I'm a software developer at a small UK-based development company. One of my colleagues, let's call him 'Jack', has handed in his notice. Jack is still within his probation period and if he intends to resign, his contract states that he must work a month's notice period before leaving.
As a senior developer to him, I have had absolutely no issues working with Jack during this time and he has done his work well. His abrupt departure took me by surprise. When I asked what his reasons were for leaving, he mentioned 'other personal reasons'. I know Jack has previous issues with anxiety and panic attacks, which means it might be a factor.
Jack has completed a week of his notice period and ran the idea past me of reducing that time. He has explicitly stated that he cannot and would not contribute anything more useful to our work, claiming that remaining in the office will only cause him further stress, rendering him of little use. I made no promises to him but suggested he approach our manager about this request. Our manager has insisted that he work the full notice period. I cannot however, confidently assign any tasks to Jack because of the reasons he gave above.
Our manager - who is out of the office for most of this time - has remarked that keeping Jack around is to 'recuperate some of the costs incurred in hiring him'. He was hired through a recruitment agency. There was also mention that the company is 'obligated' to pay Jack's full notice period, regardless of the reasons for his dismissal / resignation. Jack has remarked that if the stress gets too much for him, he may simply walk out and not come back (and is prepared to forfeit his last salary payment if the need arises).
My questions are:
- How do you convince a manager that an employee who cannot / will not actually do anything should be allowed to leave early?
- If said employee goes AWOL, what legal ramifications might he incur? Does his contract legally obligate him to attend work?
I can appreciate that the second question might be aimed more at the Law StackExchange. My primary concern is the first question.