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I am a software developer working in South Africa on contractual work for a period of 6 months, ending this April.

The current contract states that there is no expectation of renewal or extension.

I have received and signed an offer from another company, with the start date having been negotiated for middle of May.

Out of courtesy I have informed my current employer that I will not be continuing with them after contract end, as it was mentioned prior to me that they were interested in offering a more permanent role.

After notifying my manager, I was then asked to write a letter of resignation with my final date as contract end to finish off the process. To my understanding since this is contractual, I do not need to do this neither does the contract say anything about written notice for not continuing.

Could that honestly be part of a process or something that I should be wary about?

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    @JoeStrazzere Because in some countries benefits differ between resigning and contract expiration. He's trying to figure out if his country is one of those. Which seems a reasonable precaution to take. Apr 19 at 2:03
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    "as it was mentioned prior to me that they were interested in offering a more permanent role." Maybe you should have told them about the other offer so that they could give you a counter offer. Apr 19 at 2:39
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    "... on contractual work for a period of 6 months ..." - Is this a 6-month employment contract, or are you working as an independent contractor? In most jurisdictions, the difference between those situations is huge.
    – marcelm
    Apr 19 at 8:04
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After notifying my manager, I was then asked to write a letter of resignation with my final date as contract end to finish off the process.

Ignore that strange request.

You can not "resign" from that company any more than I can: you're not an employee.

Send a polite email simply reminding everyone that the contract is finished.

Dear Steve and Bill, thanks again for the great six months. For your convenience a reminder that my contract ends on June 13th, Wednesday, that is to say last day with the company is Wednesday 13th. Thanks again.

OP asks,

To my understanding since this is contractual I do not need to [send a resignation letter],

You

  • can not

  • should not

  • must not

send a "resignation".

Could that honestly be part of a process

No. It's wrong and don't do it.

Absolutely don't send a "resignation letter" of any type.

or something that I should be wary about?

You should indeed be very wary.

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There could be legal, tax, or corporate ramifications you are not aware of. NO matter what the context, written signed documents have a lot of power and often come back and bite.

Note that as well as legal or tax problems, it could also merely cause confusion. For example, some manager or accountant (who has no understanding of the details of your situation) may see this "letter of resignation" and then assume you are an employee, which could lead to all sorts of problems.

So, absolutely don't do it.

It's very likely just "stupidity not malice" on their part. For example, when someone told you "letter of resignation" it could be they more or less misspoke and really just meant "Please send everyone a note reminding when your last day is on the contract."

You are completely correct. Do not do this - just ignore the request.

Send the polite email abvove.

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    This is the correct answer. The problem with the other answer, which re-writes the traditional notice letter with contractor language, is that it's still fundamentally engaging in a ritual of permanent employment. This has no upsides for the OP, but there is a risk (which grows with the number of 'rituals' in which one participates) that the tax-man may decide that they've been deceived. Apr 18 at 11:50
  • Is it really that unreasonable to ask for a letter of resignation? In the Netherlands it seems common practice.
    – Thomas
    Apr 19 at 7:52
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    @Thomas For a fixed-term employment contract, sure. For actual contract work (detachering of ZZPer), not in my experience.
    – marcelm
    Apr 19 at 8:05
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    I agree with most of this answer, but "I've attached a copy of my contract" is not something I'd ever do.
    – Mast
    Apr 19 at 8:37
  • @Mast: Particularly because the group of people who need to know the last day is likely not a subset of the people who should be seeing the complete contract details.
    – Ben Voigt
    Apr 19 at 22:14
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If your manager really just asked, as in

"Hey CookieExchange, would you mind putting together an email that covers what you just told me verbally?"

that seems eminently reasonable. Your manager, presumably, needs to let HR and his manager know that they need to start looking to replace you after your contract ends. Having an email from you saying you're not interested in continuing past the end of the contract ensures that no one accidentally miscommunicates.

You are under no obligation to put anything in writing just as you generally have no obligation to provide notice unless that is a requirement of the contract. I'm personally a fan of giving notice like you have and of putting things in writing myself. I'd much rather someone forward along an email that I wrote rather than risking someone paraphrasing something I said.

I wouldn't use the word "resign". You can't resign since you're not an employee. I'd hope that if your boss used the word "resignation" that he was just being loose with his vocabulary. I'd just indicate that you intend to move on at the end of the contract

Mr. Bossman,

This is to inform you that when my contract ends on xx/yy/zzzz, I will be moving on to other opportunities. It has been my pleasure to work with everyone at MegaCorp Industries. I wish you nothing but success in the future.

CookieExchange

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  • In an abundance of caution, I would even specifically omit the phrase I will be moving on to other opportunities. To make an example of what I mean, when you collect a pay check you do not explicitly state "I will be depositing this check." When you go home from work you do not explicitly state "I will not be working all night at the office." Just a thought!
    – Fattie
    Apr 18 at 10:54
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    @Fattie - I'm not sure what potential harm comes from saying you're moving on. I'd want to give some indication that the email is providing notice that the contract won't be renewed rather than fishing for someone to renew the current contract. Apr 18 at 10:58
  • @JustinCave: the potential harm is that the government may use this as evidence that the OP wasn’t a contractor. Fattie is being extra cautious, most likely it would just be some odd wording in an email nobody else will ever read. Still, it’s an odd choice of wording for a contractor at best at it could, theoretically, serve as the trigger for an investigation and a determination that the contractor isn’t a contractor.
    – jmoreno
    Apr 18 at 20:49
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    @jmoreno - I am hard-pressed to imagine any situation where a government would try to construe an email stating that a contractor was "moving on to other opportunities" as evidence that someone was an employee. That doesn't strike me as a reasonable concern. Contractors move on to other opportunities all the time. That's hardly an employee-only thing. If you want to change the wording to make clear that you don't want the current employer to offer a contract extension without saying that you're moving on, ok. Moving on to other opportunities is a nice non-bridge burning euphamism though. Apr 19 at 3:50
  • If anyone were to question whether CookieExchange was an employee of MegaCorp Industries or not, showing pay stubs from PDQ Contracting and MegaCorp Industries not showing any payroll records for him should answer the question quite quickly. Additionally, PDQ Contracting should be able to show a copy of the contract with MCI (no, not that MCI) that would spell out that this was a contract position, not an employee situation.
    – FreeMan
    Apr 19 at 15:59
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Look over your original contract very carefully. Consider ways that they may try to screw you over. Then consider whether or not you should send them a reminder letter. Or, ask them to give you a reminder letter that your contract is ending (which would make much more sense under the circumstances).

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