In what form should a resignation be submitted to an employer? 

To make an employer aware of this type of decision, an employee can choose between two different forms: 

  • a resignation can be sent by registered mail to the post office; 
  • a letter of resignation can be handed to an employer, who signs a duplicate copy as an acknowledgement of receipt. 

It should be emphasized that even if the employee does not respect either of these two forms, the resignation is not considered as irregular and remains legally acknowledged. 

Must an employer be informed of the reason for a resignation?

Unlike dismissal by the employer, a resignation never needs to be justified, as an employee is free to leave the company without having to justify himself. 

This applies both to a resignation with notice and to a resignation with immediate effect, it being understood that in the latter case, the employee may not have been aware of the serious grounds for more than one month. Also, the allegations must be real and the employee must be able to substantiate them in the event of a dispute before the Labour Tribunal. 

What is the notice period for resignation?

The amount of notice an employee must give when resigning is determined by the employee’s length of service. 

An employee who has been with the employer for less than five years at the time of resignation, must give one month’s notice. If he has been employed for between 5 and 10 years, he must give two months’ notice. An employee who has been with the employer for 10 years or more, must give three months’ notice. 

Remember that in the event of resignation during the trial period, the notice periods are different.  

The basic rule is that four days’ notice must be given for each month of the trial period agreed upon in the contract, with a minimum of 15 days and a maximum of one month. Thus, in the case of a six-month trial period, the employee must give 24 days’ notice to the employer. 

What is the starting point of the notice period?

The starting point of the notice period depends on when the letter of resignation is sent or handed in personally. 

If the resignation is sent or submitted to the employer before the 15th of a given month, the notice period shall begin to run from the 15th of that month. 

However, if the letter is served or delivered between the 15th and the last day of the month, the notice period will only start on the 1st of the following month. 

It should be remembered that the rule of the 15th and 1st of the month does not apply in the case of resignation during the trial period. In fact, in the event of resignation during the trial period, the notice period may begin at any time and is based on a duration related to calendar days.  

Please note that the entire notice period must be completed before the end of the trial period, otherwise the employment contract is deemed to be a definitive contract. 

What is the penalty if an employee fails to comply with the notice period?

In the event that an employee leaves his duties without keeping to the notice period requirements, he must pay compensation to his employer called “indemnity in lieu of notice”. 

This corresponds to the salary due for the notice period that the employee should have given or for the part of this notice period with which he failed to comply. 

Note that this penalty does not exist in the case of a notice period not complied with during the trial period. 

Can the notice period be offset against the employee's remaining leave?

No, if an employee who resigns is still entitled to days of leave, he cannot automatically give his employer a shorter notice period by way of compensation for the days of leave still due. The same applies to the employer who cannot force the employee to use his leave during the notice period. 

If the employee wants to take leave during the notice period, he or she must apply to the employer. However, the employer may refuse if the needs of the service or the priorities accorded to other employees preclude a favourable response. 

Untaken leave is paid to the employee at the end of the notice period. 

Can a person be exempted from serving a notice period following a resignation?

Even if the decision to terminate has been made, the notice period is a normal working period, which means that the employee must continue to work until the end of the notice period and that the employer pays the employee his usual salary as compensation. 

Nevertheless, an employer can take the initiative of granting an employee a release from work obligations. In this case the employee is freed of his obligation to work while receiving his salary during the remaining notice period. He may even start working for his new employer; if he does, however, he loses the benefit of continued salary, as the former employer pays only the difference between the old and a new lower salary. 

Exemption from work may also be requested by the employee, in which case the contract is deemed to have been terminated by mutual agreement of both parties, meaning that the employee is not entitled to continued remuneration up until the normal end of the notice period. 

In what cases can a person resign without notice?

Resignation without notice is allowable in the area of protection of pregnant employees. An employee who decides at the end of her maternity leave not to return to work in order to devote herself fully to the education of her child may terminate her employment contract without having to give notice.  

The law also allows an employee who is a victim of sexual harassment to refuse to continue to perform his or her employment contract and to terminate it without notice. 

In this case of resignation motivated by an act of sexual harassment, the job seeker may, by simple request, ask the president of the competent labour tribunal to authorise provisional unemployment benefits pending a final judicial decision in the dispute concerning the legality or merits of a resignation. 

An employee may also terminate the contract with immediate effect and without notice in the event of serious misconduct by the employer. 

The employee can then take the matter to the Labour Tribunal and attempt to have the employer found guilty of serious misconduct and thus obtain damages. The employee is also entitled to compensation for notice and severance pay if he has more than five years of seniority. 

The employee also has the right to apply for temporary unemployment benefits. 

Examples of serious misconduct by an employer 

The repeated violation by an employer of his obligation to provide the employee with a salary slip at the end of each month constitutes a serious employer misconduct sufficient to justify the employee’s resignation with immediate effect. 

Similarly, the systematic, persistent and repeated non-payment of salaries by an employer constitutes a serious fault on his part, making the employee’s resignation with immediate effect justified, whereas an employer’s main obligation remains that of paying salaries in return for the work performed by the employee. 


Failing to pay a single salary alone is not sufficiently serious to make it immediately and permanently impossible to maintain employment relations.  

Before resigning, an employee must either file a summary action for payment of wages or give notice to the employer to pay the wages.