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Abandonment of Employment - Warning Letter

Version 1.0 Updated 1 Apr 2020
Correspondence Exit

Who can use this correspondence

This correspondence can be used by all employers.


Commentary

What is abandonment of employment?

An employee’s continuing failure to attend work without explanation, as well as their failure to respond to enquiries from the employer and their non-attendance, may constitute a termination of the employee’s employment at the initiative of the employee through abandonment of employment.

The circumstances of a particular case must show that the employee intended to end the employment by not reporting for work. It is important therefore, if abandonment of employment by an employee is to be established, that you are able to demonstrate that the employee knew, or ought to have known, that their unexplained or unauthorised continued absence from work would mean that he or she was terminating their employment.

Industrial instruments and policies

Some industrial instruments (e.g. workplace agreements) and workplace policies deal with abandonment of employment. Some specify a period of time which must pass and procedures which must be followed, before an employee can be deemed to have abandoned their employment. As such, before you can determine whether a particular employee has abandoned their employment, you must check to see if the employee is covered by an industrial instrument or workplace policy which deals with abandonment of employment, and follow the stated procedures.

Process

If there is no applicable industrial instrument or policy, then you should attempt to contact the employee if he or she is absent from work. At first instance, you should try and contact the employee by telephone and, if possible, leave a message explaining the reason for the call and asking the employee to contact you. It is advisable to keep a file note of the time and message left, in case this becomes an issue at a later time. You should also consider contacting the employee's nominated emergency contact. If no response is received after a number of attempts and the employee continues to absent themselves from work without explanation, you should send a warning letter to the employee which calls on them to explain the absence. This letter, Abandonment of Employment - Warning Letter, is another document which is available on Workplace.

If the employee does not respond to any of the phone calls, and the Abandonment of Employment - Warning Letter, then the employee should be sent this document, confirming the abandonment and termination of employment.

All correspondence, including documents that are internal to your organisation, should be expressed to show that the employee has abandoned the employment. That is, the termination of employment was brought about at the initiative of the employee, not at the initiative of your organisation.

Important

It should be remembered that an employee's failure to respond to contact made by you during a period of absence may not establish that the employee has abandoned the employment. The employee may be incapacitated or not contactable for genuine reasons. Each case must be assessed on its own particular circumstances.

An employee who is absent from work without permission and/or who has not notified your organisation of the absence may still be subject to disciplinary action. Each case where an employee provides a belated explanation for his or her absence must be assessed on its own particular circumstances.

If you are unsure whether or not an employee’s absence constitutes an abandonment of employment you should seek advice.

If the employee has abandoned their employment, you must ensure that all accrued leave entitlements are paid. However, as the employee ended their employment, payment for notice may not be applicable. If uncertain of your obligations, you should seek advice.


 

 

 

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