6 Things You Should Know When You Give Your Notice for Resignation

Preview Image
Date Created: 7 Aug 2020
Last Update: 25 Aug 2020




A brand-new job may be the answer for starting a fresh new life, but resigning from your current post may be a daunting task. After gaining loads of good friends and valuable experience, giving notice to your current employer might be the hardest, however inevitable, goodbye you have to say throughout your career path.


How you handle your resignation might bring an enduring impact on your career path. The working industry is surprisingly small, hence leaving on good terms is essential as to safeguard your reputation and prevent obstacles that might hinder your career progression. If you are a senior employee with access to clients or trade secrets, in addition to giving the usual notice period, you may also be asked to take a garden leave.


You never know what lies in your future and there is a chance where your colleagues’, superiors’, boss’ career path might cross with yours. You should aim to leave without bridges being burnt and the crux of doing so is professionalism.


Read the following article to learn about 6 professional tips you should know when you give your notice for resignation!


What is a Notice Period?


A Notice Period is the length of time between submitting your resignation letter and the end of your last working day. It starts when you submit a formal resignation letter indicating that you wish to terminate the employment relationship, via email or mail to your employer. It is essential for you to serve full notice period before your official departure or else you might be held legally accountable for any damages.


Giving Notice to your employer is important for both yourself and your employer, even if you do not have a job offer before your leave. It is unprofessional for you to leave your position swiftly and unexpectedly. Also, the employer can proceed to find suitable replacements during your notice period and suffer from less hindrance of operations when your resignation takes effect.

How Much Notice Do I have to Give to Leave My Job?

You should definitely read your Employment Contract or your company’s Employees’ handbook to check the required notice period and other entitlements to avoid possible disputes between you and your employer.


It is common practice to make the amount of notice clear in Employment Contracts and such notice period must not be less than 7 days. You are required to strictly adhere with such requirements or else it might amount to a breach of contract.


Even though your contract did not expressly stipulate a period of time regarding the notice period you should serve, there is a legal minimum regarding the minimum duration of the notice period. The legal minimum is different for different jurisdictions.

    • United Kingdom 

      The relevant statutory provision is the Employment Rights Act 1996. The legal requirement of the notice period is summarised below.


      Employment Condition

      Notice Period

      Less than 1 month

      Not required

      Employed between 1 month and 2 years

      Not less than 1 week

      Employed between 2 and 12 years

      Not less than 1 week’s notice for each year with a maximum of 12 weeks

      Employed for 12 years or more

      Not less than 12 weeks


      When the notice period is not expressly stated in the Employment Contract and Employee’s Handbook, Common Law notice applies where a reasonable length of notice will be implied into the contract of employment.

    • Australia 

      The relevant statutory provision is The Fair Work Act 2009.


      If the Employment Contract is silent about the agreed notice period, the employee might need to give reasonable notice. However, an award and agreement free employee does not have to give notice to their employer before resigning if their Employment Contract is silent about the agreed notice period.

    • Hong Kong 

      The relevant statutory provision is the Employment Ordinance (Cap. 57). The legal requirement of the notice period is summarised below.


      Employment Condition

      Notice Period

      Within 1st Month of Probation

      Not required

      After 1st Month of Probation

      Not less than 7 days

      After Probation Period

      Not less than 1 month


      Nevertheless, you may resign without any notice or payment in lieu of notice if:

      • You reasonably fear for your physical safety by violence or disease;

      • You are being mistreated or abused by your employer; or

      • You have been employed for not less than five years and is certified by a registered medical practitioner or a registered Chinese medicine practitioner as being permanently unfit for the type you are being engaged.

Can I Take Holiday During my Notice Period?

Normally, you would be entitled to full normal pay and entitlements during your notice period. However, the rules regarding taking holidays during notice period vary between jurisdictions. To avoid disputes, you are highly recommended to consult the Human Resources Department of your company or your superiors before going on holidays. 

    • United Kingdom

      Employees are allowed to take all unused statutory annual leave. However, the exact number of dates the employee is allowed to take depends on the number of holidays they have accrued each month and how much of the holiday year has passed. If an employee has not taken their full annual leave entitlement, the employer can only reject their request to go on a holiday for valid business reasons.

    • Australia 

      Employees are allowed to take annual leave during their notice period if they have their employer’s consent.

    • Hong Kong 

      Employees are usually not allowed to take annual leave during their notice period as they are not included in the length of notice required to terminate a contract of employment under the Employment Ordinance. However, the Court of Final Appeal held that such restriction does not apply when an employee resigns and an employee who chooses to resign from his/her job may take annual leave during his/her notice period. Nevertheless, the final interpretation rests with the court. You should consider the requirements of the law and the ruling of the Court of Final Appeal before you take annual leave during your notice period.

Why is it so Important to Check my Employment Contract and Employees' Handbook?

