Employment Matters – Absences

Employment matters with thanks to Chapman Employment Relations

An employee had applied for annual leave to go overseas, but I turned it down because I already have two staff off at that time. He has come back to me and said he is going anyway. I am really angry about his attitude and I really can’t be without another staff member at this time. What can I do?

If you have genuine business reasons for turning down an employee’s annual leave application, an employer has the right to do this. The employee does not have the right to go when the employer has reasonably refused the request.

It is important you notify the employee again that the leave has not been approved and the consequences of him going, i.e. you may dismiss him. Put this in writing to him.

If he still takes the leave you will need to follow a disciplinary process before potentially reaching the conclusion that you will dismiss him for being absent without authority.


My employee didn’t turn up to work for three days, he didn’t call in sick or anything, and then just waltzed in and said nothing. The gossip on the floor is that he went pig hunting. What can I do about it?

Any time someone is absent from work and you haven’t heard from them, you need to try to contact them to found out why they are not at work and when they will be back. If they don’t respond to your calls and then subsequently show up at work, the first step is to ask them why they were absent and hadn’t notified you. If their answer is not acceptable to you (or you don’t believe it), you have the option of initiating a disciplinary investigation, which may result in giving the employee a warning or dismissing him, depending on the circumstances. Before determining the outcome of the investigation you need to follow fair process, and the outcome must be ‘what a fair and reasonable employer could have done in the circumstances.’

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