Dilemma- Notice Period

Virat, appeared for an interview and after qualifying through all the rounds; during the negotiation stage he was asked:

Interviewer: When can you join the company?

Virat: I have to serve a two months’ notice period.

Interviewer: Mr. Virat, we cannot linger this position for two months.

Virat: After a hiatus, ok, Sir I will try to talk to the HR department for early relieving.

Interviewer: We would like you to join in 20 days.

Virat: That would be complicated but I will try to cope as I have some leave balance.

Interviewer: Alright then, here is your offer letter.

Virat: Thank you (he signs the letter).

This is what happens with many of us….isn’t it? Now let’s see another scenario where Virat resigned from this company:

Same Interviewer (HR Person): You have to serve the notice period of three months.

Virat: But Sir, I cannot do that, I have some leave balance which can be adjusted or else I will pay the amount for 2 months and serve one month notice period.

HR Person: That is not possible Virat; the position is crucial and requires a proper handover to the new person who will be taking over.

Virat: Sir, Handing over will not take much time, it will be done in one month; but I have to join the new company in a month’s time.

HR Person: No, Virat, this will not be possible or else we will have to go the legal way.

So, dear friends what do these two scenarios depict? The same person who asked Virat to join in 20 days is not ready to relieve him in one month’s time. Question here is, why do we have such double standards? As an HR professional isn’t it our responsibility to create and design policies in a manner beneficial to both the company and the employee? When you want a person in your company, you show them fear of loss of the opportunity and ask them to negotiate with the notice period, and once you are faced with  a similar situation the entire world goes upside down and you threaten them with legal proceedings.

There have been many queries recently on the forum about not serving the notice period, legal proceedings by companies and relieving letter, and the crux of all such posts happen to be the same. Here is an example:

I worked with an Indian IT major, my employment was on contract for first 9 months and later they made me permanent 3 months ago in Jan. I was not very happy with my profile and package and in between got an offer from some other company who wanted me to join in 15 days.

I put the resignation in the tool (online) stating that I have got an offer from some other company who are paying me better and also told them (verbally) that I have some financial issues in family hence need this job anyhow and will not be able to serve 2 months’ notice. I also told them in writing that I am willing to give ‘notice pay’. My manager paid no heed to it and said that he could not relieve me until I served the 2 months notice (nor could he increase my salary or change my role in the team) and I would have to give KT to the replacement. I kept requesting them for 2 weeks (post resignation) but they did not consider my request , hence I left the company (told my reporting manager over the phone) and submitted the laptop (took receipt from the IT dept) and joined the other company.

My new employer knows the entire scenario.

After one week of joining I got a call from HR (of previous co.) stating that they will send me a legal notice as I have not given proper KT and will run an absconding action against me which means that I will not get the relieving letter and experience letter and the full and final settlement will not be done either.

I want to know what can be the implications or consequences of this legal notice , can they send it to me even after I have stated that I am ready to pay the notice pay amount and have also submitted the laptop?

Sometimes I wonder, when will our HR Managers learn to be austerely professional while handling such matters and accept resignation without taking it as rejection. How do we edify the significance of the notice period to both the parties? We all have started taking it for granted. Why such a scurry to hire a person when in need and then when the same person (has become habitual) desires you to relieve him/her early, why bully them with trepidation of going legal etc. Manipulation is not HR’s job but still we all live it out in our day-to-day life.

Practice of notice period, in companies, was introduced to grant a respite to both the employee and the employer, in order to reconcile them in their respective roles, for the employer it is vital as they can hire opposite replacement and proper handling over can be completed. Employee gets the benefit of bidding good bye on a positive note which creates constructive reference for them in future.

Is there any record available somewhere which depicts how many employees leave a company without serving the notice period even after being threatened by the HR department about going the legal way? Also how many employers really go to the extent of filing a legal suit against such employees (apart from sending a legal notice)? I seriously won’t think there will be many unless something of severe nature absolutely demands such an action from the employer.

So, the practice is very normal, then why are we adamant on having a notice period for such a long duration when we cannot make our employees adhere to it, in fact we only entice them to do such things in the first place. The policies are drafted keeping in mind the suitability of both the employer and the employee, with such practices of not serving notice period, who is getting the advantage?

Settle on, consider and then transform policies for the benefit of all!

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