Knowledge Base

Withdrawing a Resignation – Rights of an Employee

Withdrawing a Resignation - Limitations and Rights of an Employee
Withdrawing a Resignation – Limitations and Rights of an Employee

So, it’s been a while since you’ve been unhappy at your current job. You probably have uncooperative co-workers or an awful boss who is making you miserable or maybe it’s just about furthering your professional development. Whatever the reason may be, you decided to call it quits and put down your papers. You were quick to cut the cord and didn’t wait long to submit your resignation letter.

Shortly after, you changed your mind. You’ve realized that resigning was probably a mistake and you want to withdraw your resignation. What do you do? Can you retract your resignation now? Where do you stand legally? Luckily, we have all the answers that you need.

What Made You Change Your Mind?

First and foremost, it’s important to identify why you wanted to quit in the first place and what changed your mind. This will not only help you ease your mind and make the right decisions but it will also help you explain yourself better when you make a move to retract your Resignation.

Usually, when employees bring up quitting or formally hand in their resignation, the Company will try to negotiate with you to get you to stay. Training a new employee can be costly and time-consuming. The transition can be difficult for employers so they will try to retain you as far as possible by offering you a higher pay package or a promotion. If that happens then congratulations, you are in luck! You can use this opportunity to address the issues that made you want to quit in the first place and resolve them.

However, if that doesn’t happen and your resignation has been formally accepted then you need to step up and face the situation by speaking to your manager as soon as possible.
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How to Withdraw a Resignation?

As soon as you decide to stay, inform your manager and/or someone at the HR department by sending a clearly worded email that states that you wish to retract our resignation.

You can use this Email Template to Withdraw your Resignation:

Dear [Manager’s name],

This is regarding my Resignation submitted on (date of Resignation Letter). I am writing to hereby formally retract my previous Resignation letter.

{If the Management has Convinced you to Stay}

As discussed, I would be happy to accept the new terms of employment and remain in my position as (Position) at (Company Name).

{If your Resignation has been Accepted & You’ve Changed Your Mind}

The conditions surrounding my resignation have changed and I would appreciate the opportunity to remain in my position as (Position) at (Company Name). I look forward to working here at (Company Name) and apologize for any inconvenience that I may have caused during this period. Thank you very much for your consideration and understanding.

Yours Sincerely,

(Your Signature)

(Your Name)

After the written request is sent, try and talk to either a member of HR or your manager in person as soon as possible. Explain in a professional manner why you want to retract your resignation and show that you’re serious about staying in the company.
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Unfortunately, an employer has no legal obligation to accept your cancellation of resignation. They may feel that you are not equipped to handle your position anymore or question your commitment to the job. They can, however, choose to accept your Resignation if they decide that it is beneficial for their Company.

How do you handle the situation Professionally?

It’s important to understand that what’s done is done and you can’t take that back. It’s time to stop swinging like an indecisive pendulum. State your case and be honest. Explain exactly why you decided to quit and what made you change your mind.

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Sometimes all you need to do is come clean and give a reasonable explanation in a professional manner. Chances are that if you make some valid points surrounding the job that made you want to quit, for example, long working hours, being overworked, or being underpaid, the employer will understand where you are coming from and might give you your job back.

Also, this is the time for you to step up and highlight which projects you handle and how keeping you on would be beneficial for them rather than recruiting a new employee.

What if Your Retraction is Not Accepted?

Unfortunately, your employer can refuse your proposal of withdrawing your resignation. It’s better to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. If your employer refuses to accept your withdrawal, then you will be legally obliged to work during your notice and then leave. It’s best to exit gracefully. The last thing you need is to burn the bridge.

It might be tempting to do very little work or not show up altogether but it is important to make your employer feel that there are no hard feelings. Don’t forget that you will be needing your employer as a future reference for your next job.

What are your Rights as an Employee in this Situation?

Some Supreme Court Cases examined the various rules associated with the resignation of employees, their rights, and the legal obligation of the employers. The cases include:

  • Air India Express Limited and Ors. v. Gurdarshan Kaur Sandhu – Refer this Judgement here
  • Union of India and Ors. v. Gopal Chandra Mishra
  • Balram Gupta v. Union of India
Key Takeaways from the Judgements of these Supreme Court Cases

1) An employee can Retract their Resignation before it becomes effective only in the absence of:

  • Anything contrary to the provisions governing the terms and conditions of the office/ post
  • A legal contractual or constitutional bar

2) A Resignation cannot be withdrawn if the administration has already made arrangements to act on the resignation and spent considerable expenses and efforts on training the replacement employee


If your employer was kind enough to let you withdraw your resignation, then let them know that it was a wise decision by stepping up your game at work. This is the best way to make up for the inconvenience you have caused them. If your employer decides to deny your request, then work out your notice period and exit gracefully. Show your employer that there are no hard feelings. It is important to remember that regardless of the outcome, you did what you could and put up a good fight. Now it’s time to accept the fact and move on. Start your job search early and hopefully you’ll find a better job.

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by Kavitha Iyer

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