Abandonment usually arises in circumstances where an employee is absent from work without a reasonable excuse for an unreasonable period of time without having communicated to the employer any reason for the absence.
Some Awards may contain explicit provisions in relation to abandonment of employment and should also be followed where applicable. Awards include:
- Business Equipment Award
- Contract Call Centres Award
- Graphic Arts, Printing and Publishing Award
- Manufacturing and Associated Industries and Occupations Award
- Nursery Award
It is important that employers cannot make assumptions on the abandonment of employment process and that the following principles are adhered to:
- The employee has made no attempt to contact the employer;
- The period of unauthorised and unexplained absence is sufficient; and
- The employer has made reasonable efforts to contact the employee.
The abandonment of employment process is summarised as follows:
- Employee fails to report to work;
- Employer attempts to contact the employee via telephone, mobile phone, email and/or work colleagues.
- Employer writes a letter to employee concerned and send to their last known address (in addition to email or via HR software) stating they haven’t reported to work as scheduled and ask the employee to contact the employer within 7 days of the date of the correspondence and give their reason of their absence;
- If no reply is received by the specified date write a second letter stating that if the employee does not contact the employer within 7 days of the date of the correspondence it will be accepted that they have abandoned their employment.
- If the employee has made no attempt to contact the employer as to continuing their employment, or the excuse for the absence is unsatisfactory, the employer must assume that the employee has abandoned their employment from the date the employee last attended for work. In the case, where an explanation of absence is unsatisfactory the employer may deal with it as a disciplinary issue rather than abandonment of employment.
Payment of Wages
Payment on termination for outstanding wages, annual leave and long service leave must be tendered to the employee. There may be an ability to withhold wages in respect of any period of notice not served by the employee in accordance with their contract of employment and/or Award or Agreement.
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The information provided in this knowledge base article is general in nature and is not intended to substitute for professional advice. If you are unsure about how this information applies to your specific situation we recommend you contact Employment Innovations for advice.