We often get questions from employers hinging around employee resignations, such as “must it be in writing” or “can I accept it verbally?” “The employee resigned but now wants to withdraw his resignation – must I allow this?” And so on. In Quinn / Singlehurst Hydraulics (SA) Ltd [2005] 6 BALR 67


  • Employees are considered to have given notice of their intention to resign if they unambiguously inform their employers that they will terminate the contract on a certain date. Notice of intention to resign is a unilateral act which, once given, cannot be revoked without the consent of the other party
  • “Although the Basic Conditions of Employment Act requires such notice to be in writing, it does not in my view follow that a verbal notice of intention to resign has lost its common-law significance.’
  • However, in order to be binding, the notice of intention to resign must be clear, unambiguous, and unconditional: (Transport & Allied Workers Union & others v Natal Co-operative)
  • There is no requirement anywhere in labour legislation for such a procedure. When an employee submits a written resignation and to his employer – and e-mail constitutes a written resignation – there is no requirement for the employer to acknowledge receipt of the resignation, or to communicate with the employee on the matter.
  • The submission of the resignation constitutes a clear intention on the part of the employee to terminate the employment relationship. The employee does not have a legal entitlement to withdraw a resignation, and contrary to popular belief, a so-called ” cooling off period” does not exist.

Source: Resignations – what are the employers rights? | Labour Guide