Absence and Attendance Management in the Workplace

“My employee is absent without my permission and has taken company property. How can I get this back?”

The first step that would be recommended before taking legal action would be to write to the employee requesting that the return the property that belongs to you.

It is important to note that Civil Court proceeding are often costly and can damage a company’s reputation. Thus, the matter should be resolved through conciliatory routes in the first instance.

“I cannot get a hold of my employee who is on long-term sick leave. What can I do?”

It is crucial that employers do not put pressure on the employee to return to work, this can make the situation worse. However, you can still maintain appropriate contact with this employee during their long-term sick leave.

When determining whether this is a conduct issue, employers should check the wording of their contract of employment/workplace policy. If the employee has not followed the provisions set out in these, it may then be classified as an unauthorised absence which will generally result in the employee being unpaid for this time. The employer should then inform the employee that the company will be considering disciplinary action, this should be done in writing.

If you must contact an absent employee, you should follow best practice by ensuring the letter is sent recorded delivery, this will allow you to track it and identify who it was signed by on delivery. If the letter is sent back to you, as the employer you should make reasonable attempts to find out if the employee has changed address and not informed you. It is crucial that you do not assume the employee has resigned due to lack of contact.

“My employee went on holiday and has not returned to work. What action can I take?”

In the first event, employers would be expected to make a reasonable attempt at contacting the employee. This ensures that fair procedure is being followed whilst allowing the employee a chance to explain. Further, it is recommended that employers try contact through all avenues such as next of kin and colleagues.

In addition, employers should set a date in which they expect the employee to contact the workplace by – this should be put in writing.

Following a reasonable investigation and there is still no explanation for their absence, the employer may then inform the employee that dismissal for gross-misconduct will be considered. It is important that employers seek legal advice in this situation to ensure risks of claims to the Employment Tribunal are eliminated.

Can I withdraw an offer if the candidate has not responded?

If your offer has not been accepted, you can formally retract it at any point in writing. This is because there is no contract formed at this point. Employers should follow best practice in this event, your offer letter should inform the candidate that the offer is due to lapse if it has not been accepted by a specific date.

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