Abandonment of Employment


I’ve recently fielded some questions about abandonment of employment.

To put it simply, assessing an abandonment of employment is just not that simple.

The first step in assessing whether employment has been abandoned is to determine whether the employee is actually absent without authority – there is a difference!

Absent without authority occurs when an employee fails to attend work but does not make contact with the employer to notify them that they will be absent. They could be absent without authority for more than one day.

However, employers have a duty to make every effort to make contact with the employee who is absent without authority to check on their welfare. Sometimes the employee is simply not able to make contact. If you are unable to make contact with the employee then the next step is to make contact, or attempt to make contact, with their next of kin.

If you are still not able to make contact directly with the employee or their next of kin, you should write to them – sending the letter via registered mail – asking them to make contact and informing them that if they do not make contact by a certain day and time their employment may be terminated on the grounds of abandonment of employment.

The employee must have been absent without authority for a minimum of three days, and the process outlined above must have been followed, before you could move to terminating their employment on the grounds of abandonment. The termination date would be recorded as the last date that they attended the workplace.

Where the employment is abandoned, you must do a termination payment that pays them for all unused leave accruals however you do not need to make a payment in lieu of notice.

If you are an employer who needs help with a possible abandonment of employment get in touch via the contact form or by email megan@mmchr.com.au



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