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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  • Tapankumarbanerjee

    Excellent and very useful ,specially for young people

  • Engkumorris

    I agree to have an understanding from both parties. And hopefully there will be one common policy on notice period, that is one month. The staff may have no more heart to work in your company yet you want to stop them from leaving, for me this will do more harm than good.

  • sgv

    Irony it is …HR professionals -who are suppose to be seen as the protectors / care takers of employees interest only turn into custodians of the policies and in doing that too there are no beneficiaries!!! Why continue with a practice / norm that is resulting into a whole lot of dissonance, ill practices, uneasyiness and setting a wrong trend in the company. WAKE UP and MAKE THE CHANGE!!!

  • Prasant kumar

    Thank you so much for citing wonderful and an ongoing issue.As a HR professional I strongly raise the standard of taking one month & asking one month working day notice period. If somebody takes leave that will be counted extra.This is a purely win win proposition…prashant Padhi(Manager HR)

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thanks Sgv for briefing out the gist of the write up. Across industries such wrong practices actually hampers the growth of high potential talents. We just Hope this editorial will help HR professionals understand what they are doing incorrect. Thanks Again!!

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thanks Prasant…Its only we the HR fraternity who can bring changes in the companies…..so Get set go!!!

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Very rightly cited…the truth is that the person who has already decided to leave will not be productive and chances are that negativity in the environment will increase…so its always better to let go……Thanks you very much for such contribution. Keep sharing such thoughts with all of us.

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thanks Tapan…..:)

  • M.Rajkumar

    Very pertinent issue.The said double standards are being practiced by several companies.It is high time to have a code of fair practices in HR.It is also advisable to have the compliance declared either in the Directors’ Report or in the corporate governance certification

  • Cyrilsunil

    good article and it happens in all industry. Some times the company that recruits even pays for the notice period, to ensure that the candidate joins early. Many of the times, the employees just put up the papers and never return making the company guess what next ? this is realy time sceniro… HR practices should standardize everywhere…

  • Rahul

    Nice article. I think HR should bring positive change in organizations having such environment. Seen some HRs just follow the employer and not even give the right picture in such situations. Even if we look at the value proposition by employee in notice period, it is actually a loss for company, infact many organizations take notice period salary as attrition cost reason being employee do not remain that productive during notice period and his/her psychological contract with the company is also about to end. Ironically some employer think that suck the employee as much as possible as anyway he is going. Whatever is the case we HR should inspire for positive change.

    Nice examples and very relevant topic.


  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Hi Rajkumar…excellent ideas..if only we all could start doing that…may be with your thoughts someone will put all this in practice as well. Thanks a lot for such valuable inputs…:)

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    agreed, and hope we all start implementing such changes at our respective workplace…Thanks Sunil for sharing your views…:)

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thanks Rahul, i feel this problem comes from both sides, employer and employee..hence both have to come to an agreement over notice period, this way or that. I’m glad as such positive responses are pouring in…:)

  • AA

    Thanks for the nice article. This is a serious issue we are facing now a days. I have a similar case again an example from an IT giant. Poor guy has to leave the offer as company has an ego. they can take resignation, put the person on desk for 3 months but will not relieve. The reason what we see is that the company was having high attrition rate and therefore this way was sorted out to the most convenient way.
    I feel 3 /2 months notice can still be acceptable for high ranks where the position can wait but for people who are in nascent phase of their careers, these kind of stringent rules will just jeopardize the whole system and we will see more and more absconding cases and HRs stuck is ruling legal actions.

  • Bjayashrestha

    Dear Archana,
    Great Articles, hope so many HR Bosses are get the chance to look this hot articles. Hope they are thinking how we can? and how we change our trends especially my thinking styles? Somehow it applies for employee too cause as a human being they are always selfish but problems are creating from both sides. When sit together and think from not our side but opposite sides, solution is not so far. I’m so happy to read this article and your broad thinking in different perspectives. May God Bless You!

    Archana, Can we relate this topics for Social Audit/Accounting Grid or can we discuss more this topics coming days because today’s organization and every employee need to know about this. Hope, we get a chance to read from you about Social Audit/Accounting Grid too.

    Bijaya K Shrestha
    Pokhara, Nepal

  • Rasal Vaidehi

    I totally agree with this.. in fact HR should change their policies for notice period. as when an employee resigns from the job he is least interested in doing the present work and there is no personal interest in doing work, and in such case there is no point in asking the person to wait for 2-3 months and paying him for that… infact considering charge handover procedure HR should just calculate the days required for handing over procedure and releave the person as early as possible.. this will be beneficial for the present organization and the employee too…

  • ameeta mehta

    believe me its a relief , thinking more on psychological side and as an hr profession when its time to make decision , this article gives you more broader concept to understand the issue more practically . thanks so much

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thanks Ameeta…i really hope the transformation should start now…such policies which is of no use or creates mere confusion and problems need to go now…:)

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Exactly my point, why would we put some one’s career in jeopardy, with our high egos. never understood that….the practice of 3 mnths notice period started for Higher/strategic level position and slowly it became a retention tool, which actually creates more confusion then retention. Thanks AA for your contribution, i’m glad people are taking it in right way.

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    I like this idea of calculating the no of days required for handling over and hiring replacement, depending upon position a person holds. i don’t think in any case it should take more than a month. Thanks Vaidehi….keep sharing!!

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Yes Mr Shrestha, its the time when we can bring some changes in our policies which generally are designed without giving much thought, most of the work is just copy and paste from other companies. So creative mind can start this new era with practical solutions and not just theoretical.

