Can You Resign Immediately From Your Job?
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Can you resign immediately from your job? There are several causes why workers leave their employment or abandon their occupations. Some might have found a more advantageous position with a different company. Others desire to research different industries or occupations. A select few folks only want a break, while others are unhappy with their job.

However, most of the time, it isn’t a question of why you are resigning as you for sure you’ve already made up your mind. You’re probably more focused on finding a method to leave your position immediately, if at all possible. In this manner, nothing can prevent you from moving forward. But there are a lot of questions that you wish there is a straightforward answer to avoid any complications.

Grace period after tender of resignation

Should you render for 30 days or should you assert immediate resignation? Is there any way you can shorten the effectivity of your resignation? What happens when you fail to complete the 30-day period? How much will you be getting after you resign? For sure, there are tons of questions on your mind but let us address crucial points so you can exit the company gracefully.

Let us start by defining the term resignation. Resignation is “the voluntary act of an employee who finds himself in a situation where he believes that personnel reasons cannot be sacrificed in favor of the exigency of the service, then he has no other choice but to disassociate himself from his employment.”[1]Intertrod Maritime, Inc. vs. NLRC, G.R. No. 81087, June 19, 1991, 198 SCRA 318, [1991] citing Dosch vs. NLRC 123 SCRA 296 [1983]

In the context of Section II, Rule XIV, Book V of the Revised Rules Implementing the Labor code, resignation is a formal pronouncement or relinquishment of an office. It must be made with the intention of relinquishing the office accompanied by an act of relinquishment.[2]Magtoto vs. NLRC, 140 SCRA 58, 71 [1985]

Can you resign immediately?

Does resigning with immediate effect even exist? Is it possible for a worker to quit right away? Although you are within your rights to resign as an employee, the straightforward answer is no. The labor code acknowledges that an employee has the right to resign whenever he so chooses.

The constitutional rule that no one should be forced into involuntary servitude is in line with this which is a concept of slavery. Every employee has the right to leave at any moment. The law states that there is a proper way to resign, despite the fact that employees have the right to do so. While there can be an immediate resignation from job, the same must be done in accordance with law.

Can you resign effective immediately?

Employees who are quitting must give their company 30 days’ notice before leaving. Neither the employers nor the employees are obligated to do this. Employees are required by law to remain for a minimum of 30 days prior to their termination date.

According to the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) 30-day notice requirement for voluntary resignations in the Philippines, employees must provide their employers 30 days’ notice before leaving their positions.

Liability for damages

To reiterate, Article 285 of Presidential Decree 442, as amended, otherwise known as the Labor Code  of the Philippines, states that an employee may terminate without just cause the employee-employer relationship by serving a written notice on the employer at least one (1) month in advance.

The employer upon whom no such notice was served may hold the employee liable for damages. This will allow the employers to receive the proper turnover of pending work from the resigning employee and distribute it to other workers, find and train a replacement, and check if there are pending liabilities and process the clearance of the employee.

Benefit of the employer

It was discussed in a Supreme Court decision that, “the 30-day notice requirement for an employee’s resignation is for the benefit of the employer in order to afford the him enough time to hire another employee if needed and to see to it that there is proper turn-over of the tasks which the resigning employee may be handling.[3]Hechanova vs. Matorre, G.R. No. 198261, 16 October 2013

Is the 30-day notice absolute?

The Labor Code[4]Article 300 [b], Labor Code, as amended of the Philippines provides that: An employee may put an end to the relationship without serving any notice on the employer for any of the following just causes:[5]Id.

  1. Serious insult by the employer or his representative on the honor and person of the employee;[6]Id.
  2. Inhuman and unbearable treatment accorded the employee by the employer or his representative;
  3. [7]Id.
  4. Commission of a crime or offense by the employer or his representative against the person of the employee or any of the immediate members of his family; and[8]Id.
  5. Other causes analogous to any of the foregoing.[9]Id.

The rule requiring an employee to stay or complete the 30-day period prior to the effectivity of his resignation becomes discretionary on the part of management as an employee who intends to resign may be allowed a shorter period before his resignation becomes effective.[10]II C.A. Azucena, Jr., The Labor Code with Comments and Cases, 888 [2007, 6th ed.]

There is no such thing as immediate resignation because this concept is left to the discretion of the employer and not with the employee. The management may waive it as they see fit.

However, if the employee is leaving for legitimate reasons or with just cause, he or she not required to serve resignation notice to his employer.

What happens if the employee fails to comply with the 30-day period prior to the effective date of the resignation?

The Labor Code of the Philippines provides that the employer upon whom no such notice was served may hold the employee liable for damages.[11]Article 300 [a], Labor Code, as amended

For instance, an employee failed to render the 30 day notice and just left resulting to company losses in sales due to staffing gaps. An employer may file for damages as may be deemed necessary.

