpose.
It may go without saying, but it’s important that you get the small details right.
The letter is as much about formalising the process as it is delivering well wishes and best regards. Accepting the resignation in a proper business letter format should be an official document that also conveys your appreciation.
To make sure you achieve this, when you write your professional letter, follow these four steps:
1. Acknowledge the employee’s resignation
If an employee hands you a resignation letter, you need to acknowledge it. You can do this verbally, but it’s always better to follow up with written confirmation. The first paragraph of your resignation acceptance letter should acknowledge that you’ve received, accepted, and respect their decision. This will set a good precedent and make their remaining time with the company productive.
2. Acknowledge the employee’s contribution
Respond to a resignation letter by recognising the achievements and contributions of the employee. Including a paragraph in your resignation acceptance letter on what the employee is done helps them feel valued and appreciated. This is beneficial not only for the individual, but the company as a whole too. It creates a positive work environment for the existing employees.
3. Set a timeline for the resignation
If you receive a resignation letter, it’s important to have a timeframe. Include details on when their notice period ends. This helps you and the employee. For you—you’ll have time to address any gaps the exiting employee will leave. For them—they know how long they have to wrap up or pass on any existing projects. It also helps the transition to the new employer easier, as this may not be the end of their career journey.
4. Include any further necessary details and thank the employee once more
If there are any extra considerations that need to be made for the employee, add them here. For example, they may need to take a period of garden leave. You should thank them again, wishing them luck with their future endeavours, to ensure they leave the company on good terms. It also helps to leave the door open if they want to return to the company. It will boost other employees’ enthusiasm for your business and you as an employer. Consider also including an instruction for them to return all company property by their termination date and set a date for an exit interview.
Issues during resignation letter acceptance
Aside from the possibility of unfair dismissal, there are other issues that can occur when resignation occurs.
For example, if staff aren’t properly informed of the resignation of a colleague, there could be a serious impact on productivity. During the process, you should also factor in a handover when you write your resignation acceptance letter. You could inform the employee who they should hand over any existing work, or which projects need handing over and why.
Pay is also a crucial issue. Not ending on good terms with an employee is bad. Failing to pay them for their work is much worse. Make sure your accounts department is aware of when the employee needs to receive their final pay packet. Make sure this matches the date outlined in your letter to the employee.
Another point of contention is an employee’s notice period…
How much notice do staff need to provide before they resign? This depends entirely on the individual’s circumstances, including:
- How long they’ve worked for their employer
- The wording of their employment agreement/contract
It may also change depending on whether the employee is resigning due to something their employer has done. If they’re resigning and claiming constructive dismissal, there are some circumstances that would allow the employee to leave the company immediately.
Otherwise, the statutory minimum is one week’s notice if the employee has been in the job for more than a month. Most contracts will specify a greater notice period once probation has ended. A one-month notice period is standard practice for many businesses.
A staff member can request a reduction in their notice period or alterations. You should always consider the employee’s request, even if you don’t ultimately accept it.
You can find a full breakdown of the resignation process here. This will provide you with more sample letters accepting resignations, and information on how to handle the issues that occur.
Resignation acceptance letter template
You should always personalise your letter accepting resignation depending on the individual circumstances and the resignation letter you’ve received. However, you can use a basic template to begin building your letter.
Below we’ve outlined a business letter format you can use as part of your resignation process with all the formalities included:
Dear [employee name],
I formally acknowledge receipt of your resignation letter dated [date of employee’s resignation]
First, let me thank you for [include details of their contributions and any areas of excellence, such as an exceptional attendance record or positive attitude]. It has been a great pleasure working with you.
I can confirm your final day of work will be [date].
Your final payslip will be issued on [date].
Your total final pay, including owed holiday [and deductions], will be [£XXX.XX].
[Optional – if final pay includes any deductions] We'll be deducting money from your final pay for [reason for deduction of pay – for example, outstanding loans or cost of training].
Please return any company property to [name of line manager or department head] by [date]. This includes: [list what the employee needs to return, such as ID card, security pass, laptop, mobile phone, company car, and any other equipment supplied by the company].
[Optional – if there are projects underway that will need passing over] To ensure a smooth transition, please provide an information packet on all existing projects with [colleague name/line manager / department head]
If you need an employment reference, please contact [name of person or department to contact].
Thank you for all your work during your time at [Business or organisation name]. Good luck with your future endeavours. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you are looking for work in the future.
[Your job title]
Ideally, you should sign off the letter with a handwritten signature, to show you approve the message personally. If management writes the letter, they should sign it with their name.
Remember, it’s important to maintain a positive tone in your resignation acceptance letter. The letter shouldn’t be too formal or too informal. It’s important to recognise the employee’s contributions and appreciate them. While you can give ‘best regards’ and ‘best wishes’, it’s usually better to end with ‘yours sincerely’.
Finally, you can use a letter to address any issues that might occur in their absence—before they occur. Future assignments can be allocated via this letter to ensure continuity of service, for example.
Support with the resignation process
When you receive a resignation letter, you need to make sure you get the process right. It may not seem important as the employee is exiting the business, but the impact is far-reaching.
As an employer, getting the resignation right means boosting your company's reputation, and creating a positive culture for your workforce.
Get supporting writing a letter accepting the resignation. Receive expert legal advice from human resources experts. Or, let us write policies and processes for you. Just call 01455 858 132 to get support today.
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