Handling employee resignation and notice periods in Ireland

From time to time, an employee resigns to pursue a career outside of the business. In most instances, they give full contractual notice of their resignation.

However, an employee occasionally resigns in the heat of the moment. Quitting a job with no notice given doesn’t exactly follow the typical resignation process…

Whether an employee submits a resignation letter or rage quits their job, it’s important to handle the situation properly and ensure correct notice periods are applied.

What does resignation mean?

Resignation is the act of an employee (in written or verbal form) informing their employer that they’re leaving the business. The employment relationships can end in several ways, including:

  • An employee gives you their notice of resignation by speaking with you or handing in a letter of resignation.
  • If your business ends the contract of employment—that’s a dismissal.
  • When an employee reaches a justifiable contractual retirement age.

A resigning employee will also need to complete a notice period once they’ve informed you of their intention. During this period, you can look to hire a replacement or promote another employee to the role. It’s also worth noting that you can pay the employee to not work their notice period. This is called payment in lieu of notice (PILON).

Notice periods in Ireland

Notice periods in Ireland vary by each employee’s contract of employment and the time an employee has spent with a business. There are, however, two types of notice to keep in mind:

  • Contractual notice: Your business can determine this amount. For instance, two months’ notice may be required for an employee who has worked with your business for two years.
  • Statutory notice: This is what is legally expected of an employee. This will depend on their length of service.

If an employee has worked at least 13 weeks for your business, they must give you at least one week’s notice of their intention to resign. However, one week’s notice is generally too little time to arrange a replacement. This underlines the value of an appropriate contractual notice period that works for your business.

What should you do when an employee resigns?

When an employee notifies you of their intention to resign, you might try to convince them to stay. It’s only natural to want to retain an employee if they’re one of your top performers.

If, however, you accept the resignation, there are several steps to follow:

  • Get it in writing: Written confirmation, which must include the employee’s name, the date, and a signature, is important. You should receive a resignation letter for even a short period of employment.
  • Respond to the resignation: Acknowledge your acceptance of the resignation with a written and verbal response. You can also send a resignation email with the notice period confirmed.
  • Decide on the notice period: Do you want the employee to work their full notice period? Confirm your decision with the departing employee.
  • Handover pack: A handover pack will come in handy when their replacement arrives.
  • Exit interview: Arrange and conduct an exit interview. This will help you better understand their reasons for resigning and allow you to make improvements where needed.
  • Retrieve business property: Retrieve any important items from the departing employee. These items could include security passes, tools, computers, devices, or their uniform.

You must also arrange the employee’s final wage payment. Failing to do so, even for someone leaving your business, can result in a Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) claim.

Lastly, try to end your professional relationship with the employee on a positive note. After all, they may one day return to work for your business.

Need expert help handling resignations?

For further advice on handling resignations, speak to one of our HR consultants now on 01 886 0350 or request a callback here.

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