"At Will" Employement And Notice Period - CiteHR
Saswatabanerjee
Partner - Risk Management
Mahr
Head - Human Resources
+1 Other

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Dear Seniors,
Greetings!
I have recently joined a Delhi/NCR small size Pvt. Ltd IT company. There are 2 things in Employee Hand book and appoint letter which bother me.
1. Employment "at will"
2. Notice Period - A confirmed employee has to serve a notice period of 3 months if he/she resigns but Notice period from the employer side is only one month.
Is this practice is ethical? Is there any labor law / Act which regulate there terms of employment?
Kindly give your valuable suggestions.
Regards,
Sweety
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Dear Sweety,
I have few doubts on your query, if your employment contract shows "at will employment", then how come notice period comes into the picture ?
Secondly, I don't think any of Indian company have introduced "at will employment" as of now, generally "at will" is practised in US.
As per my knowledge, "at will employment" refers to the employment status where either of employer or employee may terminate the employment at any time without showing any cause for the same. So if your employment holds "at will" then there should not be any notice period clause for the same, as it should have either parties may terminate the employment without showing cause for the same.
Dear Ashutosh,
Thanks for your response. I agree with your point that is why I put this query here because this this has mentioned the both conditions in appointment letter and employ policy hand book.
Is there any law or act on this employment agreement so that that I can take the reference of that and convince the management?
Regards,
Sweety
Dear Sweety,
I advise you to go again with the contents of employment contract/employee manual, I think they would have mentioned probation period under 'at will guidelines', if it is the case then it is ok, because generally most of the companies follow 'at will' during probation as both of the parties may terminate the employment at any time without serving notice or salary in lieu thereof.
Hi Sweety,
Yes, as Ashutosh said how come there is two clause for an exit process. Either the employment should be "At Will" or should be on a regular method with notice period applicable for both the parties. However there is no such policy or act in Labour law. Only thing I know is that the maximum notice period should be 30 working days from either parties. Hope I am correct in that as well.
"At Will" employment is basically followed in the US and in such type of employment, either the Company or the employee can terminate the employment relationship at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice. This also does not mean that the employer should take advantage of the employment clause and to terminate employees with unfair practices.
The concept of At Will means that either of the parties (employer or employee) can terminate the employment at any time without giving any reason for the same. This is as against Fixed Term Employment where the employment has to continue for a specific period and automatically terminates at the end of the period.

At will does not mean the employee can walk off one evening and refuse to come back or that the employer can say dont come from tomorrow. It simply means that either party can terminate at any time. Its absolutely acceptable and legal to have a notice period, hand over period etc.

In a large company in India, Employment At Will is not possible as they employer and employee will be subject to various laws like Indistrial Dispute Act, that requires certain norms, regulations and procedure to be followed. However, if your employer is a small company with less than 50 employees, then probably At Will can work out.

ofcourse, all employment in India is at will in reality. The employer can not keep you there if you dont want to stay and the employee cant really continue working if the employer wants him out.
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