Termination vs. Resignation: Definitions and Differences

The main difference between resignation and termination lies in who initiated the severance of employment. With a resignation, you decide to end your employment; whereas in contrast, with a termination, your employer makes the decision to end your employment.

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What is resignation?

Resignation, which is also known as quitting, is the act of ending your own employment. You officially notify your employer that you are terminating your employment agreement or other relationship with the company when you submit your resignation. Typically, you must give your employer two weeks’ notice before your last day of employment.

Employees typically leave their jobs when they find new ones or for personal reasons. Keep in mind that if you provide proper notice of your intent to resign, you may receive payment for the remainder of your employment.

Although it is voluntary, an employee may occasionally experience a forced resignation. With this kind of resignation, an employer issues an ultimatum to the employee: resign or be fired.

What is termination?

An employee’s departure from their job at the employer’s direction is referred to as a termination of employment. Employees can be laid off in addition to termination, which is sometimes referred to as firing. Here are examples of these two employee dismissal types:

There are a few additional related terms you should be aware of in addition to these two primary types of termination:

Termination vs. resignation

While leaving a company is the same whether you resign or are terminated, there are many differences between the two terms. Here are a few of the key distinctions between the two:

Initiation of separation

Who initiated the severance of employment is the main distinction between resignation and termination. In contrast to a termination, which is when your employer decides to end your employment, a resignation is a decision you make.

Notice period

The amount of time to give for resignation or termination is determined by state laws and the employment contract. Some states, for instance, permit you or your employer to terminate your employment with no prior notice.

Poor work performance or misconduct frequently results in immediate termination. An employer might occasionally give the worker advance notice. However, depending on the circumstance, employees who resign usually provide their employers with a two-week notice period.


When you quit your job, your employer usually only pays you for the work you completed up until the end of your final day of employment. If you are fired, your employer might be required to pay you compensation, also known as severance pay, to make up for the loss of your job. Your employer, as well as frequently the reason for your termination, will determine how much severance pay you will receive. As you look for new employment, you can use your severance to cover your expenses. Employees dont receive severance pay if they resign.

Post-employment effects

Depending on your resignation or termination, various situations may arise. The effects you experience after a termination are typically more severe, but it depends on the circumstances. Here are a few of the after-employment consequences of quitting your job or being fired:

Future planning

You might not have as much time to plan your next moves if your employer fires you. This means that until you are fired, you won’t have enough time to make a plan for your next job.

However, you have time to prepare for your employment transition once you resign. This indicates that you have time to secure the funds you require while looking for a new job. Since you know when your employment will end, you can look for work before that day. Employees who resign typically have a financial advantage over those who are fired as a result.

Emotional effects

You might feel unwelcome or rejected by the organization to which you have devoted your time and effort when your employer fires you. However, you make the decision to leave when you resign. As a result of choosing your own terms, you are unlikely to harbor resentment toward your employer. Additionally, resigning employees frequently continue their relationships with their managers and coworkers, in contrast to terminated employees.

Unemployment eligibility

You typically need to have left your company without fault in order to receive unemployment benefits. For instance, you continue to be eligible for unemployment benefits if your employer fires you. However, if you were laid off rather than fired, your chances of obtaining unemployment benefits are higher. Even if you claim that your dismissal was unfair or unrelated to how you performed at work, you might still be eligible for unemployment benefits. If you resign, you typically forfeit your unemployment benefits eligibility.

Future employment

Finding a new job opportunity is typically more difficult for fired employees. If you want to land a new job, you should concentrate on the benefits of being fired rather than the criticism that usually follows. For instance, a hiring manager may question why they should hire you if they are aware that you were fired by your previous employer. Being truthful can facilitate respectful and cordial dialogue with a potential employer. Since you made the decision to leave your job, it is simpler to present the situation favorably to potential employers when you resign.

Employment references

Employees who leave an employer on good terms typically have a better chance of getting a favorable reference from that company. On the other hand, if someone is fired, their former employer might say something unfavorable because of the circumstances.


Is it better to be terminated or resign?

You won’t have to explain to potential employers why you were fired if you resign, which is another advantage. When you resign from a job, you can present your departure favorably. However, there are benefits to being terminated, as well. If you aren’t fired from your job, you can’t receive unemployment benefits.

Can I be terminated after I resign?

Most of the time, after you give notice, an employer can fire you and stop paying you. That’s because most U. S. workers are employed at will. This means that, as long as there is no evidence of discrimination against you, the company may terminate your employment at any time and for any reason—or for no reason at all.

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