My two year postdoc contract is ending next week. I am looking for a job at a bank in my state now. My university's personnel office has contacted me asking me to resign; that is to say, they're asking me to bring the employment relationship to an end (a few days) before the automatic end date in the contract. What should I do?

  • 6
    Why do they want you to resign? Hopefully not because you are looking for a job. Hopefully not because you have done some unmentionable thing.
    – Buffy
    Jan 4, 2022 at 14:47
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    I do not understand the question nor the answer. If you have a fixed-term contract that ends within a week, what legitimate reason could there be to resign instead of just letting the contract end?
    – Roland
    Jan 4, 2022 at 15:45
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    Why would one be entitled to severance pay at the end of a fixed-term contract? Jan 4, 2022 at 16:01
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    @PieterNaaijkens In Great Britain, because of section 136(1)(b) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 as amended by the Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002. Jan 4, 2022 at 18:19
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    @DanielHatton: thanks, I was not aware of that! Jan 4, 2022 at 18:41

2 Answers 2


There is no need to resign if you have a fixed-term contract. When your contract ends, your employment ends. That's it.

Unless administration gives you a good reason, you don't need to consider this request any further[1]. Since there is no possible advantage for you, you simply decline to do this.

[1] I'm assuming a normal western employment system. The answer might be different in places like, e.g., India, where employees have fewer rights.

  • 1
    'there is no possible advantage for you' In Great Britain, there is one (very unlikely but not impossible) edge case: if you're in an hourly-paid role with variable hours and the employer has recently reduced your working hours (perhaps to zero), then resigning formally through the proper channels can (in combination with a couple of other formal procedures) create an entitlement to severance pay (Employment Rights Act 1996 section 150(1)). Jan 5, 2022 at 13:50
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    @DanielHatton OK, if that is the background, HR intends to do OP a favor and would have explained this.
    – Roland
    Jan 5, 2022 at 13:52
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    Oh, I don't for one moment think the situation OP is encountering is an example of that edge case. I just thought the phrase 'no possible' was a bit strong. Jan 5, 2022 at 13:58
  • @DanielHatton I think such edge cases are covered by "unless administration gives you a good reason".
    – Roland
    Jan 5, 2022 at 15:51
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    Not quite. Administration may, in theory, have that good reason, but not give that good reason to the person of whom they're making the request. Jan 5, 2022 at 17:06
  • Read your employment contract and handbook very carefully. Particularly look for information about severance payments. Also check for information about notices that must be provided, and when they must be provided.
  • If you are entitled to a severance payment, resigning will likely give up that payment. Do not do that.
  • Do not agree to any document falsely claiming you have been provided with a notice. If you agree you received a notice, you may give up pay in lieu of notice.
  • Find out about your local government's unemployment insurance/benefits. They may not apply if you resign.
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    Also, I think that in some countires you could lose the right to certain benefits if you resign instead of get fired.
    – Louic
    Jan 4, 2022 at 15:27
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    @Louic this applies to unemployment benefits in Germany, for example.
    – henning
    Jan 4, 2022 at 15:41
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    I would hope that in places where some sort of severance is due even at the end of a contract except when you resign, that trying to induce someone to resign would be illegal. Not so?
    – Bill Barth
    Jan 4, 2022 at 16:12
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    Note that in some jurisdictions, the entitlement to a severance payment at the end of a fixed term contract may follow automatically from public law, and therefore may not be explicitly mentioned in a contract. Jan 4, 2022 at 17:36

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