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Unauthorised Absence Guidance

1. Employees are required to attend work during their agreed hours, and should not be absent without prior authorisation. If employees are not able to attend work due to ill health, they are required to follow the sick absence reporting procedures. Where employees fail to do so, they may be dealt with under the Disciplinary Policy.

 2. The line manager has a duty of care to support their employee and therefore if an employee does not notify their Line Manager on the first day of absence, the manager should take steps to contact them using the most appropriate means in order to ensure their safety and well-being.

 3. If all attempts to contact the individual fail, by the third day of unauthorised absence the line manager must write to them (send the letter recorded delivery). The manager should ensure that the letter is adapted to suit individual cases, but it should include:

  • expression of concern that they have not heard from the employee
  • notification that the employee should contact their manager, within three working days of receipt of the letter, with an explanation of their absence
  • a warning that their absence may be regarded as unauthorised
  • notification that a certificate is required for sick absence for absences over seven days (Fit Note)
  • an indication of the possible consequences, i.e. loss of pay and disciplinary action if they fail to comply with the procedure for notifying sick absence
  • information on where the individual can obtain help and support.

 4. The line manager must keep a record of the action taken. If an employee does not make contact within three working days the manager should write again making it clear that disciplinary action may be taken, unless a satisfactory explanation is received within a further five working days.

 5. The manager must also ensure that HR is notified of unauthorised absence, so that they can arrange to stop pay. Pay will be stopped from the first day of absence and until contact is made and appropriate evidence is provided.

 6. If, after issuing the letter, and a reply is not forthcoming within the timescale set out, disciplinary action will be taken in line with the Discipline Policy.

 May 2020, HR Department