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Four factors that employee absence must meet before it's considered desertion

by , 09 May 2013
Desertion is when your employee's absent from work or fails to return to work after an authorised period, such as annual leave or sick leave. But, for your employees' absence to be considered desertion there are four factors that have to be met. Find out what they are...

'Desertion amounts to a breach of the employee's fundamental and basic obligations in terms of his employment contract,' says the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.

But, the responsibility falls on you as an employer to ascertain whether an employees' absence from work actually amounts to desertion before you take any steps.

And there are four factors you must take into account before you reach this conclusion.

Do you know what they are?

These four factors point to desertion

  1. The employee's absence;
  2. The lack of authorisation or permission for absence;
  3. The employee hasn't contacted the company in any way to provide an explanation for his absence; and
  4. The employee's intention is never to return to work. Because you can't read your absent employee's mind to know for certain that he never intends to return to work, you must look for evidence to confirm he's deserted. For example if his locker or desk is empty and you've tried to contact him and he hasn't responded at all, it could suggest he's deserted you.

Keep in mind that absenteeism without permission or AWOL is a disciplinary offence that should be dealt with as misconduct.

Knowing what factors must be met before your employees' absence is considered desertion will ensure you know how to discipline him.

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