Just been offered a new job and can’t wait to start? Forced to relocate due to family commitments? No matter what your circumstances, resigning from your job can be tricky. This article outlines all the essential steps to ensure your resignation is legal and professional — and makes those final weeks a seamless transition into your new job.
1. Preparing to resign
Before rushing off to tell your colleagues about your career change or updating your Linkedin profile, take a step back and think through the process. Countries like Australia have strict employment laws so you want to make sure that everything you do is legal, while aiming for an amicable process.
In Australia, if you work under an employee award, registered agreement, or contract you may have to give notice to your employer. The notice period will be inline with the National Employment Standards (NES) and will be stated in the letter or contract issued when you first started your job.
It’s important to give the correct amount of notice (especially if you work under an award or agreement) because your employer can legally withhold some of your wages from your final pay to make up for the lost time.
If you are a casual or seasonal worker you probably won’t be required to give any notice, but it’s always good manners to give a bit of notice. Especially if you’ve already been rostered to work shifts.
Don’t give a notice date too far in advance or you might find your employer finishing you up earlier than you wanted.
Tidying up your work affairs
What would you do if your employer walks you to the door as soon as you give notice? It happens. Before you resign, tidy up your work affairs and make sure everything is in order — especially personal emails/files and any private passwords and logins.
Employers are legally entitled to ‘pay-you-out’ of your notice period. Which means instead of allowing you to work until your final day of service, your employer pays you for the entire notice period.
For example: Jane is working as an Admin Assistant to the sales team, she gives 2 weeks notice as required by her award. But upon receipt of her resignation Jane is accompanied to her desk by the HR Manager, asked to get her things and immediately surrender her laptop and keys. She is paid the full two weeks salary but her employment ends immediately.
2. Giving notice
Once you’re ready to resign make sure your boss is not the last to know. Prepare your resignation letter then make an appointment to resign in person.
Preparing your resignation letter
A resignation letter is a professional courtesy that eliminates confusion about your last day of service. Have your resignation letter prepared and printed in advance.
Your letter should be succinct stating only your:
- Intention to resign
- Final date of service
- Thanks for the opportunity
- Offer to assist during the transition period (optional but recommended).
There is no reason to state why you are leaving, and definitely don’t make a list of complaints or issues with other staff. We also recommend confirming your willingness to assist during any transitional period. Check out the sample below, it’s simple and says everything you need to say.
Sample resignation letter
18 June 2019
Ms Alexandra Smith
XYZ Company etc
Please accept my resignation from the position of Administration Assistant (Sales) effective 1 July 2019. This includes the courtesy notice period of 2 weeks as outlined in my employment agreement.
I want to thank the company for all the opportunities extended to me over the past 3 years, and wish you every success for the future.
You will find a folder in the SALESWORK directory which documents all open projects and the location of selected client information. If I can be of assistance during changeover please contact me on my private email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Give notice in person
It’s bad form to resign by email, text, or over the phone. Make an appointment to see the appropriate manager or supervisor and bring along your printed and signed resignation letter. Once in the meeting:
- State your intention to resign
- Confirm your last day of service
- Thank your employer for your job
- Give the resignation letter as confirmation
Every situation will be different, some employers might try to convince you to stay. Others will march you off to HR and start the debrief process. Whatever happens be professional and do your best to leave on the best possible terms.
TIP: We suggest remaining firm and not pushing back your notice date even if your employer tries to persuade you to stay on longer. Once you’ve made the decision to leave, staying motivated is always a challenge.
Tell your co-workers
After you’ve officially resigned to your boss you should notify your co-workers and wish them all the best too. Remember today’s assistant, trainee, or intern — in 2 years — might be running the very company you want as a customer, client, or business partner. Keep it nice and professional.
3. Working through your notice period
Once you’ve actually resigned and the news is out, those last couple of weeks can be just as awkward as the resignation meeting. Do your best to stay focused and finish up your work tasks.
Handing over open projects
Use your notice period to help your employer and workmates through a seamless changeover process. Document the location of files, contacts, and processes where necessary, and leave notes about the progress of open projects.
Cleaning out your desk
Don’t make the last impression of you a pile of dirty cups and food scraps at the back of the fridge. Leave a clean workspace and ensure your computer is cleared of personal data. Be remembered as someone who always did their job properly and the person they would hire or work with again in a heartbeat.