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Your employee shows up for work three weeks after you dismissed her for absconding. Now what?

by , 12 January 2015
Imagine this: One of your employees goes on annual leave, but she doesn't come back on the date she said she would. Weeks go by and you don't hear a thing from her.

Because you don't want to land up on the wrong side of the law, you take the right steps to make sure she's actually absconded. And you follow the correct process to terminate her employment contract.

But then something astonishing happens.

A few days after terminating the contract, your employee rocks up for work and wants to carry on her duties.

What do you do now?

Read on to find out so you can effectively deal with absconding employees in your workplace.


Do this if an absconding employee shows up for work after you've terminated her employment contract

 
According to AWOL! Your guide to dealing with employees who abscond, if your employee comes back to work after you've terminated her services, give her a chance to explain her absence.
 
As you know, when it comes to labour matters, fairness is key. This principle also applies when dealing with absconding employees.
 
It's crucial you give your employee a fair hearing when she comes back. If you don't, she could claim unfair dismissal at the CCMA. And you could end up paying up to 12 months' remuneration as compensation.
 
So when your employee rocks up for work, hold an appeal hearing to make sure you follow a fair procedure. And consider her reasons for the absence before you make the decision to uphold her dismissal or allow her to continue working for you.
 
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What can you do when you think your employee's gone AWOL?

Your employee 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?

You have to follow the right process before you dismiss him

Click here to find out how to deal abscondment legally…
 
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Keep an open mind when it comes to employee absconsion

 
You must keep an open mind and remember that your employee may have an acceptable reason for being absent. For example, her absence may have been beyond her control. So consider any mitigating factors when making your final decision.
 
Labour expert, Jan du Toit explains on labourguide.co.za, that when your employee returns, you must carefully evaluate the termination or dismissal and be able to prove:
 
  • You made an effort to get her back to work;
 
  • You waited for a reasonable period of time before terminating the contract of employment; and
 
  • The period of absence from work was unreasonable when weighed up against the operational requirements of your company and the impact on other employees.
 
Remember, dismissal MUST always be fair. So follow the correct process now that you know what to do when an absconding employee shows up for work after you've terminated her contract.
 
PS: As you can see, there are many layers to dealing with absconding employees. One wrong move could land you at the CCMA. It's for this reason we strongly recommend you check out AWOL! Your guide to dealing with employees who abscond. It will help you deal with absconding employees while protecting yourself and your company from an unfair dismissal case.
 


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