Resignation Letter / Farewell Notification

A. Letter of Resignation

This section deals with voluntary resignation initiated by an employee to terminate his / her employment relationship with his / her employer. For involuntary resignation by the employee (being forced out) or termination by the employer, please refer to the relevant sections under "Business" - "Human Resource / Employment".

You may wish to resign from a company due to different reasons (e.g. a change in your career journey, family reasons, or other individual circumstances). Nevertheless, the first and foremost thing for you to do before you resign is to check your notice period and other employment entitlements, which can be found in your employment contract or the employees' handbook / manual. The notice period starts when you send a written notice via email or formal letter that you would like to terminate the employment contract/relationship, and the period ends on your last day of work. You should know your entitlements and serve the full notice period if possible to avoid disputes.

Please also check whether any annual leaves that have not been taken would count towards your notice period and whether there are any requirements for garden leave and a non-compete clause. If you believe that the notice period or garden leave is unreasonable, you may want to consult a lawyer for local employment law advice. In any case, you can always negotiate with your employer for a shorter notice period if they have managed to find a suitable substitute. 

You may terminate the employment contract without notice or by payment in lieu of notice if:

1. you reasonably fear for your physical safety by violence or disease;

2. you are being mistreated or abused by your employer; or

3. you have been certified by a registered medical practitioner as being permanently unfit for the type of work that you are being engaged in.

A courteous resignation letter should sound as positive as possible, even if you are not happy with your job and are more than delighted to leave. It should be civil and express regret (but not anger or unhappiness) towards your previous employer. Harsh words in a letter of resignation can often come back and haunt you (e.g. if your future employer seeks a reference from your previous employer). You should keep it brief but include the following elements in your letter of resignation:

1. clearly state that you are resigning and the date you would like to leave (if it is shorter than the notice period, it is up for negotiation);

2. express that you appreciate the experience and help you have received (i.e. a statement of gratitude) and that you regret (if any) not having to continue to work together; and

3. provide assistance to the person who will be replacing you or take over your responsibilities on any unfinished work.

There may be special requirements after resignation to contact the relevant authorities for certain professions, such as resignation letters for teachers, medical professionals, and lawyers. Remember that it is a small world out there and you do not want to burn your bridges. It is always good to maintain a cordial relationship with your previous employer (no matter how much you dislike your previous job) for the purpose of good future references.  

B. Farewell Message

A farewell message/goodbye note is a notification to your colleagues, partners, customers, and other business associates that you are leaving. It is less formal than a resignation letter and probably more akin to a break-up letter. This is essential as the standard polite behaviour in the office.

The main purpose of a farewell letter is to (i) end your employment in the most positive way;  (ii) direct people on who to go to in your absence; and (iii) allow people to stay in touch with you. You may also receive personal messages and blessings from more friendly colleagues which will brighten up your day.  

You should include the following elements in your farewell message:

1. the date that you are leaving;

2. how much you appreciate the experience and help you have received (i.e. a statement of gratitude), and regret (if any) from not having to continue to work together;

3. the person who will be taking over your responsibilities / who people should go to if they need help in the future; and

4. your personal contact details (normally, your personal e-mail will be sufficient).


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