What Is A Notice Period And How Long Is It?

Sometimes, in our careers, we reach a point where we need to move on. Leaving behind a workplace which helped you grow as a person can be difficult. 

However, following proper notice period guidelines can make this transition smooth. Serving a proper notice period is considered being respectful, courteous, and professional. 

Keep reading to find out all you need to know about notice periods.

What is the purpose of a notice period?

Notice Period is the time range from when an employee lets the company know of his/her decision to leave, till their last working day. The notice period helps the company plan the next course of action, like hiring a replacement and training them for the easier transition. Notice period helps an employee finish pending projects and knowledge transfer to the successor.

If the company decides to terminate an employee (for reasons other than misconduct or misappropriation), they also have to give a notice period. This helps the employee look for a new job and plan their future.

During the notice period, an employee needs to complete the following tasks:

  • Complete all the pending tasks or projects
  • Share knowledge with other colleagues or transfer knowledge to the successor
  • Pay all dues within the company
  • Submit all the company’s assets like laptops, ID cards, keys, company-provided cars, club memberships, etc.
  • Complete all HR related release documentation

How long is a notice period?

The notice period may vary from company to company and as per your role in it. The terms of the notice period are always mentioned in your employment letter. Notice period mostly ranges between 1-3 months in most companies.

How to hand in your notice?

Notice should always be handed over in writing. It can be a simple email or a formal resignation letter to HR or your reporting manager. However, It is always recommended to inform your reporting manager verbally about your decision to leave the organization before handing over the formal resignation.

When does the notice period start?

The notice period effectively starts from the day you hand over the formal resignation in writing. The resignation letter should include your current position/designation that you’re resigning from and the last work date.

Negotiating a notice period

If you need to leave earlier than your notice period time, you will need to request an early release. Granting this request is the company’s decision and can be based on your work and relation with the company.

Leaving without serving your notice

This approach is usually never recommended as this may lead to burning the bridges with your present employer after all the hard work you have put in. It may also impact your market reputation as a professional. If, for some reason, you are unable to serve your complete notice period, it is always advisable to negotiate and reach a mutually agreed period. Sometimes, though very rarely, not serving the notice period can also expose you to legal hassles.

Payment In Lieu Of Notice (PILON) 

When the employer lets the employee leave without actually serving the notice period, the employer is legally bound to pay the amount due for that period along with all benefits. This is called Payment In Lieu Of Notice (PILON). In some cases, if the employee wants to leave early without serving the complete notice period, the employee can also pay the company in lieu of the notice period and early relief from your responsibilities.

Gardening Leave

In certain cases, like if an employee has access to confidential or restricted information, the employer may want you to stop going to work immediately. In such cases, you will be entitled to the full payment and benefits for the notice period. Also, in cases of gardening leave, you will still be considered an employee till the last day of your notice period, even though you might not be going to work. In most cases, you cannot take up another job during this period. The term “Gardening leave” originated in the British civil service and was called so as the employee is kept away from work but can spend time pursuing hobbies, like gardening.

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