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UNAUTHORISED EMPLOYEE ABSENTEEISM INVESTIGATIONS

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Do you suspect you may have an employee off work with neither their employer’s permission nor a statutory or contractual right to be so; basically failing to come to work for no good reason? In that case, their absence is unauthorised.

Unauthorised absence costs the UK economy around £10bn-£12bn every year, so it’s important for employers to remain on top of unauthorised absence and understand where they stand.

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WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT UNAUTHORISED EMPLOYEE ABSENCE?

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When an employee doesn’t turn up for work, employers should try to contact them early to determine why they’re absent and then regularly throughout their absence. This lets the employee know their employer has noted, and is dealing with, their absence and is also good practice to ensure there isn’t a significant problem. If attempts to contact them fail, it may be appropriate to contact the next of kin to be sure.

Written records should be kept of all these attempts, and employers should discuss the reasons for absence with employees if and when they return to work. Having policies in place that clarify how the absence will be managed, recorded and monitored is also a good practice.

However, employers shouldn’t jump to conclusions when an employee is absent from work. Even though unauthorised absence can be a disciplinary offence, it’s important to properly investigate each instance, hear the employee’s explanation, and take that into account when deciding what action, if any, you should take.

In all cases of unauthorized absence, the key is first to have clear evidence, firstly of the circumstances surrounding the absence itself, and secondly of how the matter was investigated and dealt with fairly by the employer.

If you want to establish an effective system to manage unauthorized absence, we can help. Alternatively, if you already have a problem with unauthorized absence, we can offer advice, assistance and support on how to proceed with tackling the issue.

Whether or not your employees may be taking false sick leave, making fraudulent injury claims, or any other form of unauthorized absence, we can help you tackle this problem quickly, confidentially, and in a way that minimises risk to your business.
We are fully experienced and ideally placed to discreetly and efficiently gather all the necessary factual evidence, both in and away from the workplace, to enable you to consider all your options and to help you make an informed decision on what action to take.

Whilst many employers often leave themselves open to challenge through poor policies and processes, our experience is that when an employee is confronted with clear evidence of unauthorised absence, fairly investigated, they will generally resign without dispute, eliminating the requirement for disciplinary and tribunal procedures; this underlines our view that effective procedures backed by clear evidence are the key to resolving such matters in the best way for you and your business.

If you think you have a problem with unauthorised absence, contact us; we’d be happy to help.

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