Separation for Contractual Employee – Out of the woods?

An employer defines every role with a view to its requirement. When a role is deep-rooted to the business of the organization, it would require continuity. Thus it blooms as a full time employment. Similarly, there are roles, which arise with business cycles and may cease within a fixed duration. Even if these roles are crucial, yet the organization may not have the bandwidth, to declare these roles as full time employment. At this juncture, these roles are clubbed under the contractual employment often managed through vendors. This system is drawn to support the growth of business. Terms of service define the delivery for the vendor and the talent.  It further sets the payoff and benefits offered by the employer.

Every employer-employee relationship extends until the employment lasts. At times alumni are built to weave in a pool of talent through the ex-employees. This helps to build the organizational brand beyond the employment. In this entire yarn, what happens to those employees, who are working in the vendor payroll or contractual positions? How are they strung into the organization’s Diaspora?

They are hired for positions, which are targeted for a shorter duration. They add value with the routine and non-routine tasks that they do. Often, as the requirement comes to a close, their contract ends. What happens, if it is initiated the other way round? How does the employer or the contractor process the exit for the contractual employee? Here’s a case as shared by our member with CiteHR, on such a separation

My wife was working for a well reputed IT company as an HR. She was on contractors’ pay roll. She had signed a contract with them for three months  but had to quit just eight days before her contract was about to get over. The reason being that her family relocated out of the city. She discussed and mentioned this in a resignation mail to all the concerned authorities.  After writing the resignation mail, she served for one more day and then had to quit. But she did not get any response from their side even though  She mailed them regularly to get a confirmation on her resignation.

After 25 days, she got a response from them stating that they will revert soon. After 45 days of resignation, she received a mail that her resignation had not been accepted, and that they would not issue any relieving letter to her. My question is that she had only eight days left to complete her contract. Since the reason to resign was very personal and she even waited for two days to get a response from them.  Nevertheless, after 45 days she got the above mentioned response. Kindly guide us.

Getting the facts right

  • An employee works as an HR with an IT Firm
  • She is hired as a contractual employee by a vendor to work for the firm.
  • Her contract is termed for three months.
  • She had to leave eight days before, to join her family in a different city.
  • The vendor doesn’t reply to her resignation.
  • When pursued, the vendor denies issuing any relieving document.

The big picture

  • Vendor – contractual employee : The employment with a vendor firm works on the basis of the terms of service as stated by the employer. The vendor follows additional terms to manage the resource pool. The rules are primarily to ensure continuity in the talent supply. The payoff between the employer and the vendor affect the talent, when the benefits and compensation require delivering the role seeps through the fissure. A close monitor of the performance and judicial payout can create a win-win situation.
  • Employer and contractual employee: The employer stands clear about the duration and deliveries for the contractual position. The employee who works as assigned by the vendor to an employer, gets designated as a contractual employee. This entails that the responsibilities, the benefits and decision making capabilities would be designed differently in comparison to a full-time employee. To begin with, this talent would have a different employee identity number, email id and other types of access would be provided only on requirement. Certain contractual roles can be at a senior level, though the majority of such contractual roles lie in the routine jobs at the entry level and lower-mid level. There are career paths drawn within the company. If there are any open positions, when the contract ends, the talent is hired as a full-time employee.

Employee’s ‘status quo’?

The talent who takes up a contractual role requires examining and preparing for certain areas. It’s best for the talent, to deal on their own, as an entity to mitigate every risk. There are chances that the employer would hire this talent as a full time employee. Though, it would depend on several factors. In other words, there are no guarantees that the talent would be hired, as FTE. The experience gained is valued, hence the position is taken up. Furthermore, the duration is declared. This allows the talent to plan their career with a view to see how the contractual position would weigh on their career in the long term. It accentuates growth when focused, as a value add rather than a stop-gap arrangement.

The trouble propagates, when there are discrepancies in the system. It culminates in to defects in the process, as stated in the case shared by our member. Here are certain mitigations to be considered while taking up a contractual role:

  • Keep a clear view of the job. Understand the contract accurately. Identify every clause which may be susceptible to any breach and rewire them.
  • Maintain the sign offs of tasks and responsibilities undertaken. In case there are additional duties attached to the initial KRA, document it. If the employer or the vendor does not commence, it’s best to be initiated by the talent claiming the communication.
  • Maintain that the point of delivery, service offering and reporting are clearly noted in writing. Avoid any scope of ambiguity. Issue documents in a soft and hard copy format, i.e., in congruence with email and courier.
  • In the worst case scenario, when no document is issued at the point of relieving, consider the documents issued in the beginning and exchanged during the contract.
  • A breach of contract requires to be dealt legally. Consulting a lawyer for an advice would be the best way out.
  • Offer a settlement through the payment of dues, if any.
  • Follow a complete knowledge transfer process. Document it and ensure sign-off. Maintain a copy of the sign-off.
  • Set the communication clear, stating the reason to the sudden termination of the services offered, without any scope for ambiguity. Offer dedicated support in writing towards the hand over of duties and knowledge transfer. Mark a copy to the reporting authorities and request for a response.
  • Set reminders, if required.
  • Finally, lest an apathetic employer, ensure a closure of communication. Notify that no response from them would be considered as closure.

The uniqueness of a situation would require newer measures. The solution which might have worked for a few contractual talents may not work for others. Hence, the best strategy would be to zero down, on the terms of service and environmental attributes.

Tell us, how you would troubleshoot in a situation like this? Have you ever worked in a contractual position? Alternatively do you know someone like this, who could manage their way out of the woods? Please share those experiences with us. We are listening!