The very last thing you would want to get out of your employment is definitely unnecessary legal obligations. Things can go really bad if your previous employer decides to sue you for any accidental breaches of terms and conditions in your Employment Contracts and your company’s Employees’ Handbook - not only will bridges be burnt, but you will also suffer from severe monetary loss as well.


Hence, it is very important for you to check your Employment Contract and Employees’ Handbook before you submit your resignation. Other than checking on the length of the required notice period and your entitlements, you should also check whether there are any requirements for garden leave and non-compete clauses


For an example of an Employment Contract, please refer to:



For an example of an Employees’ Handbook, please refer to:


What is Garden Leave?

Garden leave describes the situation when your employer requires you not to work on the company’s premises during the time period of your job transition. This is common for senior employees with access to sensitive proprietary or client information when they resign, who is under disciplinary action or made redundant from their posts. Usually, this is a paid leave and the employee is required to sit out until the Garden Leave period expires before starting the new job.

When are you Required to take Garden Leave?

You may be required to take Garden Leave under two situations: (a) there is a Garden Leave Clause on your Employment Contract, or (b) if a Garden Leave Clause is not included in your Employment Contract, your employer may only require you to go on a Garden Leave with your consent.


Garden Leave Clauses are often included in Employment Contracts as it is a common and popular strategic protectionist measure to prevent potential damaging acts from employees who have terminated their employment.


They are popular within senior members’ employment contracts as senior members have greater access to their company’s confidential information and trade secrets. Hence, more capable to harm the company’s business interests.


During your Garden Leave, you will be confined from working in the office area and be required to work from home or any other places. You will be kept away from your clients, colleagues, confidential information and trade secrets of your company. Although you are entitled to all the standard pay and entitlements stated in your Employment Contract, going on a Garden Leave is different from going on a paid leave – you still have to be on standby and perform your job duties in case your employer requires you to do so. Although in real life employees being placed on Garden Leave are rarely given any actual job duties.

Non-Compete Clauses

A Non-Compete Clause is a common post-termination restrictive covenant for senior members of companies. Such clauses restrict your freedom of choice of work by stating that you are not allowed to work for a competitor or business with similar nature of your previous company, and you are not allowed to contact your clients for a stipulated period of time. The specific restrictions and period of time vary for each Employment Contract, so you must read these clauses carefully before you leave your job to avoid unnecessary disputes.


For an example of a non-compete and non-solicitation agreement for employment, please refer to:



Jurisdictions such as the United Kingdom, Australia and Hong Kong adopted a similar approach in determining whether a Non-Compete Clause is enforceable. Courts will only enforce clauses which are designed to protect a “legitimate business interest” and are reasonable.


Also, such clauses rarely exceed 12 months in most common law jurisdictions. If the Court finds the Non-Competitive Clause unreasonable with the approach set out above, it has the flexibility to rule it as unenforceable or to sever certain parts of the clause rendering it enforceable in a legal sense.

What Should I Include in My Resignation Letter?

A resignation letter is an official and formal document that indicates your intention to end your current employment. It is a matter of professional courtesy for you to submit a resignation letter to your employer as a formal notice when you decide to leave. It also serves as a record for the company to calculate your required notice period and entitlements.


There are no specific requirements for writing a resignation letter, but you might want to play safe by consulting your superiors or the Human Resources Department of your company to learn more about whether there are any specific requirements for writing a resignation letter. The key to writing a professional Resignation Letter is to keep everything polite, simple and direct.


The following table summarises Dos and Don’ts for writing a resignation letter: 




·      Clearly state that you are resigning and the expected leaving date.


·      Clearly state the position you are resigning from and the company’s name.


·      Include a statement of gratitude: explain how thankful you are for the Company and regrets for not being able to work together anymore.


·      Give a simple reason for your leave.


·      Offer assistance for training your successor and finishing your current projects.


·      Sound as positively as possible even you are dissatisfied with your job and can’t wait to leave.


·      Sign your resignation letter.


·   Don’t be vague about your resignation. Include a clear statement for that.


·      Don’t get emotional and criticise your colleagues, superiors and the company.


·   Don’t include a lengthy reason for your resignation. A brief explanation will suffice.


·   Don’t include inappropriate language or make sarcastic comments. Keep it formal.



Not sure what to say? Follow our resignation letters templates!


Reasons of Resignation/ Condition


New Opportunity


Personal Reasons






Leaving on good terms


Lack of Opportunity



There might be specific requirements for the resignation of certain professions such as doctors, teachers, lawyers, etc. Take a look at the following link for a resignation letter template for professionals:


Resignation Letter to Employer - Teacher



If you are leaving on good terms with your employer and you believe he/she knows you well and will give you a strong endorsement, you might consider asking for a reference by submitting an additional letter to that particular superior or acquittance of yours.


