HR Tips Q2 2018 – What to do when a staff member resigns

In your capacity as a manager, it’s inevitable that your staff members will resign for a number of reasons. This quarter’s HR Tip will guide you through this process and set out your obligations in managing resignations.

What to do when a staff member resigns

When a staff member resigns from the University, they are required to provide you, as their supervisor, with written notice. This can be given using the University’s Resignation Advice Form or in another written form, like an email or a letter. To avoid any possible misunderstanding, you should not accept a verbal resignation. Ask your staff member to confirm a verbal resignation in an email.

Notice periods

When you receive your staff member’s written resignation, acknowledge it in writing and confirm the agreed finishing date. Although you may agree to a lesser or greater period, staff covered by the Enterprise Agreement are required to give you 2 to 12 weeks’ notice, depending on HEO level and length of service. These notice periods are set out in clause 6.1.3 of the Enterprise Agreement.

Nature of Employment Notice Required
Fixed-term academic staff on contracts of less than three (3) years duration 4 weeks
Fixed-term academic staff on contracts of three (3) or more years duration 12 weeks
Continuing academic staff/Research Appointments 12 weeks or the end of the teaching semester
Professional staff – HEO1 through to HEO6 2 weeks
Professional staff – HEO7 through to HEO9 4 weeks
Professional staff – HEO10 12 weeks
Professional staff – Senior Manager (Level 1 through to Level 3) As per the staff member’s contract of employment

If your staff member’s resignation letter/email is ambiguous or unclear, ask them to clarify their true intention. Don’t assume they have resigned if this is not clear.

What happens when a staff member wants to withdraw their resignation?

Generally, a staff member who resigns cannot, without your agreement, withdraw their resignation just because they have changed their mind. The exception is when the resignation is made in the heat of the moment. A resignation may be made in anger, in a compromised emotional state, or under pressure. If your staff member’s resignation is made in these circumstances, it is prudent to give them a reasonable period of time to consider their position and confirm the resignation to you when the situation has calmed down.

How do I process a resignation?

The first step is to either ensure this form is completed or obtain the relevant Head of School/ Branch’s acknowledgement of your email exchange with the staff member about their resignation. The next step is to submit this documentation to Human Resources no later than two weeks prior to the staff member’s final payday. By following these steps, you will ensure your staff member receives their correct final pay. Late submissions will result in overpayments, which are difficult to recover once a staff member has left the University and could result in related costs being charged to the School/Branch.

Exit surveys

Through a recent Human Resources initiative, all staff members leaving the University are now contacted via email and given the opportunity to answer relevant questions about their University experience via an exit survey tool, and optional follow up exit interview. Your staff member may also separately ask to meet you before they leave. Exit interviews, whether conducted personally or by the survey tool, give the University a valuable opportunity to learn from the experiences of staff who are leaving.

Who can I contact if I need help?

Your HR Advisor is here to assist you if have any questions or concerns when your staff member resigns. For help with general HR enquiries, the HR Service Centre is available to assist you on 831 31111 or email

Where can I find more HR Tips?

Click here to find more useful HR Tips!


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