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What happens if your employee doesn't come back to work after the weekend?

by , 23 March 2015
If your employee doesn't come back to work after a weekend or holiday, you can't just dismiss him. There are legal and fair ways you must follow to notify him of his absconsion and explain to him the consequences of his actions before you take action.

Read on to discover what they are...

Here are the steps you must take to notify your employee what will happen if he doesn't come back to work


Firstly, you should attempt to contact him telephonically. If this isn't possible, you can also send him an email, a letter, an SMS or a a telegram.

Regardless of the means of communicaiton, this correspondence must state that you require him to return to work on a specified date when you'll give him a chance to explain his absence.

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Here's what to include in your letter of absconsion

Inform him in the letter that you'll accept that he doesn't intend on returning to work if he fails to return to work on that day, and you'll terminate his services with immediate effect.

If he does return, you need to consider his explanation for his absense but may still dismiss him for unauthorised absence from work. If, on the other hand, he doesn't report for duty on the day you specified in your correspondence, you can terminate his services with immediate effect.

However, you must hold a hearing and consider his explanation before deciding on an appropriate sanction.

At this point, you should send another letter by hand and/or via registered post to the employee, letting him know that you've dismissed him for absconsion with immediate effect.

Just bear in mind that you MUST pay your employee what you owe him

Keep in mind that "no work, no pay" applies to the period of unauthorised absence so you don't have to remunerate him for the time he wasn't at work.

However, when you terminate his services for absconsion, you must pay all outstanding leave pay and other statutory payments (such as overtime pay) you owe him.

Allow your employee the possibility to explain what happened.

And remember, if your employee returns to work at some stage after you've terminated his services, you must give him an opportunity to explain the reason he was absent!

Useful note! Hold an appeal hearing at this stage to ensure you follow a fair procedure. Note that you should consider his reasons before you make the decision to uphold his absconsion dismissal or allow him to continue working for you.

Keep in mind that the employee may have an acceptable reason for being absent and this means that a reason will be acceptable if his absence proves to have been beyond his control.

As a final note, you should also consider any mitigating factors when making your decision.


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