How do you count the 30 days for purposes of resignation?

It may be an odd question but for purposes of addressing the technicalities of the resignation, let us discuss briefly when is the end of 30 day notice? The rule is, first day out, last day in. For instance, you submitted your resignation on January 1, the effectivity will be on January 31. Simply speaking, on the day of submission of your resignation letter, you add 30 days for your resignation to be effective.

May an employee withdraw or rescind the resignation?

Resignations, once accepted and being the sole act of the employee, may not be withdrawn without the consent of the employer. Once an employee resigns and his resignation is accepted, he no longer has any right to the job.[12]Intertrod Maritime, Inc. vs. NLRC, Supra.

If the employee later changes his mind, he must ask for approval of the withdrawal of his resignation from his employer, as if he were re-applying for the job. It will then be up to the employer to determine whether or not his service would be continued. If the employer accepts said withdrawal, the employee retains his job.[13]Ibid.

If the employer does not, as in this case, the employee cannot claim illegal dismissal for the employer has the right to determine who his employees will be. To say that an employee who has resigned is illegally dismissed, is to encroach upon the right of employers to hire persons who will be of service to them.[14]Ibid.

Is the employee entitled to separation pay when he or she voluntarily resigns?

No. An employee who voluntarily resigns from the company is not entitled to a separation pay. It is a painful reality on the part of the employee, but it is what it is. To reiterate the ruling of the Supreme Court in BMG Recors vs. Aparecio,[15]G.R. No. 153290, September 5, 2007, finds application. Thus

“Resignation is the voluntary act of an employee who is in a situation where one believes that personal reasons cannot be sacrificed in favor of the exigency of the service, and one has no other choice but to dissociate oneself from employment. It is a formal pronouncement or relinquishment of an office, with the intention of relinquishing the office accompanied by the act of relinquishment. As the intent to relinquish must concur with the overt act of relinquishment, the acts of the employee before and after the alleged resignation must be considered in determining whether in fact, he or she intended to sever from his or her employment.”[16]Ibid.

The employer is not obligated to provide more than what is necessary by law because this is an act of free will on the part of the employee. A resigning employee is therefore entitled to his final salary for work performed, prorated thirteenth month pay, and monetization of unused service incentive leaves under the law.

It is important to note that the Labor Code does not contain a clause granting separation pay or compensation to employees who willingly depart or voluntarily resign. Only when the following factors led to the termination of the employment such separation pay may be given:

(a) installation of labor saving devices,

(b) redundancy,

(c) retrenchment,

(d) closing or cessation of business operations,

(e) employee’s illness or disease and prolonged employment is detrimental to him or his co-workers, or

(f) when a worker is wrongfully terminated yet reinstatement is no longer possible for cause such as but not limited to strained relations.

In fact, the rule is that an employee who voluntarily resigns from employment is not entitled to separation pay, except when it is stipulated in the employment contract or CBA, or it is sanctioned by established employer practice or policy.[17]CJC Trading Inc. vs. National Labor Relations Commission, G.R. No. 115884, July 20, 1995; Philippine Overseas Drilling and Oil Development Corporation vs. Estrella, G.R. No. 55703, November 27, 1986, … Continue reading

Generally, separation pay need not be paid to an employee who voluntarily resigns. However, an employer who agrees to expend such benefit as an incident of the resignation should not be allowed to renege in the performance of such commitment.[18]Alfaro vs. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 140812, August 28 2001

But why is that? The “cause” or “impetus” of the termination makes the biggest difference. It was the employee who made the first move, and they were not coerced into it by their employer or the conditions. The resigning employee made this decision on their own, and as a result, they disqualified themselves from the group of people who are eligible for separation pay.

Graceful exit

People come and go. Yet, when you leave, leave peacefully and professionally whatever the circumstances may be. There is a process. It must be observed and followed. The procedure in the Philippines is simple. While the circumstances vary and we may tend to be emotional or sometimes violated, we still must think better and decide rightfully.

There are various reasons why an employee resigns voluntarily. May it me career growth, looking for a higher pay, different work environment, company culture, or work-life balance. But most of us agree that the management is a big factor why people leave. It can be due to lack of recognition, training opportunities, or a conflict with your boss.

Whatever your reason may be, do yourself a favor. Exit gracefully. Keep a good reputation in your industry. It is also good to note to check your employment contract or your company policy to ensure that you are doing it right and you are respecting the process.

No matter how difficult the conversation is, you have to face it and even thank your employer for the opportunities they afforded. It may be a good opportunity to haggle to shorten your resignation period. That is good a tip!  It is a small world after all. Do not burn bridges.

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RALB Law | RABR & Associates Law Firm

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