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Dear PCRA2011,

You have written that Issue of appointment letter is generally delayed till joining formalities are over, back ground checks are done, and sometimes till the probation period is completed.

Comments: - The above statement does not have any legal sanction. Issue of appointment letter after 15 days is fine but waiting till completion of probation period is outrageous. Leave aside about completion of probation period, however, suppose the Labour Officer visits the premises and observes that appointment letter is not issued even after two months of employment. Suppose he issues the notice on this point. Please confirm what valid reply we can give under such circumstances.

Secondly, you have written that For instance, the so called offer letter is typical of offshore placements in MNCs, to enable the candidate to get Visa/work permit. It makes no sense in domestic employments, and it does not have any legal sanctity.

Comments: - We do not know whether under the provisions of Indian Contract Act, 1872 the court will consider the Offer Letter as contract between job seeker and job provider. On the strength of the offer letter, applicant for the job resigns from his/her existing job. Revoking offer could incur huge losses to the job applicant. Therefore, it could be considered as contract. However, this is my interpretation and I do not have any case law to quote under the contract act.

Final Comments: - More than legal side, the case needs to be looked from professional management practices. Not issuing the offer letter, telling the newly joined employee to wait for three months are all unprofessional practices. This shows lack of self-belief on company's part. If right job candidate is selected, if company has right working practices, then the company earns the trust of the employee to continue. Rather than earning trust, when company resorts to malpractices, they are likely to face the problems mentioned by the originator of the post and they will continue to waste time in these sundry activities. This type of company will never be able to build brand which supposed to be the ultimate goal of any business owner.


Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
offer letter is issued when employer shows interest on hiring an candidate found suitable....that can issued in an letter or mail
basing on above document candidate joins....after joiningformalities he/she becomes Employee ,would get appointment letter.
if any employee doesn,t get appointment letter.....he/she would walk out with out notice period once they get better option.
and they can demand from employer..or other wise, it can be settled in Labour.

Dear Dinesh Divekar,

Thank you for reviewing my post. I agree with your comments.

Just want to add that, in many SMEs there is more of personnel administration than HR management. These companies are traditionally scared of labour issues and the phobia extends towards employees of all cadres. First and foremost, they expect the HR manager to steer them clear of any legal problems. Some of the HR practices and issues that we discuss here have no legal sanction - like the 'offer letter'. So the first question the management would ask an HR is, "Why are you introducing new rules that are not required by statutory/regulatory bodies?".

Indeed, HR best practices are what attract talented workforce to a company - at least in the case of major corporates. But then, these are targeting to hire well qualified and highly skilled professionals. In case of SMEs, such talent hunting and talent management are not really the focus of the HR. These comanies fit into level 1 or 2 of CMMI model, by analogy. HR would be grappling either with nagging defaulters or with over-enthusistic performers. First, the house has to be set right and kept secure from trouble makers.

The human resources in small companies are not generally used to much of professional ethics or norms. You would see employees jumping from one small company to another, whereas among major corporates there is an understood norm that they don't hire employees who come from a rival organisation: for Instance Infosys may not like to hire someone who is leaving Wipro because that may be seen as fishing or stealing the workforce, and is considered an unethical practice. Such self-regulatory practices do not exist in small companies, and employees take advantage of it.

All I want to say is that HRs must win the confidence of the management first by putting the organisation on a stong legal footing, and then branch out into the sophisticated HR practices that they learnt in their MBA classes, which make the companies employee friendly and attractive.

From India, Bangalore

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