Notice Periods in Workplaces

Are you tired of being blindsided by unreasonable and long notice periods when you're about to leave a job? Do you feel like you're being punished for resigning from your current position? Or have you noticed that your colleagues are receiving unequal notice periods based on their seniority or job position? Well, you're not alone.

Unreasonable and long notice periods are all too common in the corporate world. They are periods of time during which an employee is required to continue working after they have given notice of their intention to resign. While notice periods are necessary to ensure that companies have time to find a replacement, unreasonable and long notice periods can be problematic for employees.

“The notice period in Indian workplaces has become a nightmare for many employees, as they have to give up opportunities due to lengthy notice periods. Employers expect new hires to be available to join within 15 days or less but require employees to work on a contract basis during their notice period, which can last up to three months. During the pandemic, some companies ignored the emotional, mental, and physical challenges employees faced and failed to provide job security, causing a surge in labour turnover. Notice periods, regardless of the industry, have expanded from 15 days to one or two months, and negotiable options have disappeared.” Aishwarya Kadam, HR Manager, Green Rain Studios

Furthermore, some employers may retaliate against employees who resign by imposing harsh notice periods or other consequences. This is a common tactic used to discourage employees from leaving, as employers may view resignations as disloyal and detrimental to the company. Such consequences can include denial of benefits, negative job references, or even litigation.

“I texted my manager and I was feeling like I'm stuck. My clients have left, and my work is transferred. I can’t even take sick or regular leaves on my notice period, otherwise, my notice will be extended. I am getting 30% of my salary right now and they will hold my Full and Final settlement for 3 months.” said Rifa Vanoo.

Impact on Employees

Are you tired of being held hostage by an unfair three-month notice period? Do you dread the thought of searching for a new job while being stuck in your current one for what feels like an eternity? Well, you're not alone. Unfair notice period practices can have a significant impact on employees, causing stress, and anxiety, and even limiting their chances of finding a new job. It's time to take action and boycott the three-month notice period industry-wide.

Reduced chances of finding the next job

A three-month notice period may, in the candidate's opinion, lessen their chances of landing a job with a new firm because the interval between getting recruited and beginning work is unknown. The phrase "offer shopping" is used to characterise this behaviour. The offer-drop ratio and offer shopping go hand in hand. Some workers choose not to join the new organisations, stay with the old ones, or just start working for another organisation altogether. In the span of three months, a lot may occur.

Stress and Anxiety for Employees

Unreasonable and short notice periods can cause a great deal of stress and anxiety for employees. When they feel trapped in their jobs or uncertain about their future, it can take a toll on their mental health and well-being. They may feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and powerless, which can affect their productivity and performance at work.

Moreover, if employees are not given enough time to prepare for their departure, they may feel rushed and unprepared for the next stage of their careers. This can cause them to feel anxious and uncertain about their ability to find a new job or succeed in a new role.

“I wanted to share another terrible thing that has happened. It's about the hybrid working policy at my company. I work remotely, and initially, we were required to attend the office for five days every quarter. However, recently they removed the hybrid policy, and now even those in Mumbai have to attend the office twice a week. To make things worse, the company has introduced a policy where if you miss two days continuously, they cut one day's salary. Since I'm not attending the office at all this month, I won't be receiving seven days' worth of salary.” Rifa Vanoo who is serving her notice period told us.

Hindrance to Career Growth and Opportunities

Unfair notice period practices can also hinder employees' career growth and opportunities. When employees are bound to a notice period that is longer than what is reasonable, they may miss out on other career opportunities that come their way. This can limit their professional growth and development, leaving them feeling stagnant and unfulfilled in their current role.

Additionally, if employees are punished for resigning by imposing harsh notice periods or other consequences, they may feel discouraged from taking risks or pursuing new opportunities. This can lead to a lack of innovation and creativity within the company, as employees become complacent and unwilling to take on new challenges.

