What to do when an employee resigns

February 6th, 2014, Published in Articles: Vector


Resignation is different from a mutual separation agreement where the employer and employee agree to end the employment relationship. It is also different from dismissal of an

employee due to misconduct, capacity or operational requirements, among others.

Points to consider when dealing with resignation:

  • When your employee resigns, you should accept his resignation in writing, a good idea for record purposes. Not doing this, however, does not invalidate the resignation.
  • Resignations will trigger the end of the employment contract immediately or at the end of the notice period, depending on what is acceptable to the employer.
  • There may be circumstances where employees resign “in the heat of the moment” and unintentionally. In such cases, the employer may allow the employee to retract his resignation.
  • An employer cannot unilaterally withdraw acceptance of an employee’s resignation.
  • As a requirement of the Basic Condtions of Employment Act (BCEA), the employer must give the employee a Certificate of Service when he resigns, and all outstanding leave pay must be paid to him.

When an employee resigns, he must work out his notice period according to the employment contract or to what the law dictates. This allows the employer to find a suitable replacement.

If an employee resigns and wants to start his new job immediately, the employer may agree to waive the notice period. Notice pay is payable to the employee if the employer waives the notice or any part thereof.

The employer may not want the employee to work the notice period in cases involving sabotage, for instance. In such instances the employer may ask the employee to work from home or not to work at all. The notice pay is still, however, payable to the employee.

The only instance where notice pay is not payable is when the employee resigns without giving notice by law or in terms of the employment contract.

What to pay on resignation

When the employee resigns, he is entitled to termination pay in the form of notice pay and leave pay. Remember, notice pay is only payable when the employee works the notice period or where the employer agrees that the employee does not have to work the notice period.

Notice pay is not payable when the employee leaves without giving notice.

Over and above notice pay, termination pay is payable in the form of either outstanding salary, commission or overtime where applicable and pension or provident fund payouts.

The employee who resigns must return all company property in his possession.

Shantonette Pillay, regional director, KwaZulu-Natal

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