So, you’ve taken the plunge and have decided that you want to end the contract with your current employer. There are a range of reasons that you may have decided to leave: a new job, relocation, career change or maybe even you wish to take a break.

But what happens if you have a change of heart? Maybe that new job has fallen through or you’ve decided against moving away, but you’ve already handed in your resignation letter! What are your rights legally? Are you allowed to just change your mind?

First steps

Asking to have a resignation reversed can be daunting, but the most important thing to do is to speak to your manager as soon as possible.

In the meeting, you need to explain why it is that you want to retract your resignation and show that you are committed to the role at the company. Whatever your reasons behind the change of heart, be honest.

Does the employer have to accept a retraction?

The general rule is that once an employee has resigned, it cannot be reversed unless the employer agrees to it. There isn’t a legal obligation to accept a cancellation within a certain time-frame.

The only situation in which an employee may have a case, is if the resignation is done in the heat of the moment. For example, if you were to have a heated altercation with your manager which ended in you exclaiming “I quit!”.  In this case, employers are expected to give an employee a time frame to calm down and reconsider their resignation.

A tribunal may well find it to be unreasonable to accept an employee’s resignation in the heat of the moment. However, if the employee has had plenty of thinking time and it is far from a heat of the moment resignation, there is no obligation to accept a retraction.

Speak to an employment law specialist

If you need help in understanding your rights through the resignation process, contact our specialist employment team. For further advice use the telephone numbers below: