Absconding employee

There is nothing quite as disheartening as arriving at work and confronting the challenge of dismissing an absconding employee before your first cup of coffee. The Monday morning blues pales in comparison.

You genuinely hope that Evelyn will call her manager to give a valid reason for her absence and confirm when she will be back at work. If that is the case, then it is business as usual.

But what do you do if Evelyn hasn’t called her manager and won’t answer her phone or respond via email?

Section 188 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) gives the employer the onus of proving that it has been procedurally and substantively fair in dismissing employees.1

CCMA cases are often awarded to employees because employers didn’t following the correct communication procedures. Until now, there have been very limited (and expensive!) communication channels available that can prove your attempts to deliver the messages to the employee. Registered mail and Telegrams are arguably not the most efficient way of communicating with anyone in a digital age.

Taking action by sending the first, second and third letters should be done as soon as possible to stop remuneration costs escalating. Employers are then required to issue a Notice of Disciplinary 48 hours before the disciplinary hearing. Precious time will be lost and hours can turn into days if inefficient communication methods are used.

So how do you dismiss an absconding employee?

Very easily.

Everyone owns a mobile phone and more often than not has access to an email address. Employees should be required to update these details with their employer. If an employee doesn’t pitch for work, simply send a registered email or registered SMS and receive a certificate within 5 minutes to show your communication attempts and proof of delivery, date and time stamped.

See how JD Group went digital by registering their electronic communication.

For more information on the Procedures for dealing with absconding employees ask the experts.


1The South African Labour Guide