Employees unite against IT companies’ three-month notice

Employees unite against IT companies' three-month notice. Image: Twitter.
New Delhi, March 2: The life of mid-level IT professionals in India is not so lustrous as others believe it to be. Exploitation is everywhere. Most of the companies do not bother to give a decent pay to their employees. Apart from the pure IT firms, there exists many BPOs, KPOs and call centres.
Most of them are actually suffering to make the two ends meet. But no doubt, once trapped, the employees have to obey whatever conditions they make. In the worst condition, many are compelled to be awake the whole night for almost six days a week. Unfortunately, most of them are working for peanuts.

The company would be having certain close ended policies. Sometimes these policies violate the rights of the employees. This includes certain conditions of resignation and notice period. Once an employee reveals that he/she is leaving the job, they start digging possibilities whether they could stop him/her.

Policies are different when an employee wants to leave and when the company wants to terminate an employee. If the employee wants to leave, he/she has to give the notice, three months in prior to the resignation. Ironically, if the company wants to terminate an employee, they will give only one month notice to the employee.

The Indian information technology employees are in need of the government’s interruption in the policy restructuring of such companies which violate basic human rights. They want the government to step in and make it easier for them to leave their jobs when they had to suffer from poor payment, poor salary increases and slower job growth.

Now, a mass online petition has been signed by over 28,000 professionals. The petition asks the Ministry of Labour takes necessary action to stop such IT companies from holding workers to a non-negotiable three-month notice period.

“It is unrealistic for anyone to plan that far ahead for their future actions and resign in advance not knowing what happens in the next three months,” the petition said. IT employees say the petition is gathering support across WhatsApp groups and other messaging platforms.

It giants like TCS, Infosys, Tech Mahindra, HCL Technologies, Capgemini, Accenture and IBM have three-month notice periods.

The problem for the 3.9 million Indian IT employees is one of job mobility. “Three-month notice is clear exploitation,” said an employee at an Indian IT company, who is not ready to reveal his identity.

“The IT companies try to stop employees for three months, but the next company would not be ready to wait for three months,” he said.

Non-negotiable policies

Tech Mahindra has suspended the salary revision process for employees with more than six years of experience, pending a management review. National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) has also postponed setting a target for industry growth until May as the industry battles slowing growth and regulatory hurdles in the US, its largest market.

According to certain Human resource experts, the three-month notice period is being used as a tool by IT companies to combat high attrition rates in the industry. These rates vary in most Indian IT firms face attrition rates of between 13% and 20%, in line with trade estimates.

The extended notice period acts like a hidden retention policy forcing employees to think twice about leaving while making it hard for a prospective employer to wait that long. “Many candidates are not able to apply for a new job as prospective employers are not willing to initiate the hiring process because of this clause,” told Alka Dhingra, assistant GM at recruitment firm Team Lead.

Companies find it difficult to find acceptable replacement

In the IT services sector, staff are unit billable resources and it is possible that an organisation can lose cash if an acceptable replacement is not found. This forces the companies to adopt any technique to retain employees.

“In the services business, companies are almost entirely structuring the arrangement with the client on the basis of the individual employee,” said Anandorup Ghose, partner-talent & rewards at Aon Hewitt Consulting. “A two-three month notice period ensures a contingency plan”. Moreover, it is common across industries, he added.

A longer notice period conjointly provides IT companies with an opportunity to seek out replacements and this is often significantly true for workers with niche skills. Industry seniors are of the view that the problem has been exacerbated by high demand for specific skills like data analytics or user expertise.

“But skilled people will need to serve the notice period as they are hard to replace. However, companies cannot have separate notice period for different employees”, he added.

In a statement, Infosys said that “We have a three-month notice clause to ensure a smooth project transition as well as to encourage a professional handover. We feel that this is desirable considering the long-term nature of client engagements”.