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Six tips to deal with employees who don't come back from holiday!

by , 19 November 2013
For most of us, we only have about three weeks left before we go on the leave we've been waiting for all year. And let's be honest, even managers have the thought of 'do I really have to go back'. But for some employees, this will be a time when they think 'I'm not going to go back'.
And they don't. There's no phone call or sms to explain his absence. What do you do now? How long should you wait for him to return to work before you can replace him? Can you dismiss him in his absence and if so, how do you go about the dismissal?

Keep reading for six tips on how to deal with an employee who goes AWOL...

'Where's John?'
What can you do when you think your employee's gone AWOL?

John hasn't shown up for work all week! And you have no idea if he's ever coming back to work!
You've tried getting hold of him to no avail.
What can you do when you think your employee has absconded?
Don't be too quick to decide that John's absconded or deserted with the intention never to return.
You first need to make sure he's actually absconded and then you have to follow the right process to dismiss him if he has...

Click here for the abscondment solution you've been waiting for!


Six tips to deal with your employee who hasn't come back from holiday!

Tip#1: Calculate how many absenteeism days work out to be desertion

The amount of time that passes before you can assume he isn't coming back depends on your operational requirements. To work out what's reasonable, you must look at how long you can do without him before you need to hire a replacement.

Tip#2: Conduct a thorough investigation
If you think an employee's deserted you, you have to try find him and find out the reasons for him not being there.
Tip#3: Ask for proof
You're entitled to ask for proof. If your employee says he was in a coma, or injured and unable to contact you, ask for a doctor's note.
649 New cases are referred to the CCMA every day. Only 72% of the cases are settled...
What happens to the rest?
Did you know a full 38% if all cases end up at arbitration, the Labour Court or in strikes or lock-outs? That's a massive 247 cases that leave employers, just like you, battling it out with an employee.
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Use these final three tips to make sure you stick to your legal obligations when it comes to absconsion

Tip#4: Discipline or dismiss the employee
If your investigation uncovers that:

  • The employee definitely doesn't intend to return. You must hold a disciplinary hearing (in his absence) and if there's no acceptable excuse for his absenteeism, you can dismiss him. You still have to send the employee a telegram or notification of the hearing.

  • There's no way of finding out his intentions, you can dismiss him. Remember you have to have a hearing before dismissing him. Be prepared to reopen the enquiry if he returns. If this enquiry shows he didn't have a good enough reason to be absent, you can confirm the termination of his employment. If you find his absence was not his fault you should re-employ him.


Tip#5: Implement an absconsion policy
You must implement an absconsion policy designed to protect your company. This'll ensure you do everything within reason to see if he intends returning, before you consider dismissing him.
Tip#6: Keep a record of employees' contact details
Keep your employee's contact details, residential address and next of kin contact details on his personnel file. Update these annually. This'll ensure you have the correct details if you need to contact him. Make it all employees' responsibility to update their contact details if they move house etc. If they don't, you're still right in delivering any correspondence to the old address you've been given.
Need an up-to-date desertion policy? Click here to find out how to get your hands on one and get all the answers to your questions about employees who go AWOL.
Until next week,
Taryn Strugnell


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