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Question
QUESTION: Dear Sir,
I resigned from my current employer on 27th Nov. As per my appointment letter I need to serve 2 months notice period. I am willing to serve this notice but my salary for November 2012 is kept on hold by employer. I approached accounts, HR and my reporting manager for the same. And they told me They will pay me only after successful completion of notice period and all the settlement will be done after 15 days from my last working day. In this sense I will not get salary for Nov., December and January, and they will pay every thing in Feb 2013 as full and final settlement.
For me it is almost impossible to manage my finances without
salary for almost three and half month.
Can I leave organization without service notice period? and what will be legal implications on me if do so.
I joined this organization on Sept. 2012 and want to leave as I found my current work is mismatching with my skill sets. I approached my reporting manager for the same but he did not respond positively so I decided to quit.
Please advice.

ANSWER: Dear Subhash
It can indeed be painful to not get paid for 3 to 3.5 months and have to manage one's life. What you are experiencing is somewhat surprising though some organizations do behave strangely.

They are perhaps being over cautious in holding back the payment till full & final settlement to ensure that you do complete your commitment.

As far as leaving earlier is concerned, from a technical perspective, it is important to understand the exact clause in your appointment letter. Normally there is an option to offset the notice period with the leave balance. I do not know if that is an option. If it is and you have leave to your credit, you could request your company to adjust it against that.

If there is no such option then, in some way the contract is unfair and can be challenged in court. Yet, doing that will be a waste of time, energy & money.

In life it helps to maintain relationships and leave on an amicable note unless there are strong compulsions to leave abruptly. If there are, do let me know.

In case you choose to leave early, how your company reacts will depend on their culture. Some organizations may overlook it and delay the payment but release it eventually. Some may hold it back and wait for the individual to raise a case. In the bargain most never do since they have also wronged.

My suggestion would be that you share your concern about managing your finances with your supervisor &/ or HR and request for some release of money to meet your monthly needs. This of course assumes that you are, as you said, willing to serve the 2 months notice. Chances are you will reach an amicable solution. This will also help you manage your relationships for future.

If you are completely pushed to the wall and you do want to take it up strongly, then there are other ways to bring the organization to its knees. For example sharing the practice that the organization is following can lead to a bad name and the organization may not want that (depending on how reputed it is today). Yet, in the bargain, you may end up severing your ties.

So, do think about all this. Hope this helps you as a starting point. If there are other thoughts that arise on reading this, do write back. I will be happy to respond further. All the best.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Sir Thanks for the your guidance. Here is the condition related notice period as per my appointment letter.
"This appointment has a probation of period of six months from the date of appointment.During your probation period in case you decide to terminate this appointment, you are required to serve a two months prior written notice or pay salary in lieu of notice."

As of now I have completed all the handover activities planed and now no work for last 3 days. Even I approached my manager and asked if he can release me early or release my salary if he still want me to serve notice, but he is not telling anything firm. I approached HR also but both pointing to each other for further decision.
I really want to leave on healthier note but it seems I have not left with options. So can I straight forward tell them that I am leaving immediately and company can do settlement against notice from my salary hold by them.

Answer
Dear Subhash
I understand your situation. Sitting around in office with nothing to do and not getting paid either is painful.

Leaving early in lieu of notice pay is an option you could exercise. The point is, do you have another option once you leave the job? If so, what have you communicated to them about your joining?

It will help if you explain your situation to your new employer so that they support you in your decision. They will also need to be prepared to accept you without a relieving letter just in case your current organization decides to act funny.

If they agree it will make your decision easier. Else, I would suggest that you attempt to reason out with your boss once more saying that it is unfair on both you & the organization to keep you for 2 months with no work. Suggest to him to give you a short term project for 3-4 weeks. This will do two things - one is that you will be meaningfully occupied. Secondly, it will send a signal to your current employer that you are sincere and want to contribute till the end. This is likely to create a positive attitude towards you and they may be willing to release some money in the meantime.

Hope this helps. Do revert with your thoughts & the outcome if you try out these thoughts. All the best.

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Pankaj Bhargava

Expertise

Questions related to choice of career, inter-personal issues at the workplace, performance management issues, structure issues, compensation structuring issues, culture building issues, linking HR with org. strategy

Experience

22 years in HR and Org. Development, designing & facilitating interventions, leading an HR team of an Indian multinational & facilitating multiple organizations across industries to build the desired culture to serve business need

Publications
HR magazine of TISS (an HR institute of repute - Tata Institute of Social Sciences)

Education/Credentials
B. Tech (Chemical Engineering) from IIT Mumbai (one of the most reputed engineering school in India) and PGDM (MBA) from IIM Kolkata (one of the most reputed management institutes in India).

Awards and Honors
Was awarded the Gold Medal for excellence in HR by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce at IIM

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