What to Know About Resigning from Your Singapore Job

Last updated on July 12, 2018

man holding a box of his items and saying bye to colleagues

Thinking of leaving your job?

Most of us will likely face this question at some point during our careers. It is important to handle any job resignation with tact as it will help boost your reputation and professional standing in the industry.

If you have carefully considered to move on, there are certain precautions that you should take before simply saying “I quit” or “throwing letter”. Not only will these best practices help you leave on a positive note, your departure will also be a smooth and pleasant experience.

Note: this article only applies to employees covered under the Employment Act.

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Writing Your Resignation Letter

Section 10(1) of the Employment Act states that either party to a contract of service may at any time give to the other party notice of his intention to terminate the contract of service.

According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), if you wish to terminate your employment contract, you must give a written notice to the other party in the form of a letter of termination or resignation.

There is no legal requirement that the notice be given in hard copy (i.e. you may submit your resignation notice by email). However, you may wish to prepare a hard copy letter, and address and hand it directly to your direct manager or supervisor.

When writing your resignation letter, indicate your:

  • Date of resignation;
  • Last day of employment; and
  • The duration of the notice period you will be serving.

Adopt a polite tone by clearly stating your intention to move on and thank your current employer for the experiences and opportunities this job has given you.

Such an effort will be appreciated by your current manager, who may be encouraged to offer a positive reference or testimonial during any future pre-employment screenings.

Submitting Your Resignation Letter

Approach your direct manager or supervisor for a meeting and deliver your resignation letter to him/her personally as a matter of professional courtesy.

It is recommended by MOM that you have your employer sign your resignation letter as an official acknowledgment. Upon formal acceptance of your resignation, you will be required to serve the notice period stipulated in your employment contract.

Serving Your Notice Period

The next step to resigning is to know the length of the notice period you are required to serve.

In the case of most jobs, the length of such notice shall be determined by the notice period indicated in the terms of your employment contract.

In the absence of such provision, the notice period should be not less than:

  • 1 day’s notice if you have been employed for less than 26 weeks
  • 1 week’s notice if you have been employed for at least 26 weeks and up to 2 years
  • 2 weeks’ notice if you have been employed for at least 2 years and up to 5 years
  • 4 weeks’ notice if you have been employed for at least 5 years

If you do not wish to serve notice, you will be required to pay compensation in lieu of notice to your employer.

Your notice period can also be waived subject to a written agreement between you and your employer.

Taking Leave During Your Notice Period

You can still utilise annual leave while serving your notice period and it will count towards fulfilling the notice period. This includes utilising your annual leave to offset your notice period. While you will not be paid for the annual leave, this effectively brings forward your last day of employment.

All employees covered under the Employment Act are allowed to take sick leave (paid or unpaid) during their notice period. It will not extend your notice period or affect your last date of employment.


For those concerned about salary payments after resigning, when you will be paid depends on whether you will be serving notice.

  • If you are serving notice, your salary will be paid to you on the last day of your employment.
  • If you are not serving notice, your salary will be paid to you within 7 days of the last day of your employment.

Employers who do not pay their employees’ salary will be committing an offence.

Can Your Employer Reject Your Resignation?

All employees have the right to resign at any time. Any employer who rejects an employee’s resignation or disallows employees from leaving is guilty of an offence under section 108 of the Employment Act.

He/she will be liable on conviction to a fine of at least S$5,000 or to imprisonment for at least 6 months or to both.

The court can also order for the whole or part of the fine to be paid to the employee.

First, congratulate yourself for being such an MVP that your employer can’t bear to see you go. But no: Singapore employers are NOT ALLOWED to reject the resignation of employees covered under the #EmploymentAct without any reasonable excuse. – When resigning, remember that you are required to submit written notice of your resignation to your employer. You’ll also need to serve out your notice period before you can go. If you don’t want to, you’ll have to pay compensation in lieu of notice. – If you’re serving notice, your employer will pay you all outstanding salary payments on your last day of work. If you aren’t, you will be paid within 7 days of your last day of work. – One last fun fact: employers who refuse to let their employees resign can be jailed up to 6 months and/or fined up to $5,000. The court may order part (or the whole of) this fine to be paid to the employee. #justsaying #SingaporeLegalAdvice

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Special Circumstances of Resignation

Pregnant women

For pregnant women, while it is possible for you to resign during your maternity leave, you are unable to use your maternity leave to shorten your notice period.

This means that you can still take maternity leave during your notice period, only that it will not change your last date of employment.

Foreign workers

If you are a foreign worker, please take note that your employer will cancel your work permit within 7 days of your last day of employment.

Resigning from a job is a major decision. It is advisable to ensure that you have secured a new offer elsewhere before tendering your resignation.

Before leaving, it is only responsible to communicate your notice period to ensure that there is sufficient time for a proper handing over of your duties.

Taking the right steps in handling your departure will reflect well on your professional standing in the industry.

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