Lack of Trust and Loyalty in Employers

“I decided to leave the company due to various issues, including their unwillingness to wait for me to relocate in July. Although I was ready to relocate by then, they refused to let me work remotely for two months and insisted that I be physically present. However, they had no problem with me serving my notice period remotely for three months. They were not providing me with any clarity on my appraisals, which made the situation even more confusing. Ultimately, I realized that they were not going to wait for me to relocate, so I decided to leave. I told the HR person that other people had made similar decisions in the past.” Rifa Vanoo told us

When employees feel that they are not being treated fairly, it can cause them to lose faith in their employer and the company as a whole. This can lead to high turnover rates, as employees look for opportunities elsewhere.

What can Organisations do?

Employees have reported that companies stop treating them as employees and start treating them as outsiders during the notice period. Their perks and benefits are taken away, access gets revoked without communication, and there is very minimal communication. We also talked about how long the notice periods should be?

  1. No notice is required if you have only been employed for only a month or less
  2. One week's notice if you have worked with the company for up to two years
  3. One week for each year of employment if you have been at your job for between two and 12 years
  4. 12 weeks' notice for more than 12 years working at a company

Why these figures? To give employees and companies adequate time to transfer, say goodbyes and move on.

Notice Periods should be Same for All Employees

It is essential to establish a uniform notice period for all employees, irrespective of their position. Personal life should also be considered while setting notice periods. A clear and uniform policy ensures that employees understand what is expected of them, and the organization can plan accordingly. “I am at a senior band, so my notice period is 60 days, for VP level it is 90 days and for juniors it is 45 days. Since my KRA was already transferred, I am doing intern work now.” said Rifa Vanoo.

Negotiating Notice Periods:

Companies with longer notice periods should be ready to negotiate. While notice periods can be negotiated, it can be challenging in niche markets such as the IT industry. In such cases, training current employees to fill the gap is a better option than compromising the quality of work.

Unethical practices such as holding documents and not updating PF exit dates should be avoided, and employees should be treated with the same respect and consideration at the exit as they are at the beginning of their relationship. Organisations should find a middle ground that serves both employees and them.

Building a Competent Workforce:

“Companies should focus on building a competent workforce through training and certifications. This ensures that the resignation of a valuable employee does not affect the organization's functioning. Companies should also keep a lookout for niche talent and maintain backups in case such an opportunity arises.” - said Aishwarya Kadam

Handling Emergencies:

Aishwarya Kadam also mentioned “During emergencies, employees should be given the freedom to decide whether to take a break or sabbatical from work. Pushing them to come to work will only demotivate them and affect their mental and physical health. Employers should show empathy, provide financial aid, and ensure medical care, but ultimately the individual needs space and time to deal with their family emergency.”

Avoid Challenges with Background Verification

When an employee leaves a company, challenges with background verification and transitioning to a new employee can arise. It can be difficult to get the necessary information from an employee who has already completed the handover process and is not actively working on a project. Follow-ups may be necessary with the other organization to ensure a smooth transition. Organisations should promptly help the employee move on to their next job.

Employee-Centric Full and Final Settlement

“Full and final settlement should be employee-centric, as it is built on trust. Employees are still technically part of the organization until their notice period is up, and their names are associated with the projects they work on. This means that they have a vested interest in the success of these projects, and they deserve recognition for their contributions. Companies that prioritize employee satisfaction and engagement are more likely to retain employees and see better performance.” Aishwarya told us.

Challenges During a Cash Crunch

“After the pandemic, many organizations are facing a cash crunch, which can make it challenging to hire new employees. There may be an unsaid gestation period where organizations are trying to hold back as much as possible, which can make it difficult for individuals who are not willing to take financial risks. It's important to remember that employees should not be put on contract for a certain number of years, as this can lead to uncertainty and a lack of trust. Instead, organizations should prioritize employee engagement and satisfaction to retain talent and ensure success.” Aishwarya told us

Ideally, a short notice time of one week to one month will have improbable effects on hiring and personnel management procedures. A strong management structure inside the organisation may result from this. It may be quite advantageous to have a strong succession plan and enough people to fill unfilled jobs as needed. It will lessen the need for a protracted notice period and a succession plan that is assured for those who are staying on. It will also lead to a speedy turnaround for new joining, in addition. Three months of waiting is difficult for the fledgling business and HR.

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