Voluntary Separations (Resignations and Retirements)


Effective Date: Expiration Date: Chapters:
Oct. 31, 2022 When Superseded 2   9   36   38  


From time to time, employees will leave District government service to pursue new opportunities. This issuance provides guidance on how an employee may voluntarily separate from the District government, and how agencies should process voluntary separations.

This issuance supersedes issuance I-8-53, 9-25, 36-3 & 38-12, effected March 26, 2008.

Voluntary Separations

A District government employee may choose to voluntarily separate from their employment by resigning or retiring from their position. A separation action is considered “voluntary” if the employee:

  • Is free to choose;
  • Understands the transaction;
  • Is given a reasonable time to make his or her choice; and
  • Is allowed to set the effective date of the action.


Resignations are initiated when an employee informs their manager or HR representative that they are leaving District government employment. While written notice and professional courtesy is preferred, a resignation may be made verbally or through action (e.g., walking off the job). (See attachments 1 and 2, Sample Resignation Letter and Sample Resignation Email, for drafting guidance.)

Regardless of how an employee resigns, the employing agency must explain in writing their understanding of the resignation and provide the employee an opportunity to correct any misunderstandings. (See attachment 3, Receipt of Resignation, for an example of an acknowledgement of an employee’s resignation.)

Effective Date

When an employee submits a written resignation or otherwise indicates they are resigning and the employee does not specify the effective date, then the resignation is effective the following day. Otherwise, the effective date shall be the date supplied by the employee.

Withdrawing a Resignation

Once an agency acknowledges an employee’s resignation in writing, the resignation action shall be deemed complete. However, an agency may, at its discretion, void a resignation action upon request of the employee at any time prior to the effective date of the resignation. Attachments 4 and 5 illustrate how this process is completed.

Note: If an agency fails to supply an employee written confirmation of the employee’s resignation, the employee may withdraw the proposed resignation at any time prior to the effective date of the resignation unless the agency has relied upon the resignation notice to its or to another’s detriment (e.g., administrative disruption; or the hiring or commitment to hire a replacement). Attachment 6 provides a template of how to deny a resignation rescission.


Retirement is another form of a voluntary separation. In the District government, covered employees are eligible to retire if they meet the following conditions:

  1. They were hired on or after October 1, 1987;
  2. They are enrolled in the 401(a) Plan;
  3. They received a Social Security Award Letter; and
  4. They have a minimum of 10 years of District government service.

Retirement Benefits

The District government provides retirement benefits to those employees invested in the following:

  1. A defined contribution plan pursuant to § 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”);
  2. A deferred compensation plan benefit, as provided in § 457(b) of the IRC; and
  3. Social Security, as provided in Chapter 7 of Title 42 of the U.S. Code.

Retirement Plan Participation

Employees hired after September 30, 1987 into covered positions are eligible for participation in the 401(a) Plan and become vested after one year of creditable service. Employees who separate from the District but return within one year of separation are restored into the 401(a) program immediately. For more information on the District’s benefits plans, contact [email protected].

Requesting and Processing Voluntary Separations

As a professional courtesy, employees are encouraged to provide at least two weeks’ notice to the anticipated effective date of their separation from the District government. 

  1. Employees should submit their notice of resignation or retirement in writing, preferably through email. However, if an employee resigns or retires without providing a written notice, the manager or HR Advisor must send written correspondence to the employee detailing their understanding of the employee’s decision to resign or retire and provide the employee an opportunity to dispute that understanding. A copy of this correspondence, along with any confirmations from the employee, shall be placed in the employee’s official personnel folder (OPF).
  2. Employees who voluntarily separate from the District government are encouraged to provide feedback on their experience with working for the District government, how their experience could have been improved, and their reason for separating.
  3. Agencies should note the reason for the employee’s separation in the remarks section on the SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action.
  4. The agency’s HR Advisor should submit the personnel action documentation to the District’s Department of Human Resources to ensure the action is processed prior to the effective date.


The references section provides an enumerated list of hyperlinks to related content. The related content includes related issuances, opinions, regulations, statutes, and any other appropriate materials.

  1. Chapter 2, Talent Acquisition (6-B DCMR § 200 et seq.)
  2. Chapter 9, Excepted Service (6-B DCMR § 900 et seq.)
  3. Chapter 36, Legal Service (6-B DCMR § 3600 et. seq.)
  4. Chapter 38, Management Supervisory Service (6-B DCMR § 3800)


  1. Attachment 1 – Sample Resignation Letter
  2. Attachment 2 – Sample Email Resignation Letter
  3. Attachment 3 – Receipt of Resignation
  4. Attachment 4 – Resignation Recission Request
  5. Attachment 5 – Acceptance of Resignation Rescission
  6. Attachment 6 – Denial of Resignation Rescission

Issued by Interim Director E. Lindsey Maxwell II, Esq., D.C. Department of Human Resources on Oct. 31, 2022, 9:14 a.m.