◆Regarding voluntary resignation for personal reasons
An increasing number of regular company employees are experiencing trouble with having their voluntary resignation requests accepted by their employer. Primary examples include avoidance of one-on-one meetings by supervisors, refusal to accept formal resignation papers, withholding of unemployment certificates necessary for insurance purposes, refusal to grant paid holidays, and threats that the employer will seek legal damages if the employee goes forward with the resignation.
◆Consultation regarding resignation requests and turnover
Of the civil labor dispute consultations brought last year to city and prefectural labor bureaus, as well as the Labor Standards Inspection Office, 38,954 cases of trouble with voluntary resignation were reported, making it the second-most common issue. The number of such cases has risen steadily over the last ten years and since 2015, disputes over voluntary resignation have outnumbered those regarding termination.
While wrongful termination disputes were a common problem during past recessions, the prevalence of disputes over voluntary resignation is symbolic of the current era of workforce shortage. It can be expected to continue for the near foreseeable future.
◆Civil law allows for resignation with two weeks notice
Under civil law, an employee whose employment is not limited to a specific period has the right to request termination of their employment contract. In principle, regardless of the company’s authorization, the employment contract is terminated once two weeks have passed from the formal notice of resignation (Civil Code Article 627, Paragraph 1). While Company Regulations often contain passages stating that a notice of intent to resign should be delivered at least one month in advance, to account for the necessity to handover staff duties, such provisions alone cannot be used as a reason to deny resignation.
◆How to avoid disputes over resignation of regular employees
Once an employee formally indicates their intent to resign, attempts to dissuade or prevent them from leaving have no effect. If a company tries too hard in this regard, they are likely to find themselves in violation of civil law. The best decision is to avoid responding in an emotional manner and calmly carry out handover of duties and other procedures relevant to the resignation.
Recently, many employees have sought to avoid problems by hiring “resignation agency” businesses, private enterprises whose purpose is to carry out the procedures of voluntary resignation on their behalf. If this occurs, the resignation will occur without meeting the employee face to face or having the opportunity for discussion.
There are many motives why an employee may choose to voluntarily resign from a company, but the most important thing is to create a company environment that they will not wish to leave.