RESIGNATION AND ABSCONDMENT BY EMPLOYEES

Employers often take cognisance of an employee’s resignation, but take no further steps in regard thereto – it most often being deemed unnecessary.

Employers must, as a matter of fact, accept an employee’s resignation in writing.

The aforesaid should be completed in both instances where an employee resigns orally or in written format (which includes text messages and emails).

An employer’s acceptance of such resignation should include the employee’s last working day, as well as whether the employee will be placed on ‘garden leave’ for the notice period (garden leave is the acceptance of a notice period, however, confirmation that the employee will be prohibited from attending work for the notice period – this does not detract from the employer’s requirement to pay the employee their remuneration for such period, but acts to prevent corporate espionage, the theft of company property, and client information).

Employees should be paid their due remuneration within 7 (seven) days of their last day of employment.

Should resignation not be accepted by the employer, then the employee is entitled to retract such resignation – this can take place at any time, possibly in a month or two – the result of which is generally devastating for an employer, and may result in compensation being required for the period in which the employee was not at work.

The aforesaid leads us to abscondment.

Absconding from work by an employee can take place in numerous ways, the most evident being the aforesaid, as well as when an employee simply stops attending work.

In the instance in which an employee no longer attends work, provides no medical reason therefore, and generally, halts all communication with the employer, employer’s often, incorrectly, deem same a form of resignation.

Absconding from work does not terminate employment.

Dependant on the content of an employer’s office policy and disciplinary procedure, the following process should be followed in the event of an employee absconding from work:

  • Written notice should be provided to the employee that they should return to work the following working day, and provide reasons for their abscondment, to include medical certificates, or the like (dependant on the reason, and/or acceptance thereof, the process could very well halt at this juncture);

 

  • Upon no re-attendance to work the following day, the employer should provide written notice of disciplinary proceedings, with no less than 48 hours’ notice thereof;

 

  • Following the process of the disciplinary hearing:

 

  • Should the employee not attend, it would be safe to dismiss the employee;

 

  • Should the employee attend the hearing, then the outcome would be predominantly based on the reasoning for the abscondment;

 

  • The outcome of the disciplinary proceedings should be provided to the employee in written format;

 

The aforesaid process is established to prevent possible negative future labour issues, arising as a result of any possible abscondment.

Should you have any queries herein, or seek assistance, feel free to contact our office.

Written by Keegan Elliott (Attorney)