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Effective notice of resignation of employment in Nigeria

Effective notice of resignation of employment in Nigeria

An employer and employee have the right to terminate a contract of employment in line with the terms and conditions of the contract of employment and relevant provisions of the law. Where an employee is initiating the termination of a contract of employment, the employee is expected to give a notice of resignation of employment.

This article contributes to public education on effective notice of resignation of employment in Nigeria.

What is a notice of resignation of employment?

Notice of resignation of employment is “a notice” by an employee to an employer that the employee is no longer willing to continue his or her employment with an employer. This definition and a conjunctive reading of each word in ‘’Notice of Resignation of Employment’’ presents no ambiguity. Several judgments of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, and Section 11 of the Nigerian Labour Act recognize notice of resignation of employment.

A notice of resignation of employment maybe a letter, email, and any known official means of correspondence.

What to write in a notice of resignation of employment.

There is no legal universal expected form or content of a notice of resignation of employment. However, it is expected and sacrosanct that it must be dated and contain the employee’s last expected date at work. It must have the name, designation and address of the person it is been written to, a header, and the content.

The content could be a simple sentence informing the employer of intention to leave the employment on a certain date. It would also have a concluding part like a thank you and the name of the employee, employment details like staff number, department, designation, and signed.

Where it is absolutely necessary, the employee can use the notice to set the record straight on some issues, expectations, outstanding obligations, gratuity, commitment etc.

What not to write in a notice of resignation of employment.

However, it is the author’s opinion that the notice of resignation of employment should be brief, straight to the point as to its intent strictly, and limited to what it is. Any other important issues arising from before or in the course of the resignation, and employment should be addressed under a different letter.

Some notice of resignation of employment have ended up like a pity or apology letter and worked against the employee in court. The notice of resignation of employment should be treated to be what it is, “a notice”.

What is the effective date of a notice of resignation of employment?

Some employers and employees mistake the date of the notice as the effective date. For instance, a notice written and dated October 1, 2020. Some employers and employees misconceive the notice takes effect on the October 1, 2020.

Some employees would also signify on the notice when the notice is to take effect. For instance, the employee is giving two months’ notice of resignation of employment. It is common to see a notice dated October 1, 2020. In the notice the employee would write, ‘’Please, take note that the notice takes effect from October 30, 2020 to January 1, 2021. While the said notice was received probably October 2, 2020 by the employer.

The most acceptable case with judicial authorities like WAEC v. Oshionebo (2006) 12 NWLR (Pt. 994) 258 CA is that a notice dated October 1, 2020 giving two months’ notice for instance, which would be January 1, 2020. It becomes effective the day it is received or comes to the notice of the employer or its agent, not from the date of the notice or from the date of any purported acceptance.

For instance, where the notice was received and acknowledged on the October 2, 2020, the two months’ notice starts counting from October 2, 2020. Once the required two months is adequate, and there is a clear date of the last working date of the employee in the notice, the notice is equally good.

Read also: How to command loyalty of employees, investors, buyers or anything else

Effect of a good notice

The effect of a good notice is that the employment contract ceases. The employee is no longer in the employment of the employer. All benefits due between the employer and employee must be settled on or before the due date on the notice. By Jombo v. PEFMB (2005) 14 NWLR (Pt. 945) 443 SC, the employee cannot be subjected to any administrative or operations i.e invitation to panels, screening, queries, dismissal etc of the employer.

Where notice is not adequate or good

There is a likelihood that an employee may resign and the notice is not adequate or good. What this means is that the number of days given by the employee is less the number of days the employee is expected to give the employer.

By Imongan Patience Isevbeta v. NIMC, NICN ABJ/91/2022, resignation is not invalid if the employee does not give proper notice. It simply creates a breach of contract of employment and claim for damages simpliciter by the employer against the employee and not to hold on to employee as still under its employment.

Adekola is team lead/founder, Taitum. [email protected], +2348165299774