Why do resignation letters include an effective date?

By Robert Half on 15 October 2022
Estimated Read Time: 3 minutes

A small, yet important aspect of every resignation letter is the effective date – the date by which you plan to officially depart the organisation you are working for.

While many blogs and guides on how to write the perfect resignation letter advocate expressing gratitude or explain how to detail your reasons for resigning, the single sentence explaining when you are leaving is often overlooked, as are what the consequences are if you do not include the effective date of completion at your current place of employment.

Related: How to write an effective resignation letter

Why does a resignation notice need an effective date?

Put simply, without an effective date, your manager and/or HR department have no official written record of when your employment will be completed.

Depending on your tenure and contract at the company, the notice period that employees in Hong Kong will serve before leaving will vary. In some rare cases, employees can also be generous and extend their notice period to allow extra time to transfer their knowledge to their replacement hire or direct colleagues. This is important to factor into identifying which day you are finishing up.

You do not want to find yourself in a situation for example, where you are about to leave the company for your next role, and your manager has informed you that you have a week remaining on your employment because you did not properly communicate the effective date you are leaving.

If doubt or confusion about which day you are departing occurs, all you would need to do is refer to your effective date that you provided in your resignation letter.

Providing the effective date of departure on your resignation letter is an official record that is clear to your employer, so they may then organise a schedule to plan your departure and ensure all necessary steps are taken before your notice period ends.

Related: How to resign from a role in Hong Kong

How to write an effective date in a resignation letter

The effective date is for all intents and purposes, a single sentence included in the resignation letter, typically right after the statement of intent to resign.

Before writing your effective date, check your employment contract and HR policies to ensure you are meeting the minimum requirements of serving your notice period. You may also need to factor in public holidays or events where you might be unavailable during your last weeks of employment.

An effective date is NOT the day you are submitting your resignation letter. Your effective date is the last day of employment that you serve at your organisation when your notice period ends. If you plan to immediately start a new role afterwards, it is recommended to leave some buffer time in case of unexpected events or delays.

An example effective date to include could be, “My final day of employment at XYZ will be the 13th of November 2022.”

Related: Hong Kong resignation letter templates

What to highlight if you are planning to resign

Once you have identified your effective date for your resignation notice, you can begin crafting your resignation letter, which can include:

  • Address it to your direct/upline manager
  • Begin with a statement of intent, for example: “It is with regret that I officially tender my resignation for the position of [your job title] at [company name].”
  • Include the date the letter was written (preferably in the top right-hand corner of the page)
  • State your contracted notice period and the effective date of your last day
  • Tactfully give the reason for your departure: new job, personal reasons, relocating, etc.
  • Include a graceful thank you to the company for the opportunity they gave you
  • Write your signature at the bottom

Related: How to serve your notice period


Example of a resignation letter with an effective date

(Insert Current date)

(Insert Manager’s name)

(Insert Company Name)

(Insert Company Address)

Dear (Insert Manager’s name)

Please accept this letter as formal notification of my resignation from (the position) at(company name). My last effective date with the company will be (date).

Before I leave, I will ensure that all my projects are completed as far as possible, and I am happy to assist in any way to ensure a smooth handover to my replacement.

I would like to thank you for the opportunity to work at (company) for (years of service). During this time I have thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere within the team, and I will miss our interactions.

While I am excited by the new opportunities that I will be pursuing in my new role, I will always remember my time at (company name) with affection. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need further information after I leave, and I would be delighted if you stay in touch.

Kind regards,

(Your signature)

(Your printed name)

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