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Country: Denmark

I'm a software developer, and I am currently negotiating a contract with a new employer. If everything works out as planned, I will need to resign from my current job before the end of the month.

The notice period is "Current month plus one month", meaning that in order to have as short notice as possible, I need to resign before the 1st of next month.

The issue is that both my manager and the CEO is on vacation the last half of the month, and thus not in the office. While it is likely they read their emails while on vacation, I can't assume they do, and definitely can't assume they'd send me a confirmation email back.

What's the best way to handle my resignation? I need it to be legally registered that I resigned in this month, not any time in the next month, since that would extend the notice period by a full month, and I can't have that. My initial plan was to hand in my resignation on paper, and have my manager sign a copy as proof I resigned in due time before the 1st of next month.

We're a small company (<15 people) so there is no HR department. Usually everything related to hiring and firing is handled by my manager and/or the CEO.

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  • 18
    "What's the best way to handle my resignation?" Send in your resignation via email and registered mail - that should suffice..
    – iLuvLogix
    Jul 5 at 8:29
  • 23
    Is there anyone replacing or representing them during their vacation?
    – gerrit
    Jul 5 at 9:05
  • 11
    Contact your union and ask them, they will know the exact legal requirements you need to fulfill in your resignation.
    – Frodyne
    Jul 6 at 7:30
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    Just to add, in Denmark, the only requirement for most places is a written resignation. Which means it's valid to just send an email or text message. As a seasoned software developer, I have never sent a registered mail/anbefalet brev to resign. I have always just sent an email.
    – William
    Jul 6 at 7:44
  • 4
    If you have a work related issue (other than resignation) and need management input, who do you contact while your boss is on vacation? CC that person on your resignation email.
    – FreeMan
    Jul 6 at 13:35

4 Answers 4

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both my manager and the CEO is on vacation the last half of the month

Their problem, not yours.

Assuming that you want to part on good terms, the process below is probably the best choice.

Step 1: send resignation letter by registered or certified mail

Send a registered letter to the official company address. Make sure the timing has enough margin. Denmark requires 5 work days. A registered letter MUST be signed by the recipient. This can delay things further: if the delivery person shows up and there is no one around to sign it (home office, lunch break, etc) they will just leave a note. They may try to re-deliver or the recipient has to come to a post office and pick it up.

A better choice would be "certified" mail, but I don't know if that's available in Denmark. The difference is, that the delivery person can just drop it in the mailbox even if no one is around. The delivery person will issue the receipt themselves.

So registered gives you a "receipt of reception" and certified gives you a "receipt of delivery".

Keep the letter short and to the point: State that you are resigning and what your last day of work will be. The End.

Step 2: send e-mail to both your manager and CEO

Follow up with an e-mail which ideally should arrive earlier than the letter. Again state that you resign and your last date. You can be a little fluffier, if you feel like it: Thank them for the opportunity you had and the good collaboration etc.

Apologize that you do this by e-mail and not in person but that the timing didn't line up with their vacation plans. Tell the also that you send a formal resignation letter by mail.

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    I like this, that is probably what I will choose to do. I don't think we have certified mail here, but if I send it as a tracked package I should achieve the same result. Good point about the detail-level in each letter/email.
    – DanishDev
    Jul 5 at 12:29
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    "This can delay things further: if the delivery person shows up and there is no one around to sign it..." I can't speak to Denmark, but in Belgium the date of first attempted delivery is the one that legally counts. If the recipient is unable to receive the letter at that date, it is their problem, not that of the sender.
    – Flater
    Jul 5 at 13:26
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    @Flater: This depends on the local legal details, which I don't know either and may have been impacted by Covid as well (some offices have been closed for months) . There was one case on this forum where exactly that happened: resignation was delivered on time but not received on time and the employer was making a fuzz. I don't remember the county though.
    – Hilmar
    Jul 5 at 14:18
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    If you send the resignation from your company e-mail address, (b)cc your personal e-mail address, so you still have a copy (with date headers etc) when you get locked out of your company e-mail.
    – marcelm
    Jul 5 at 18:53
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    @BЈовић Question explicitly mentions that there is no HR department
    – Mr47
    Jul 6 at 11:00
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In most countries, your company will have a legal address, and any letter sent to that address will be deemed to be received. If nobody in the company reads it, that's their problem. Use registered mail, so the post office will tell you that either the letter was received (fine for everyone), or refused to accept (fine for you, not for the company) or there is nothing at the address (fine for you if you got the legal address of the company right).

