If your employer says you've resigned

This advice applies to Wales. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Scotland

Your employer might say you’ve resigned if you walked out of work. For example, if you left after an argument but intended to go back.

You can ask your employer to give you your job back, but you’ll need to do it quickly.

Your employer is allowed to assume you’ve resigned if you:

  • used words like ‘I’m resigning’ or ‘I’m leaving my job’

  • handed in your keys, security pass or work equipment

  • gave them your resignation in writing

They don’t have to give you a ‘cooling off’ period or let you change your mind.

Your employer might also decide you’ve resigned if you:

  • walked out during a situation that was clearly very stressful or emotional

  • used words that were unclear, like ‘I’ve had enough of this’ or ‘I’m out of here’

  • went back to work once you’d calmed down

In these situations you’ll need to explain as quickly as possible that you weren’t resigning.

Talk to your employer

The sooner you talk to your employer, the more likely they are to consider giving you your job back. You can do it by phone or in person.

Explain why you think your employer should take you back. If you feel you didn’t actually resign, say so. Be polite and constructive - apologise for walking out if you need to.

If you don’t want to contact your manager directly, you might be able to speak to someone else - for example your HR department or another manager.

It’s a good idea to take notes of any conversations and write down everything while it’s fresh in your mind. This will mean you can easily refer back to it if you want to take legal action against your employer.

If your employer won’t let you come back

You could consider making an employment tribunal claim. If you win, the tribunal could order your employer to give you your job back or pay you compensation

Making a tribunal claim can be expensive and take a long time. Think carefully about whether you want to ask for your job back. If your employer made it clear they don’t want you working for them, it could be difficult to go back. It might be quicker and easier for you to look for another job. 

If you want to claim compensation, you’ll need to find out if the amount of compensation you could get would be worth it.

You can get help from your nearest Citizens Advice to find out if it’s worth making a tribunal claim.

You’re entitled to notice pay after you resign, so check your final payslip to make sure you’ve been paid everything you’re entitled to.

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