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How to deal with an AWOL employee?Posted on by Pardip Singhota
What is an AWOL employee? This simply is an employee who is absent without approved leave such as holiday or where it was agreed they had an appointment and would be in work later that day. An AWOL employee could also be an employee who has not followed the sickness absence procedure and called in by a designated time to inform their employer they are not attending work that day.
Where an employee or someone on their behalf, has failed to contact their employer to report their absence and is absent, the employer has the right to call the employee on the contact numbers provided by the employee. Failing that the emergency contact or next of kin could be approached to ascertain the whereabouts of the employee and speak to the employee to establish the reason for the absence and the likely return to work date.
The employee may have had an accident on the way to work and is not able to call into work, so the employer has a duty of care to call the employee.
Where an employee has failed to follow the correct sickness absence reporting procedures this could be dealt with under the disciplinary procedures, unless of course they were so genuinely seriously ill that they could not get to a phone and nobody on their behalf was available to contact the company either.
As in any case where disciplinary action is being considered, a fair process should be followed including an investigation, allowing the employee the right to be accompanied to a disciplinary meeting and the offering the right to appeal.
If the employee remains AWOL, they should be reminded that a disciplinary hearing will be heard in their absence and a decision made on the facts available.
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