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A Letter Of Resignation With Immediate Effect - Reasons and Next Steps?

A Letter Of Resignation With Immediate Effect - Reasons and Next Steps?

Resignation, in general, pertains to the act of leaving one's job or quitting one's position. In this context, it can also refer to a formal document or statement wherein it is stated that one is giving up their position.

While no law requires employee to give a two-weeks notice before leaving a position, it is somewhat of an unspoken agreement (and a professional courtesy) that employees should turn in their resignation letter at least two weeks before leaving their position. This will give the company time to find someone to potentially replace them. It will also give the outgoing employer a chance to hand over documents and teach the incoming worker everything they need to know about the job.

While resigning from a job means servicing a sufficient notice period, sometimes employees choose to leave their positions immediately, regardless of whether or not they have a notice period. In this situation, you might be presented with a resignation letter with immediate effect. 

Here, we’ll explore some reasons why employees leave with immediate effect and what to do. 

What is a Resignation Letter with Immediate Effect?

A resignation letter with immediate effect, also known as a no-notice resignation letter, is a formal document submitted by an employee expressing their intent to leave their position. Since they wish to leave immediately, they don’t intend to serve the notice period stipulated in the contract, if applicable. 

Not all contracts stipulate a formal notice period, but that doesn’t mean notice is negated entirely. Usually, the longer an employee remains at the business, the longer their notice period is. 

For example, in Singapore, employees that work with a company for 5 years or more have a 4-week notice period, even if there isn’t one written into the contract. 

Reasons Why Employees Resign Immediately

Understanding the motivations behind why employees write a resignation letter effective immediately can help HR professionals address the root cause. Analysing the motive behind an immediate resignation letter is vital for boosting retainment and enhancing the employee experience to prevent unexpected staff turnover. 

Here are some common reasons for immediate resignations:

Personal Reasons or Family Emergency

Sometimes, employees face unforeseen circumstances, personal crises or urgent family situations that demand their full attention. This can include the sudden illness of a family member, a death in the family, or other emergencies that make it impossible for the employee to continue working. 

In such cases, the employee may need to write an immediate resignation, which is entirely understandable and must be handled sensitively. 

Health Issues 

Employees may experience health issues of their own, either physical or mental. For instance, studies suggest that some 1/4 of people have quit their job due to mental health. This may be particularly common in high-pressure or high-stress roles. 

Untenable Work Situations

Even for businesses that do their honest best to prevent bullying, harassment and discrimination in any form, you can’t rule this out as a reason for resigning immediately. For instance, a UK study found that nearly a third of employees have been bullied at work. 

Examples of untenable work situations include persistent bullying, sexual harassment, or discriminatory treatment based on race, gender, religion, or other protected characteristics.

Unexpected Opportunities 

Sometimes, employees simply stumble upon a dream opportunity they can’t refuse. While losing valued team members is frustrating, sometimes life just happens. 

Legal Implications and Employer Rights

In many countries, employees have the right to leave their job immediately, and employers are obliged to support their choice, even if they file immediate resignation letters. For instance, in the UK, employers have to pay in lieu of notice (PILON), which means employees usually get paid salaries, benefits and holiday pay without having to work the standard notice period. 

Even if a notice period is specified, it can be waived by mutual consent between the employer and employee. However, despite “mutual consent” implying both have to agree, there’s little an employer can do in reality. 

However, in some cases, if an employee resigns without notice and the employer does not agree to waive the notice period, the employee may be required to provide compensation in lieu of notice. 

How HR Professionals Can Handle Immediate Resignations

When faced with a no-notice resignation, HR professionals should:

  • Review the employment contract and applicable labour laws to ensure compliance
  • Communicate with the departing employee to understand their reasons for leaving, especially in the case of immediate departure
  • Assess the immediate impact on the team and develop a plan to redistribute tasks or find temporary coverage
  • Conduct an exit interview to gather feedback for future reference and identify areas for improvement

Preventing Employees from Quitting without Notice

While some situations are unavoidable, to minimise the chances of employees leaving without notice, HR professionals should focus on the following:

  • Fostering a healthy and supportive work environment
  • Implementing policies and procedures to address employee concerns and grievances promptly
  • Offering competitive compensation and benefits packages
  • Providing opportunities for professional growth and development
  • Regularly conducting employee satisfaction surveys and addressing potential issues

Managing the Aftermath of an Immediate Resignation

Dealing with the repercussions of an immediate resignation can be challenging for HR professionals, especially if it’s unexpected or more than one employee resigns in a short space of time. 

Begin the Recruitment Process

Firstly, start the search for a new candidate as soon as possible to fill the vacant position following a formal resignation. 

This may involve posting job advertisements, contacting recruitment agencies, and leveraging professional networks. It's essential to expedite the hiring process to minimise the disruption caused by the employee's sudden departure.

Evaluate Onboarding

Then, assess the organisation's onboarding and training processes to identify areas for improvement. 

Consider implementing changes that can enhance employee engagement, satisfaction, and commitment from the outset. 

Communicate with Team Members

Open communication is crucial in the aftermath of an immediate resignation. 

Keep team members informed about the situation, including the steps to find a replacement and any changes in workload or responsibilities during the interim period. 

Encourage open dialogue, allowing employees to voice their concerns or ask questions. 

Addressing these concerns promptly and transparently can help maintain team morale and improve professional relationships, which may later prevent further resignations.

Reassess Workload Distribution

An immediate resignation can increase the workload for other team members. If this isn’t given careful attention, others may become disenchanted or demoralised. 

Evaluate the distribution of tasks and responsibilities, and identify areas where additional support may be needed. 

This typically involves reallocating tasks, providing temporary resources, or offering assistance from other departments. 

Preparing Your Organisation for Unexpected Departures

To better handle the challenges associated with no-notice resignations, an HR representative can:

  • Develop contingency plans for key roles within the organisation.
  • Implement cross-training initiatives to ensure multiple employees can handle essential tasks.
  • Establish clear communication channels for employees to express concerns or request support.


A resignation letter with immediate effect can surprise HR professionals, but employees should be listened to and given the benefit of the doubt for their decisions. 

By fostering a supportive work environment and proactively addressing employee concerns, HR professionals can minimise the risk of unexpected departures in the future. 

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