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Dear Friends, Plz tell me the difference between suspension and termination. Is suspension is a punishment or not , and where is provisions about it ? Regards, Amit.
From India, Kanpur

Dear Amit,

As the name suggests, termination means separation or severance of employer-employee relation. Normally, the termination is by Employer. When the same occurs from the side of employee, we call it resignation.

Suspension is in two way. Both have different purposes. Suspension is effected pending something to happen.

In other words, if an employee has committed a serious misconduct such as life threats to superiors, willful damage to property, sabotage etc. then in such circumstances, he is suspended pending disciplinary action which may lead to termination. So, the employer has a right suspend an employee in critical circumstances till a decision to take a final action is taken. The suspended employee is entitled to subsistence allowance during his suspension. Also, if no action is decided, then he is also entitled to all benefits such as full wages of the intervening period, continuity of service etc.

The other suspension is by way of punishment.

There are various types of punishments such as: Warning, Fine, Suspension for not more than 4 Days, Discharge and Dismissal which is the last punishment. They are in increasing order depending upon the gravity of misconduct. The last 3 punishments are inflicted only after a disciplinary inquiry is made in which charges are established.

You can find the list of misconduct, punishments and procedure in the Industrial Employment Standing Orders Act in which Model Standing Orders are prescribed.

From India, Kolhapur


While I agree with points made by Adv. Kulkarni, permit me state my take on this matter.

"Termination" and "Suspension" are two mutually exclusive issues.

Putting an end to the contract of employment, whether by the employer (as a result of disciplinary action or by superannuation in the natural course or by an employee deciding to terminate the contract of employment (resignation, Voluntary Retirement etc.) indicates end of "employer-employee" relationship between the employee and the employer.

"Suspension" can be either by way of Punishment (and can not be for more than FOUR days for one matter) as a response to some defined misconduct on the part of the employee does not put an end to the contract of employment or a break in service. It is just that the contract of employment is "suspended" and NOT terminated. Therefore the employer-employee relationship continues. The other type of "suspension" is by way of an action to suspend the employee in response to a defined misconduct pending investigation, procedural compliance and the employer's final decision in the matter. The Law (Industrial Employment (S.O.) Act 1946) permits such an action but within stipulated parameters. This is NOT punishment contemplated under the act. It is resorted to only in cases of SERIOUS misconducts when the management consider continued presence of the accused employee to be detrimental to evidence or a threat to the complaints and/or witnesses or to the plant and property of the organization. However here also the employer-employee relationship is put in suspended animation but not by way of punishment. It is for these reasons suspension pending investigation etc. has to be handled very carefully as otherwise it may be viewed as a bias on the part of the employer and it could then vitiate/dilute the ultimate quantum of punishment in litigation, if it leads to that!



October 28, 2013


From India, Pune

This is part of the post of Mr Samvedan
"Suspension" can be either by way of Punishment (and can not be for more than FOUR days for one matter)

To my knowledge, there is no such ceiling as four days anywhere. In fact Model Standing Orders in most of the States, have the ceiling as 30 days in case of punishment for one offence. It could either be 30 days or one month .

From India, Chennai


@ Mr. T Sivasankaran

I maintain what I have said and reassert the same.

I wish you had NOT made a blanket comment on the issue you are NOT familiar with.

Model Standing Orders provided under the Bombay Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Riles 1959 at Schedule I stipulate unequivocally at Clause 25 outlines various "punishments" under sub clause 1(c) and I quote, "Suspended by an order in writing signed by the Manager for a period not exceeding four days." Clause 25 starts with saying, " A workman guilty of misconduct may be...."

Further under Clause 25 (5) and I quote again:

"A workman against whom any action is proposed to be taken under sub-clause (b), (c) or (d) of Clause (1) may be suspended pending the enquiry or for the period, if any allowed to him for giving his explanation. The order os suspension may take effect immediately on its communication to the workman."

For Maharashtra at least I stand vindicated! I hope next time more care and caution would be exercised before becoming judgmental!

Personally I refrain on commenting on areas that I am not equipped to comment!



October 29, 2013


From India, Pune

Dear Mr. T. Sivasankaran,
I have gone through the posts of yourself and also of Mr. Samvedan. What Mr. Samvedan has stated is correct. There cannot be unlimited number of days of suspension as a punishment. So, Four days' limit is certainly prescribed in the Model Standing Orders of most of the States.
Perhaps you may be referring to the action of suspension pending disciplinary inquiry for which there is no limit. Though, unreasonable suspension is always questionable in the Courts and Courts may revoke suspension.
Adv. K. H. Kulkarni

From India, Kolhapur

Mr.Samvedan is correct in so far as suspension as punishment is concerned,The Model standing orders under Maharashtra State Rules stipulate suspension not exceeding four days as punishment. Probably a different period could be stipulated by model standing orders under a different State.
HR & Labour law Advisor

From India, Mumbai

Interesting. I agree with Adv. Kulkarni. I wish to add as follows:

Termination:- Can be classified as punitive if it is by way of dismissal of services for a misconduct under the Standing Orders. However, resignation from services voluntarily, also amounts to termination. Summary dismissal is no longer a legitimate disciplinary action as it would amount to retrenchment;

Suspension:- Suspension are of two kinds, "Suspension" as punishment and "Suspension pending enquiry". Usually, Standing Orders, if there is one in existence in the particular establishment, duly certified by the certifying officer, defines suspension as a punishment with an outer limit as to the number of days(eg, in Tea Industry, where I work, the maximum number of days a worker/employee can be suspended as punishment is 21 days=3 weeks). "Suspension pending enquiry", is not punitive and an employee is placed under suspension pending enquiry when there is a prima facie evidence of a serious misconduct and there is sufficient reason to believe that his or her presence at work could potentially jeopardise/influence documentary evidence/witnesses and consequently prejudice the outcome of the departmental/domestic enquiry. During the period of suspension pending enquiry, the concerned employee has to be paid subsistence allowance but the employee is barred from from work place during the entire period of suspension pending enquiry.

From India, Kolkata
Dakshina murty

While i agree with our friends views on the subject, i simply put it :
Suspension : Keeping employee away from the work for a specified period ( check your company standing orders) due to
indsicipline act of the employee (and such indiscipline is serious and grave that if he is continued in the employement
duirng the course of domestic enquiry proceedings, he will influence the proceedings so management keeps him
a side duirng such period ( suspension pending enquiry case)
Case 2 : Suspension can be straight away decision due to unreasonable act of employee even , some times
depending on the gravity of the case, certain organizations will take this serious view while issuing show cause notice

Termination: case 1 : Termination of employment contract on completion of speciifc period
case 2 : Termination of an employee after holding domestic enquiry and he is found to be guilty as per Enquiry officer
Hope you can understand now
B.Dakshina Murty

From India, Hyderabad

While the learned members have all chipped in with valuable information on the subject of suspension and termination, a word of caution for employers is that they should not exercise this power mechanically and without application of mind since suspension hurts an employee more than punishment both financially and emotionally and shall not allow suspension to continue for prolonged periods and ensure expeditious disposal of disciplinary cases pending which an employee is suspended.
HR & Labour law Advisor

From India, Mumbai
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