So what happens when you have made the decision to leave your job? You will need to start by handing in your letter of resignation of course. But how much notice should you give when resigning? For some reason this is still a commonly asked question by employees. Fortunately, we don’t need to guess, because the Basic Conditions of Employment Act 75 of 1997 (BCEA) has already answered this question for us in section 37.
Lets first take a quick look at exactly what the act states, then we can discuss it in some more detail.
How much notice should you give when resigning?
Section 37 of the BCEA states that
A contract of employment may be terminated on notice of not less than:
(a) one week, if the employee has been employed for six months or less;
(b) two weeks, if the employee has been employed for more than six months but not more than one year;
(c) four weeks, if the employee has been employed for one year or more, or if a farm worker or domestic worker has been employed for more than six months.
So from the above it immediately becomes obvious the absolute minimum period of notice an employee may give when resigning is one week. But what if the employer and employee would like to agree on a longer notice period? Well, this is absolutely fine, as long as the notice period is equal for both the employee and the employer. No agreement can be made where the employee must give the employer a longer notice period, but the employer is not required to give the employee a longer period.
A few extra points on handing in your resignation.
- Your resignation must be in writing. This is required by law. Your resignation letter should be well thought out and well written.
- Make sure that you are 100% sure you would like to resign. Don’t just hand in your resignation after a bad day. Remember that once your employer accepts your resignation they have no obligation to accept a withdrawal of the resignation if you change your mind.
- You cannot take leave during your notice period. But you are entitled to be paid out for any leave owed to you.
- If your employer decides that they do not want to serve your notice period, they still need to pay you for the notice period.
I hoped this has helped answer your question surrounding notice periods. If you are still deciding if you should resign or not maybe check out my article titled “13 great reasons to resign from your job.”