Long Notice Periods – A Weapon Used by Indian Employers

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According to an article published on Economictimes, over 28,000 (out of the 3.9 million) IT professionals have signed an online petition asking the Ministry of Labour in India to stop companies from expecting employees to serve a non-negotiable three-month notice period. And this number is growing steadily.

The petition says, “It is unrealistic for anyone to plan that far ahead for their future actions and resign in advance not knowing state of the issue in next three months.”

An important thing for you (as an employer) to understand and practice is that employees’ decisions to quit should be treated with respect.

We recently conducted a survey to ask the Indian populace on LinkedIn what they think should be the ideal notice period that employers must embrace.

The results, quite unsurprisingly, were in favour of shorter periods.

  • A whopping 96% of the respondents were in support of notice period of 30 days or less.
  • Only 2% believed that a 90-day notice period is necessary in the modern era
  • 2% respondents thought a 7-day period is sufficient in case of junior level employees

The non-negotiable 90-day notice period

There are hordes of companies in India (across sectors) that refuse to discuss or negotiate the notice period, which is anywhere between one month and three months. Having your own ideas and reasons for a three-month notice period is reasonable, but declining a request to negotiate this period is not.

Notice period in India vs. elsewhere

It is understood that in the IT sector, especially when it comes to niche roles and related skillsets, it is extremely difficult to find replacements. But if we look at the IT industry in countries like the United States, the notice period is as short as two weeks, and the laws in Singapore, Ireland, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom expect employees with at least a year’s service to serve a notice period of just one week! While practices vary significantly across countries and continents, the gaping gap between India and its western counterparts is massive.

What’s wrong with a lengthy notice period?

Several top companies and recruiters believe that a two or three-month-long notice period is an effective retention tool, but employees look at it as a weapon being used by organizations to hold them prisoner. But a little bit of empathy is all it takes to realize how this ‘effectiveness’ is delusional and one-dimensional. One might argue that letting go of quality hires is a huge loss to the company, and hence, abundant time for them to find a suitable replacement is a requisite. Some employers also believe that three months is an optimum amount of time to appropriately carry through the handover and transition process. While having a process in place for such a course of action is definitely recommended, holding employees for such a long period of time can be easily avoided with smart planning and resource management.  

The essential term here is ‘empathy’. When it comes to quality talent, think of the detrimental effects your policy can have not only on the employee’s career prospects, but also on you as an employer.

  • Some employers will not even consider extending their offer to a candidate whose notice period is over 30 days. That’s one opportunity lost for the employee.
  • Put yourself in the hopeful employer’s shoes. You are at the receiving end now, since the candidate you want cannot join for another 90 days or so. That’s one great candidate lost for you.
  • Excruciatingly long periods can also take a toll on you in terms of resources, since the time, money and effort spent on ongoing communication with prospective employees is usually high and 20-30% of potential candidates don’t even end up joining.


Job mobility is real and we need to acknowledge the needs of the modern workforce. A long notice period does not necessarily mean you can address your high attrition rates or retain outstanding workers. A 30-day notice (15, if possible), irrespective of position or seniority, ought to be given serious consideration. Flexibility is what matters, and it isn’t too crazy to hope for a scenario where a mutually agreed upon notice period can soon become an option. As employers, it becomes our responsibility to address this need and work towards a more mature, empathetic market.

Leave a comment below to tell us what your current notice period structure looks like and what can be done to modify it for good.

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