Can You Withdraw a Resignation?

3 minute read

Deciding to leave your job isn’t an easy decision to make. But what if you hand in your resignation only to realise you don’t want to leave after all? Maybe your organisation offered you a promotion or a pay rise, or your new job offer fell through. Maybe your plans changed or you’re simply having second thoughts.

Whatever the reason, here’s what you should do if you want to withdraw a resignation.


When should you withdraw a resignation?

Before asking to withdraw your resignation, take a moment to consider whether this is the right move for you. What was it that caused you to resign in the first place? Were you happy in your job? We’re often drawn to familiarity and look back at how things were through rose-tinted glasses. Make sure you’re not making decisions based on a fear of the unknown.

Can You Withdraw a Resignation?

Speak to your manager as soon as possible

If you’re sure that you want to stay, check your contract and your organisation’s policy information. Look for anything about the conditions under which you can terminate your employment. Unfortunately, your manager is under no legal obligation to let you withdraw a resignation once you’ve already handed it in unless it’s specified in your contract.

As soon as you’ve done this and you’re sure you want to withdraw your resignation, let your manager know. It’s important both for them and for you to know where you stand. It might feel like an uncomfortable conversation to have. However, the sooner you speak with your manager, the higher the chances they’ll allow you to withdraw your resignation, since they’ll have invested less time and money into finding a replacement.


Explain your reasoning

Your manager will want to know why you’ve decided to withdraw your resignation. It’s best to be honest here about why your plans have changed. It’s tempting to be vague to avoid seeming uncommitted to the organisation, but honesty breeds trust and respect. If your manager feels that you’re not telling them the whole truth, they might question your intentions.

You can still get across your passion for the job and dedication to the organisation by discussing what your future plans would be if you were allowed to stay. Let your manager know that you’ve got no intention of leaving anymore and why this is the case. You could also highlight some of the projects you’ve enjoyed working on during your time with the organisation and the skills you’ve gained as a result. This will help management to see that letting you withdraw your resignation is a wise decision in the long run.

If you work for a charity, it’s important to remind them that you’re as passionate about the cause as ever. Also remember to apologise for the disruption to your manager and the team caused by your change of plans, especially if time and money have already been spent on recruitment.

Can You Withdraw a Resignation?

Send a letter or email

It’s also a good idea to send a formal retraction letter or email to management so that they have it in writing. Word it as a request to stay on, rather than as if you’re the one making the decision to stay. Explain that you’re aware of the inconvenience caused to show that you’re taking this decision seriously.

The letter or email doesn’t have to be long, and it’s best not to waffle. Stick to what needs to be said but keep it polite and respectful. As a minimum, you should include the date that you handed in your resignation and that you now want to stay in your current role.


Despite your best efforts, things might not work out in your favour. Your organisation could have found a replacement or have already spent the money on recruitment. If this is the case, don’t despair! There are plenty of other charities out there that could use your skills and expertise. A fresh start could be just what you need to skyrocket your career.

Take a look at the opportunities currently available on the CharityJob website.


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