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What to do if your employee takes unauthorised leave this December

by , 24 October 2013
The year is drawing to a close. This means, as an employer, you'll be inundated with annual leave requests for the December holidays. And chances are you'll even have situations where some employees take unauthorised leave. Continue reading to find out what the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) says you must do when employees take unauthorised leave.

Many employers don't know about the ins and outs of annual leave.

In fact, the Labour Guide says come December time, many employers inquire about annual leave.

The Labour Guide adds 'it's quite surprising to learn of the high incidence of ignorance existing among employers on the subject of annual leave and also the high incidence of myths surrounding this subject.'

Don't be caught off guard!

Make sure you know what your employees are entitled to when it comes to leave.

But what happens when an employee takes unauthorised leave? Is he entitled to it?

Here's how to deal an employee who took unauthorised leave

The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service says you can insist on 'no work, no pay' if your employee takes leave without permission, even for a valid reason.

Basically, the day will have to be taken as unpaid leave and can result in a disciplinary enquiry if you choose to take action.

Here's an example of how you would deal an employee who took unauthorised leave

Let's say Bob telephonically requests his co-worker to fill in a leave form for 11 days for him. Your policy is leave by prior arrangement and approval. You don't approve his leave and advise him of this on the first day he's absent.

He doesn't report to work the next day and you try several times without success to contact him by phone to tell him he's on unauthorised leave. He still hasn't reported for work, so what do you do now?

Send a notice to Bob's home informing him that he's absent from work without permission, which is unacceptable. State that he must return to work on a specific day.

If he returns, convene a disciplinary hearing to discipline him accordingly. The period he was away can be treated as unpaid leave. If he doesn't return, send a notice to his home calling him to a hearing. At the hearing (whether or not he attends), deal with the issue as misconduct and discipline him accordingly.

Well there you have it. December time is just around the corner and leave abuse will be on the rise. So make sure you know how to deal with all leave matters, including unauthorised leave.

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