Resigning or handing in your notice

A resignation is when you formally tell your employer that you are leaving your job. You can resign verbally, but resigning in writing is more formal and creates a record of your resignation. Your employment contract will usually explain how you should resign.

When you write your resignation include how much notice you are giving and when your last day at work will be.

Taking back your resignation

If you have given your resignation as you are required to by your contract, you cannot take it back unless your contract makes this possible or your employer agrees.

If you say you wish to resign, for example, during a dispute with your employer, then this may be taken as a resignation. If you do not want to resign you should tell your employer as soon as possible.

Your notice period

How much notice you must give will usually be stated in your contract. If it is not stated you need to give one week’s notice if you have worked for your employer for more than one month.

You will usually be required to work during your notice period. You will be paid for this work in the usual way.

Garden leave

‘Garden leave’ is when your employer does not want you to come into work but they do want you to remain employed under the terms of your contract. You should still be paid while on garden leave.

Payment in lieu of notice

Your employer may want to end your employment contract immediately. They will still have to pay you for your notice period. This is known as “payment in lieu of notice”.

Forced resignation

If you feel you have been forced to resign then you may be able to claim constructive unfair dismissal. Not being paid, being demoted without reason, being discriminated against or being forced to work in dangerous conditions may all be grounds for constructive dismissal.

Read more about dismissal.

If you are resigning for a reason that could qualify as a reason for constructive dismissal then you should give this reason as part of your resignation to support your claims in any future employment tribunal. Strict time limits (usually three months less one day from the date that your contract of employment terminated although in Northern Ireland this is usually three months exactly – with the exception of claims for disability discrimination) apply when bringing claims to the employment tribunal. Contact your UNISON rep immediately if you are considering such a claim.

Read more about employment tribunals.

Your final pay

Your final pay should include:

  • your usual wages;
  • any bonuses or overtime still due;
  • pay in lieu for any annual leave you have not taken.

Your employer may deduct money that has been given to you for loans.

Getting your P45

Your employer must give you a P45 tax form after your final payment. You will need to give the P45 to your next employer.

Key facts
  • To leave your job you need to formally resign. Your resignation should be written and clearly state your notice period and your last day at work.
  • You must formally resign if you want to leave your job.
  • It is good practice to put your resignation in writing and to state how much notice you are giving and your last day at work.
  • Your employer must pay you for your notice period.



  • Can I claim jobseeker’s allowance if I resign?

    If you resign voluntarily without “just cause” you cannot usually claim jobseeker’s allowance for at least 26 weeks. You may be able to appeal to get jobseeker’s allowance earlier if you have a good reason for your resignation (such as health problems). If you feel you have been forced to resign and have a case for constructive dismissal you should tell your Job Centre adviser.

  • Can my employer reject my resignation?

    No. If you resign according to the terms in your employment contract then your employer cannot reject your resignation.

  • Do I have to give a reason for my resignation?

    No, you do not have to give a reason for your resignation. If you think you are being forced to resign you should give the reason in your resignation letter. If you do not, you will find it very difficult to make a case for constructive dismissal.

  • How much notice must I give?

    You must give the amount of notice stated in your contract. If there is nothing in your contract and you have been working for your employer for longer than a month you must give one week’s notice.