What employees should understand about workplace absenteeism

Workplace absenteeism is a broad spectrum, says labour law expert Neil Searle.

It is not limited to simply taking the day off.

Read: Why the definition of unfair labour practice is very blurry

Searle, a partner at law firm Fasken Martineau, says employers need to have detailed policies in place that address the consequences of absenteeism.

Employers must set out specific rules and procedures that must be followed in cases of absenteeism.

They cannot take employees to task if there are no guidelines, Searle explains.

Absenteeism includes the following:

  • not coming to work
  • arriving late
  • an unauthorised length of time away from the workstation
  • absconding and desertion

Searle says there are different way of addressing each type of workplace absenteeism.

Also read: 'It's not enough to just do the job' - Employee retention 101

Absenteeism is a species of misconduct under the Labour Relations Act.

Neil Searle, Partner at Fasken Martineau

Absenteeism is a multi-faceted issue. It starts with the employee's fundamental duty to tender their services.

Neil Searle, Partner at Fasken Martineau

You're expected to be at work, during working hours unless you have an adequate reason not to be there.

Neil Searle, Partner at Fasken Martineau

Ultimately the obligation rests on the employer to set the standard of when you should be at work and what you should be doing when you are there.

Neil Searle, Partner at Fasken Martineau

He shared his expert legal advice and answered pertinent questions from callers.

Listen to the discussion during the World of Work feature:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : What employees should understand about workplace absenteeism


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