The employee has the right to resign from his employment resulting in its termination.[1] Resignation is “the voluntary act of an employee who is in a position where he believes that personal reasons cannot be sacrificed in favor of the exigency of the service, and he has no other choice but to disassociate himself from employment.”[2] 

Philippines Today, Inc. v. National Labor Relations Commission
G.R. No. 112965, 30 January 1997

Employment is essentially contractual in nature. Thus, it requires mutuality of consent by and between the employer and the employee. If the employee ”finds-himself in a situation where he believes that personal reasons cannot be sacrificed in favor of the exigency of the service, then he has no other choice but to disassociate himself from his employment.” Once accepted, this results in the severance of the contract of employment.

While the employee has the right to resign, labor law requires that a 30-day written notice or a resignation letter be served to the employer at least one month in advance.[3] If the employee fails to comply with the 30-day notice rule, he may be held liable for damages suffered by the employer.[4]

However, the employee does not need to comply with the 30-day notice rule in the following situations:

  • Serious insult by the employer or his representative on the honor and person of the employee;[5]
  • Inhuman and unbearable treatment accorded the employee by the employer or his representative;[6]
  • Commission of a crime or offense by the employer or his representative against the person of the employee or any of the immediate members of his family;[7] and
  • Other causes analogous to any of the foregoing.[8]

The Labor Code does not require that the employer accept or approve the resignation by the employee. The reason being is that the employee has the right to resign. To be clear, once the employee tenders the 30-day written notice, it initiates the resignation which becomes fully effective after the last day.

If the employer does accept or approve the resignation, it cannot be withdrawn except with the consent of the employer. Conversely, the resignation may be withdrawn by the employee prior to the employer’s acceptance or approval as the same is not prohibited by law.[9]

In labor disputes involving illegal dismissal, the employer who invokes the defense that the employee resigned is required to prove it.[10] It is important that the intent to relinquish must concur with the overt act of relinquishment.[11] Otherwise stated, the acts of the employee before and after the resignation will be considered in determining whether there was indeed a resignation.[12]

Best Legal Practices:

Draft resignation letter – It is often the case that the employee does not know how to write a proper resignation letter. Consequently, it is prudent and wise for the employer to have a draft simple and concise resignation letter that would serve as a guide.

30-day notice extendible to a reasonable period – In some businesses, the 30-day notice might be short to give ample time for an orderly transition of work from a leaving employee. Thus, it can be agreed upon by the employer and employee that the notice be extended to a reasonable period which may be more than but not less than 30 days (e.g. 60 days) through the employment contract or the CBA.

Execute a release, waiver, and quitclaim – The employer should ensure that the resigning employee execute a release, waiver, and quitclaim as proof of complete and final settlement of all claims that he may have against the employer prior to his/her last day of work or after the clearance process.

Initiate clearance process at least two weeks before last day – For the smooth transition of work and to properly address any outstanding liability, the clearance process should be initiated at least two weeks before last day.

The fulfillment by the employee of a military or civic duty does not operate to terminate his employment.[13] After his service, the employer is required to reinstate the employee to his former position without loss of seniority rights if he indicates his desire to resume his work not later than one month reckoned from his relief of the military or civic duty.[14] 

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[1] LABOR CODE. Article 299.

[2] San Miguel Properties Philippines, Inc., v. Gwendellyn Rose S. Gucaban, G.R. No. 153982, 18 July 2011, citing Nationwide Security and Allied Services, Inc. v. Ronald P. Valderama, G.R. No. 186614, February 23, 2011; Alfaro v. Court of Appeals, 416 Phil. 310, 320 (2001), citing Philippine Wireless, Inc. (Pocketbell) v. NLRC, 310 SCRA 363 (1999), Valdez v. NLRC, 286 SCRA 87 (1998) and Habana v. NLRC, 298 SCRA 537 (1998); Intertrod Maritime, Inc. v. NLRC, G.R. No. 81087, June 19, 1991, 198 SCRA 318, 323.  See also Batongbacal v. Associated Bank, 250 Phil. 602, 608 (1988).

[3] LABOR CODE. Article 299.

[4] Ibid.

[5] LABOR CODE. Article 299 (b) (1).

[6] Ibid. Article 299 (b) (1).

[7] Ibid. Article 299 (b) (2).

[8] Ibid. Article 299 (b) (3).

[9] Ibid.

[10] Id at 339.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] LABOR CODE. Article 300.

[14] Ibid.