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  • Just wondering. He himself is of course also "somebody in the company". What if he himself happens to be the person to receive the letter from the postman at the office? Or better yet, what if he wasn't a software developer but actually had the job to handle all incoming letters?
    – Ivo
    Jul 8 at 8:59
  • Ivo, the letter would have been received. In this case, just "being received" would have legal consequences, because OP had to give notice to the end of the next month, say if a notice to July 31st is received on June 25th, then it is legal. No matter what the company did with it. Now if I got the letter that I wrote myself and hid it to get some advantage, that could be a problem. In this case, hiding the letter wouldn't help me in any way. I could imagine that if I send a letter, then wait at the company's letter box to make it disappear, it's not legally received by the company.
    – gnasher729
    Jul 8 at 10:13
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The point that they are on leave does not mean the official processes that keeps the business running will stop.

If you do not have a defined process for initiating the separation process (like, a tool or a portal), in most part of the world, email is a perfectly valid and legal mode of communication. Just drop the email with the information, and you should be good. Whether they "read" your email or not should not affect the fact that you have submitted your resignation.

**For sake of comparison, you can think about the scenario that they did not open your email even if they're at work - will that invalidate the fact that you had submitted your resignation?

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    Do you know if that is legally accepted? I mean, if they claim they didn't register my resignation until the next week when they're back, and require I stay an extra month - that would screw up my new contract.
    – DanishDev
    Jul 5 at 8:40
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    @DanishDev IANAL, If you want the exact legal answer, you need to get in touch with an employment lawyer in your area, who knows the rules and regulations in the jurisdiction. Also, read the contract, whether it mentions that you need to "submit" your resignation or have it "approved". If latter, you have no other way to call them up and request for a response to your email, or ask about who is "in-charge" when they are away on vacation. Jul 5 at 8:44
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    Something to keep in mind is that they cannot force you to work. If they insist you stay an extra month, then you can still just not show up. Jul 5 at 9:00
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    @TheEvilMetal true, but they can likely sue you for damages
    – Anders
    Jul 5 at 11:42
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    @DanishDev: Pick an analogy: can you refuse to pay a late fee on a bill if you tell the biller that you only read their bill X time after receiving it? No; because the delay you introduce cannot be put onto the biller. The same applies in this case. The recipient's slowness to process received notification is no one's problem but theirs.
    – Flater
    Jul 5 at 13:29
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Their absence does not mean your resignation becomes delayed. As soon as you send the e-mail letting them know that you are resigning and giving your rest of month + 1 month notice, then that is effective.

When sending it as an e-mail, do tag it as "Urgent" / "High Importance", as I from experience know, that some only get 'pinged' by these tags while out of office. Furthermore, depending on your relationship with the managers / CEO or the overall culture of the company you work in, it could be tactful to send them a text.

As I do not have reputation to comment, there is 'certified mail' in Denmark, except it is called "registered mail / rekommanderet brev". You can buy the postage / read about the terms online on Postnord

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    This is terrible advice, especially in Europe where we take our vacations seriously. The notice needs to be served reliably to the company, not to some manager who is not even there, even if it's the CEO. It needs to go at least to the designated deputy who's present, to an official company e-mail address (perhaps one starting with hr), or as others have suggested through the regular snail mail.
    – Joooeey
    Jul 6 at 10:20
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    @Joooeey Saying it is terrible advice because "we take vacations seriously in Europe" does not make sense. I assume there are no other people above DanishDev in the company hierarchy, as they only mention their manager and CEO. If there were other people present that could process a resignation (HR, department manager, etc.), I don't think they would have asked the question. They needed to be legally registered as resigning, and sending an e-mail counts, whether the recipient is on vacation or not, and as as Dane, the official (e-)mail + eventual urgent text / call to cell will suffice.
    – Knejt
    Jul 6 at 10:36
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    The point is that the dev has to get the correct recipient. That's not necessarily ceofirstname.ceolastname@company.dk if dev knows the CEO is on vacation. Their employment contract is with the company, not with the CEO. A CC to info@company.dk or somesuch would be the absolute minimum. As you say in your comment, as soon as receipt is acknowledged it's a different story. Perhaps you need to edit that into your answer.
    – Joooeey
    Jul 6 at 10:48

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