Bid Adieu with No Dues – Employee Separation Woes

A brilliant career with a firm , an excellent relationship with the reporting leaders can suddenly turn sour at the submission of a resignation. Often the sound track record for the employee is met with a cold treatment, often beyond the point of tolerance. Just as it takes two to tango so does this. The organizational functions are designed to follow a set of rules. When these are well understood, mistakes from both the parties can be mitigated to a great extent. Here are two cases, recently discussed by our members in CiteHR.

Case I : “My husband was working with XYZ section for about 2 years. He has been the best performer there in the Sales and had been independently handling the Pre-owned Car Section. He then got a better offer as the salary increment was not as per his expectations. He informed his immediate supervisor about the good opportunity and asked if 15 days notice period would be enough if he needs to leave the company on good terms, the supervisor agreed. He made a smooth handover of duties till the last date of the notice period and also kept sending mail reminders to the supervisor asking for any issue which required his attention before he leaves. He got no replies to the same after he left and joined another company, his supervisor at XYZ  section started coming up with all different issues which were held back due to delay from workshop or customer dissatisfaction due to the same wherein he has already contacted the customer and he doesn’t wish to continue. “

Case II : One of my friends resigned from a company, serving one month notice period. However, the employer asked for the new company’s  name. He shared it , now they are asking for the offer letter. He had been working for this company, since the last 3 years.  He was a very good performer, but now he is troubled. He wonders whether they will release his PF. As they may not give him any relieving letter. Kindly suggest what should he  do? Can he  take any legal action ?
Source: employer harassing

Heart of the matter
  • Understand the  work-flow of the exit-process. Leave no stone un-turned, in getting your doubts cleared, before you resign.
  • Identify the bottlenecks, which includes approvals to be issued by the decision makers and an over-burdened process-owner.
  • Document the communication, right from the submission of the resignation to every discussion with the concerned members. Take a printout of the prime communication and file it.
  • Follow the process without any non-adherence. Mark the completion of every step with a written communication, requesting an acknowledgement from the team. For example: Once you submit all the company owned Book, CD and laptop, write a mail requesting the team for an acknowledgement.
  • Follow up with formalities. Often certain formalities such as dues clearance may take upto 30 working days. Communicate at a regular interval, with the respective team member from the Finance team, to track the process.
  • Keep buffer time. Joining a new employer involves submission of the clearance documents. This is completed on the date of joining. Speak to the HR of the new firm about the reason for delay, supported with the documents.
Nick and dime
Every full and final settlement follows a calculation largely similar. There can be specific differences, which remain purely functional. The first part of this process is the time period which is generally 45 days. This is set to calculate and release the final payment of the employee. The salary freezed since the stop payment was raised, is used to calculate the remaining days of the notice period if not served. In case there were any earned leaves left in the employee’s leave balance, they are often encashed during the separation process. If the employee was eligible for any payment over and above the salary such as yearly incentive, which was applicable till the last date of working, this amount would be added post tax deduction. Purchase bills or any other tax declaration as applicable, would be calculated. Dues of any amount issued by the employer, but wasn’t repaid by the employee, requires to be deducted from the payables. The amount is released as a cheque issued for the employee.

Paper Tiger
This may sound ironical but documents issued in this process may run inconceivably long. The turn-around-time declared for each step needs to be humanly treated, yet accurately document lest the storm arise. Few main documents are resignation acceptance, no-dues or clearance certificate and relieving letter. The best solution is to offer a notice period buy-out in case any problem arises. This eases the pressure on the release. However, this may effortlessly happen if the handover of the duties and knowledge transfer have been signed off.
Human Factor
Every hire has its own learning curve. Whereas the bilablitiy remains standard. This tumults the operation leaders and derails the training process. Therefore, the stern and cold behavior from the reporting leaders remain obvious. Often best maintained professional relationships fail to flag off a smooth exit. The only solution that remains is to follow a sound process and keep a buffer time to deal with any delay.


  • Case I: It lies solely in documenting performance feedback and filing them for further reference. Any appreciation received from the client or certificates received for performance can vouch for potential. Furthermore, The Knowledge Transfer processes during the handover period requires to be documented with acknowledgement from the receiving personnel. Every allegation needs to be dealt sensitively, yet firmly with data. This will prove beneficial during the background verification process. A sound filing of the communication removes every chance of here-say.
  • Case II: It remains in requesting for a written communication on the disclosure of the job information as offered by the future employer. Often, this is asked during the exit process to gauge the competitor or the players in the talent market to whom one is losing the talent to. However, if a resignee disagrees to share it, the privacy of the individual needs to be respected.

Leaving on a good note remains the moto, yet a friction may sever ties. Staying focused on what matters would keep the process productive. Tell us your experiences and how did you handle them ?

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  • Anand Kumar

    Nice article….

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  • I wish it were that simple. I have seen employers really angry at people leaving.They feel that somehow they failed. It is much like a divorce. If there is no shared objective to make the process smooth and trouble free, then it doesn’t work. Also employers need to look at past employees as ambassadors to their company who will talk (for the rest of their lives) about experiences in that company. Do you really want to send out people with a bad experience? Can you swallow your pride for the time being? Also there are those who make a counter offer. In many many cases I know this is counter-productive. They think “all this while the company has not valued me, NOW they offer me a better pay?” The best thing would be to keep the door open so that the employee goes elsewhere and may come back with additional valuable experience. Think of lifelong relationships with employees, whether they are IN your company or not.

  • Dear Sir,

    Thankyou for adding your wisdom and weaving the message in such a well defined manner. The ego issues and business risks remain the reasons behind the soured exit processes. Toxic attitude and behavior kills both the parties equally, which no matter how much it is known , effortlessly challenges the implementation.
    Thankyou once again for sharing your views.


  • Anonymous

    I agree with Dr. Fenn… Companies need to be open to people who want to leave. Most times that is not the case (the shared objective?). From overburdening employees on notice to making false allegations and ‘proving’ them, we often find this to be a grave situation. More so because the leaving employee is often on the ‘other’ side and often political rivalries (and the political situation) tend to make the leaving person the ‘scapegoat’.

    I think the easiest solution, from a policy perspective, is to work on improved recruitment practices. Most times company HR professionals give undue weightage to relieving, knowing fully well that the end result may not reflect the truth! But are the HR ready for such a thing? Am not too sure.

    All in all, if a company isn’t truthful of what they do. what they want to do and the way they do things, there is nothing left for one to do in order to save the sanctity of the separation process. Many thinkers believe that most companies are truthful, while some people in them may not be! Well, as you are only as strong as your weakest link, the corporate environment is as truthful as… you know what!!!

    And as last words, Nabomita, keeping records is more to prepare oneself for a litigation. In short, it is based on a potential conflict and a trust deficit. Most disputes are initially handled within the company; thereby making the ‘just’ treatment an impossible one (or nearly so)… So, if the shared objective is anyway not there, one is naturally heading towards a courtroom drama… I am not sure if most professionals have the time and the money to go for that.