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When I came on board at my current employer some years ago the resignation policy was very fair. It was detailed in the employee handbook as well as at orientation.

 Simply you should stay for two  weeks or for the amount of vacation time
 you have  left whichever is greater.

I thought this was a fair policy and considering everything else was OK you would leave under good terms and would be considered a rehire.

Though about one and a half years ago there was an undocumented HR policy change that is always spoken about when somebody resigns. It's always spoken about by management and people always so follow the new guidelines even if the meet the specifications above.

The new undocumented policy is

You must give 30 days notice. Failure to give 30 days notice will
result HR flagging you as a non rehire no matter the standing of
employee. The company also has a strict policy that all reference for
past employees cannot be given by management but must be given by HR.

Given that previous employers can only legally say whether they would or would not rehire the employee makes for quite the conundrum.

Employees are now essentially forced to give 30 days notice if they want to use this company as a reference and may lose potential future opportunities (some companies may not want to wait 30 days) all because of an undocumented policy.

How does one deal with this?

  • 12
    If the new policy is undocumented then how are you quoting it? – emory Mar 1 '15 at 20:56
  • @emory rightly so I guess I can't quote it. I removed the quotes and put the other blocks. – Biff Mar 1 '15 at 21:46
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    Then give a 30 day notice or live with the consequences. If you don't think you are going to be at the next company long enough to get good references then you are in a hole. – paparazzo Mar 1 '15 at 23:10
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    @Pepone There are opportunities that will be lost because of that wait. Not all future employers will want to wait a month. – Biff Mar 2 '15 at 0:06
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    So, you're worried that you won't get a good reference? This company has already said only HR will give references, and that will (likely) be limited to start/end dates and pay rate. You're worried that you won't be eligible to be rehired in the future? Companies that put policies like this in place aren't going to be around, long. It's not something you need to worry about. This has "Management Failure" written all over it. I'll bet your car lasts longer than this company does. – Wesley Long Mar 2 '15 at 1:03
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How does one deal with this?

While changing the rules like this is really bad form, employers are not required to give references at all.

Thus, it appears that you need to decide how much you value this reference, and if you trust this employer to stand by their (newly revised) promise.

You can choose to give a 30-day notice (or whatever happens to be "required" at that point in time), and let your next employer know. Most will wait that long for a good employee.

Or you can choose to give a lesser notice, and either not depend on this reference, or get this reference some other way.

In general, if you are in good standing with someone within the organization, you can often give a specific individual as a reference, without regard to the corporate "undocumented policy".

Many folks I know will gladly give a good reference for a friend, without worrying about corporate policy. Your mileage may vary.

  • "If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun." – Joel Etherton Mar 2 '15 at 15:50
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It suggests that the company is getting desperate - leave now before the rush.

My partner worked for a european company that was taken over by a large US competitor, the resulting drop in working conditions resulted in such a rush for the door that they introduced a new contract.

1, 3 month notice period for all staff however junior.
2, No days off allowed during the notice period (so you can't attend interviews)
3, Staff were told that new agreement was confidential and couldn't be shown to union or legal advisers.

There was a happy ending. Lots of babies were born as staff combined their maternity leave with their notice period. The company closed within a year.

  • 1
    you only give notice when you have a new job and not allowing you to take leave during a notice period is probably illegal – Pepone Mar 1 '15 at 23:26
  • @Pepone As for my original post and your comment. Employees are not allowed to take any leave during their 30 days. Well they can but every day they do just pushes their last day back. So if you resign tomorrow on March 2nd and your last day is set for April 1st. You may be set to work for your new employer on April 2nd. But if you have to take a day off in March (during your 30 days) and you still leave to meet the obligation at the other company then you will be flagged to never be rehired. It's the same as just giving the two weeks. – Biff Mar 2 '15 at 0:11
  • @Biff which country Is this – Pepone Mar 2 '15 at 23:46
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    Can't show it to a legal advisor?! They thought they could make that stick? – Loren Pechtel Mar 3 '15 at 3:41
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    What did they do to people who refused to sign the modified contract? Dismiss them instantly? – CodesInChaos May 29 '15 at 13:10
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Please note that I am not a lawyer. It may be worth consulting with a legal professional knowledgeable in your local state and country employment legislation.

It would be interesting to ask why the change in resignation policy was made. It sounds like the company got burnt. For example, key staff member left without sufficient hand over time or the a company manager gave a reference that turned out to be so woefully inaccurate that the company was threatened with legal action.

How does one deal with this?

If no one is resigning, you need not do anything. Sometimes it may be best to let sleeping dogs lie.

If you or someone you know is resigning, there are two issues here. First is the notice period. While 30 days may seem high, many countries require 4 weeks or so notice (e.g. Australia, some countries in Europe). They key is to work with your management and your management to work with you to ensure there is sufficient hand over time.

Assuming no country or state laws apply, your employment contract trumps any company policy changes so, if your employment contract states two weeks notice, then there is nothing legally the company can do to force longer notice. However, unless this stops you from moving to a new position, I would just give the longer notice, work through the period then happily leave.

If you must leave without the 30 days notice and get blacklisted (assuming the company actually carries this out), is the company a place you would consider going back to? It sounds like there are other issues there.

The second issue about only HR giving references is, unfortunately, increasingly common in larger companies. Afraid of getting sued for giving favorable references, companies now give out a statement of employment, merely listing your employment start and end dates along with your final title. If you are afraid of getting a reference that states "will not hire again", ask for a statement of employment instead. However, if you build a good relationship with your manager, chances are he or she may be an informal referee (someone that can provide a verbal rather than written assessment).

  • Australa does not require 4 weeks, Australia requires 1 pay cycle ( so if you get paid weekly then 1 week ) – Damian Nikodem Mar 2 '15 at 15:59

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