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Whether you’re resigning because you got a better offer or because you just can’t stand working at the company anymore, there are notice periods you have to comply with when you resign. These are usually written into your employment contract, but even if they aren’t, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) sets out minimum periods to be complied with – to protect both you and the employer. Here’s what the law says.
The minimum notice period you have to work according to the BCEA depends on how long you’ve been working at the company.
The industry you work in is also important, since some sectors have their own Main Collective Agreement from a Bargaining Council which will apply to them.
So despite this, you’ve decided you want to resign with immediate effect. You should consider that the employment contract you signed with your employer means that legally you agreed to a specific notice period. If you resign with immediate effect, it is a breach of contract, which means the employer could take legal action in the form of a civil claim against you for any damages they suffered as a result. The employer will also only be liable to pay you for the days of your notice period you actually worked.
Of course if you can come to an agreement with your employer about being able to resign immediately, or compromise and work only a portion of your notice period, then all the better. Conflict should never be your first choice. But if not, then your employer may not make deductions from your salary or withhold payment of what is owed to you (including leave) if he/she feels upset by your resignation.
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* This is only basic advice and cannot be relied on solely. Names have been changed to protect identity.
Date added: 03 December 2019
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