Some templates are attached below for your reference:


An applicant seeking Reference Letter


Applicant seeking Referee



What Happens After I Submitted My Resignation Letter?

Once the difficult part is done, you might feel both excited to start your new career and disengaged as you are less involved in your old duties. You are still stuck in your original office not being required to attend meetings, not involved in new projects – everything seems so unrelated to you and the notice period almost feels like an inevitable inconvenience.


However, you must remember that you are serving your notice period and not having a vacation. Being less involved is not an excuse for being unproductive and unprofessional as your performance during your notice period may leave a lasting impression on your colleagues and your superiors, and can strongly influence the kind of reference you receive in the future.


The key is still professionalism – give 100% of what you can give to preserve the professional relationship and you will leave with a nice reputation as a responsible employee.


During the period of your last days in the company, your superiors and the Human Resources Department of your company might arrange an exit interview with you to have a formal occasion to discuss your experience in the company.


You should also make sure to tie up loose ties by handing over your duties to your successors and colleagues. You can also take the opportunity to say goodbye to your fellow colleagues by sending them a farewell message.


Exit Interview

Arranging a formal exit interview for leaving employees is typical practice for a number of companies. Exit interviews are important as it provides a channel for the company to have a deeper insight into their workplace culture and business operations from another perspective. Companies can evaluate the overall employee experience and identify solutions to make improvements or necessary changes with reference to feedback from former employees.


During your exit interview, you might be asked about more details regarding the reason for your leave, how you feel about your colleagues and superiors, how the company can improve, etc. The key to demonstrating professionalism during an exit interview is to balance between truth and tact.


Avoid ranting or getting overly emotional during the interview session as it might jeopardise the chances of you leaving without burning bridges. Instead of providing uncorroborated opinions, for example, gossiping about your former colleagues and superiors, you should provide constructive criticism which can actually help the company to improve.



You should conduct a proper handover process to ensure a smooth and streamlined transition after your leave becomes effective. Although you are not legally required to do so, tying up loose ends brings benefits to both you and your employer. Having exited employers handing their work to their successor will assist the new member to settle into their position quicker and easier, which will cause fewer disruptions to the company’s operation.


It might be your final opportunity to make a decent impression as a responsible employee. In addition, having all things well explained is also being respectful to your colleagues because they will likely be bearing extra workload after your leave.


To perform a decent handover, you should (i) assist the company in training your successor, (ii) delegate incomplete tasks to your colleagues and inform them with sufficient details about the project; and (iii) contact your clients to inform them of your leave and advise them upon who they should contact after your leave.


You should also draft a comprehensive handover note for your successor and colleagues to provide them with in-depth information about the company and/or the work you have delegated to them. Here are some elements that you should include in your handover note:

  • Description of your daily tasks;
  • Project deadlines;
  • Contact details of clients, superiors, colleagues;
  • Login usernames and passwords; and
  • Housekeeping matters.


If you are unsure about how to draft a handover note and what to include, you may use the template below:



Farewell Messages

Farewell messages to colleagues, business partners, superiors and clients are extremely important as they can be the key for you to extend and strengthen your professional network.


A farewell message is a notification to your colleagues, superiors and clients that you are leaving the company. It is an essential step that is standard polite behaviour and it ends your employment in the most positive way. Leaving a positive note is the least awkward way to say goodbye to your previous colleagues and partners.


It is also a good way to preserve positive and professional relationships with people who can benefit your career progression in the near future in your network of contacts. As said above – the world is smaller than you think and you never know who can help in the future.


You should send your farewell messages to everyone you have had interaction with throughout your time of employment. If you are working in a big company, you might feel it is awkward and unnecessary to send farewell messages to staff that you have never spoken to before. Nevertheless, you should at least send your goodbyes within your department and those you have collaborated with on specific occasions.


You should send your farewell messages after you submit your resignation letter, and before the date of your formal resignation. You may consider sending them a week before your official leaving date to provide sufficient time for your colleagues to react.


Dos and Don’ts in composing a farewell message:




  • Maintain a positive tone throughout the whole message

  • Include the date of your formal resignation

  • Include personal contact details (email, phone number, LinkedIn)

  • Express your gratitude for your colleagues' support and the pleasant memories you have had with them

  • Thank your superiors for being your mentor and providing you with assistance throughout your employment

  • Direct people on who to go to in your absence


  • Boast about your new job and giving excessive details about it

  • Speak negatively about your superiors and the company















Not sure what to say? Follow our farewell message templates!


Reason of Resignation




Change of Job


Transfer to city/ department


General - Brief Message


General - Detailed Message



Please note that this is just a general summary about notice for resignation under common law and does not constitute legal advice. As the laws of each jurisdiction may be different, you may want to speak to your legal adviser. 


What Is A Notice Period


What Is Garden Leave




Resignation Letter


Farewell Messages


Share this Post