    As asked, will try to connect with you on social audit soon. Give me some time, as some research is required in this area will get back with this topic then. Till then keep reading other articles and keep sharing your valuable inputs.

    Thanks again.

  • Sudhir_pandey7312

    Nice article we may get befitted from it.
    Now days we are looking same story with most of cases in various Industries

  • Sureshkumar Palleti

    Very good one…. Keep on posting!!

  • May i know what can be the legal implications in this???….can the old employer also send a legal notice to the new employer that when we have not relieved our employee then how come you can absorb him….

  • May i know what can be the legal implications in this???….can the old employer also send a legal notice to the new employer that when we have not relieved our employee then how come you can absorb him….

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Hi Alok,I have not heard of any such incidence happening. But give me sometime can find out if legally we can do that and what would be the implications. Thanks for writing in…:)

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Thank you Suresh…..:)

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    O yes! very rightly mentioned, this saga of not completing notice period/ not being relieved properly is heard in every industry….Let us uniite and make changes in the not so practical and good on papers policies. Thanks Sudhir.

  • Kgscin

    In fact, we need to understand the problems of the employers also. An employee is not an marketable commodity. Corporates are just established for the manpower they need. Stepping into the shoes of a person becomes difficult when it is uncertain of a person to join the organization.

    We are facing two distinct problems – one ; there is an unemployment and the other ; we do not get an employable person. We lack skills, standards that are needed for the industry and other organisations.

    One employable employee gathers a number of offers and join only one of the organisations that have recruited him while the organisation faces an uncertainity how many of those will come and join the organisation sometimes it may very from 0 to 100% of the selected candidates.

    We generally do not think from different angels.

  • Kavigopal77


    Its a real scenario with all of us.We all face this situation of notice period. I feel its not just the notice period being buying out its the responsibilitytowards the current assignment what the HR is trying to make us understand. Just becos we have another job of our liking and interest we cannot leave our current assignment or company in lurge. All requirements/positions are urgent, we need to show how committed we are towards our work.I personally believe if i am excellent and very much needed definetly my future comapny will try to adjust the notice period to some extent after discussing with both (current orgn and also future) What are we going to achieving by leaving the organization in lurch for whom we have worked for good years and earned good name ? our exp letter,relievg letter will be held and so our F&F and also PF.Of course all this can be released with a proper discussion with HR and seniors. May be we can do the handover over weekend or so arrangement can be made by discussing mutally. I am sure the future company will also appreicate your commitment and would be more than happy to hire u.

    I feel rather running away and being termed as absconding its better we discuss it mutually .

    Independent Headhuter.

  • Anonymous

    Most of us will agree, HR is the department with the least powers, in a world where “human resource” is supposed to be the key for competition.

    How many of us can clearly indicate to the Operations team that the lead time required to release an individual will be the lead time required to hire for each position.

    For the IT industry, this problem is compounded when the greatly appreciated giants and industry leaders like Infy, Wipro have 3 month notice periods.

    This reflects weak management, when globally, and more so in the USA, software engineers and senior software engineers are generally released with 2 to 4 weeks of giving notice.

    It is critical for IT companies, to show greater leadership and not become person dependent. This scenario reflects IT industry’s inability to be dynamic inspite of large expenses of frameworks and standards implemented.

  • Iqbal


  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    thanks Iqbal…I’m obliged…..:)

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Hi Kavita..Agreed…and we all should keep it in mind…thats why practices of long notice period should be changed…what benefit hey will give…think about it. An employee who have recently resigned will not be productive for more than a specific time period…so why should keep him/her for long. Your point of view is also welcome….employee should take care of this also……….hence its mutual agreement between an employer and employee…:)

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Nice thoughts…thats also a important insight to this problem. but this will more of a loyalty issue, generally such practices are not found in countries like US…Corporates are established for the manpower and thats the least important resource in their list. think about it…and lets debate….

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    This is the point, some major conglomerates have started such practices and other companies have just blindly accommodated them in their policies. Lead time can be calculated though every time it may not be accurate, but yes it is possible to decide the lead time for hiring some critical positions. Thanks for sharing such nice insights….hope people are reading…………:) keep pouring in such valuable opinions..it helps us to learn and grow…

  • Gayathri Parttime


    As per my though we can make the notice period as 1 month,at the same time the replacement should be done as early as that has to be take care by HR.Based on this need to format a policy forboth Recruitment & Joining…

    watever it may be without the replacement of the employee the existing employee should not left the organisation.

  • Archna Khurana Sharma

    Yes Gayathri…point taken..but have seen that sometimes..people unnecessary delay hiring a replacement..which creates more problem. On the face of it they will say hiring is taking time but internally its a known delay….to avoid such cases a standard policy is required with minimum time period mentioned for hiring a replacement and proper hand over…thanks a lot for your views…keep sharing!!

  • viswanath

    I fully agree with all the above statments , In fact we has a HR should understand . Resigned employee prorities changes , it will lead to negativity affet in teh environment .

  • Satpreet Kaur

    Thanks for sharing this article.. its indeed a burning issue these days. The problem is much bigger than its seems.. It becomes worse when your employees ask for early relieve and the candidate ask to serve the complete notice period. We have also been facing the same menace. There has to be atleast industry-wide standard guidelines of notice period.  

  • Vaibhavi_adhav

    I agree with this. In fact the Management are taking advantage of this. Even if a person who is hospitalised, and cannot work they want him to serve the notice period and not buy the notice period.


     same i too consider hr people. they are meant to be helping us. but in fact, in some companies, they are harassing us… shame.