This question sat in my inbox for a while. I apologize to the sender for the late reply. But as they say, better late than... later.
I'd like to ask your idea on how we can eliminate if not reduce occurrence of same day resignation & AWOL.
We have a resignation policy of 30-days notice. They'll be liable to training expenses deductible from their last pay if they fail to inform in advance.
This policy is given during orientation and is indicated in our employee handbook and in their employment contract.
These however do not seem to matter to them. What I notice is they go AWOL or resign effective immediately after the payroll cut-off. So they've already received their salary except for the 13th month.
Can the company waive the release of their clearance and last pay?
Here's my answer.
Since I am not a lawyer, you cannot take my opinion as a legal one. In fact the first thing I'd do is to consult a lawyer about the legality of decisions I will make especially if it concerns withholding a person's pay. I received a sage advice from a lawyer friend in the past. She said that before I make any decision that might end up in the court of law, I need to consult the lawyer whom I will tap to defend my cause. This made a lot of sense to me and used it as a rule of thumb whenever I feel a legal advice is necessary.
There are a couple of things that I'd work on with my lawyer if I find myself in your position. Here they are:
First, I'd ask my lawyer to work with me on giving more teeth to my 30-day notice. When employees go AWOL or resign effictive immediately, the company may incur damages and the company may seek remuneration for the damages caused by it. I think you need to establish the cost of violating your company's 30-day notice rule and make it a matter of policy to seek legal action against empoyees who violate this policy. The more rampant the violation is, the more necessary it is for you take action to show that you are serious about this rule.
Second, I think you can choose not to clear employees who do not comply with the 30-day notice policy of the company, hence you can choose to widthold their last pay untill they clear themselves by rendering 30-day notice. Here's where it becomes complicated and I myself would like to ask a lawyer how to properly do it. If you require an employee to serve 30-day notice and the person won't and you decide to terminate that person's employment, does the person become entitled to last pay because he was already fired? Right now, I don't know the answer to that.
These I think are some of the possible legal remedies to your problem. There is a bigger problem to contend with however, in preventing employees who want to leave right away and are being prevented from doing so. Level of commitment, quality of work and possibility of sabotage in case of disgruntled employees are just some of the concerns that come with this.
Frequent employee turnover is a costly problem. When employees frequently go AWOL or leave immediately, its an even bigger problem. You have to find the cause of this problem and nip it in the bud. There could be several reasons why employees behave without consideration or respect for existing company policies. They could be very unhappy and you need to find the cause of the unhappiness and address it. Happy employees don't leave and even if they do, they take care not to ruin the relationship, hence they follow the rules. Here is where your employee relations skills gets sharpened. Listen to what your employees are saying and consider making some organizational changes if you want to keep good employees in.