Unauthorised Absence

I have an employee who has repeated short terms absence for various reasons.

How do I manage absenteeism?

Unauthorised absence is where an employee has taken absence from the business without informing and obtaining authorisation from the business in advance.

An employer faced with such a situation should firstly check their disciplinary procedures to see if they address these problems (Pearson Solicitors can help you with your disciplinary and grievance policies if you do not have up to date procedures).  Records should be kept of the dates the employee is absent and an investigation carried out. 

Reasons for absence during which an employee fails to attend work can take various forms: the genuine, like caring for a dependent in an in emergency, but also persistent pattern unauthorised absences, for example, “Monday morning syndrome” or “World Cup sickie”.

If following a reasonable investigation, there is evidence to suggest that the employee is taking this time off for no valid reason, then the employee should be invited to attend a disciplinary meeting. 

Disciplinary Meeting

As in all meetings which could result in a potential disciplinary sanction, the employee should be informed of their right to be accompanied and the employee should be informed of the allegations against them prior to attending the meeting to enable them to consider what is alleged and for them to be in a position to respond to them.

If following the disciplinary hearing, the employer has a genuine belief that the employee is guilty of the allegations made, then the employer should go on to consider what sanction to apply. 

If the employer decides to issue a warning, the employee should be informed of this decision in writing, a copy of the warning should be retained on the employee’s personnel file and the employee be informed of his/her right to appeal. 

It may also be helpful for the employer to issue a policy statement that continual short term absence will be investigated, unauthorised absence will not be paid in all circumstances and may result in disciplinary action being taken which could ultimately lead to dismissal. 

If you are an employer faced with unauthorised absence and would like some guidance on how to manage the situation, please contact us: unauthorised absence.