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Follow these two steps when you dismiss an employee for absconsion and avoid your first CCMA case for 2015

by , 12 January 2015
By now all your employees are back at work, except Amanda.

She's been absent for a number of days and you haven't heard from her. In fact, you assume she's absconded and doesn't intend to come back.

Unimpressed with her conduct, you conclude she's no longer your employee. In your mind, her conduct cancels her employment contract with you. All that's left is for you to do is find a replacement before her absence affects your bottom line.

Hold your horses!

Your assumption and actions are about to earn you an unfair dismissal case at the CCMA for 2015.


Because you haven't followed the two steps to legally dismiss an employee for absconding.

Read on to find out what they are...

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With it, you can confidently deal with absconding employees while protecting yourself and your company from an unfair dismissal case.

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Follow these two steps to dismiss an employee for abscondment

1. Try to get in contact with your employee
First things first: Our labour laws make it clear that your 'operational requirements' must determine the number of days you'll allow before you presume your employee doesn't intend to return to work. Usually three to five days is enough to think your employee has absconded.
So don't be too quick to decide that your employee has absconded or deserted and doesn't plan returning.
First, try contact your employee and give her a chance to explain her absence. Exhaust all resources like calling, texting, emailing, etc.
In your communication, tell her to come back by a certain date and explain her unauthorised absence could mean she'll face dismissal.
Don't forget to keep records of all your efforts to contact her.
That's not all you must do when you dismiss an employee for absconsion
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2. Decide if you must hold a disciplinary hearing
If, for example, you contact your employee and she says she'll come back to work next week, follow your misconduct procedure. Hold a disciplinary hearing and give her an opportunity to state her case.
You can then make a decision whether or not to terminate her employment on the available facts.
What if your employee doesn't attend the hearing?
If she doesn't attend the hearing, hold it in her absence. After this, decide whether terminating the contract of employment is fitting.
Note: When you make contact with your employee, always make it clear the disciplinary hearing may go on even if she's absent.
If you're not sure how to conduct a disciplinary hearing, The Chairman's Guide to Disciplinary Hearings: How to Chair 100% Legally Compliant Hearings will show you everything you need to know.

There's more to dismissing an employee for absconsion

These are just two of the steps eight steps you must follow when dismissing an employee for absconding. We've just scratched the surface in this article.
That's why we strongly recommend you check out AWOL! Your guide to dealing with employees who abscond to find out about the other six steps.

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