Labour Advice.2. What to do when employee is absent from work?


Once again we were posed with this question by one of our member whereby there is a consistence of absenteeism of some of employees without any justifiable grounds.

Absence from work is one of the act of misconduct against good labour practice. An employee is expected to be at work at all time as required by the terms of the contract. Any absence from work without the permission of the employer or supervisor may be considered as misconduct.

It has been a practice to some of employees to absent themselves from work at least twice or three times a month. This affects the production and efficiency of work at work place. However, some employers do not know what to do when the case of absenteeism occur.

As an employer, this might be your experience or likely to face such an experience in a near future.

Therefore as an association for employers we are duty bound to offer our advice on the above scenario as follows;-

Things to consider before taking any steps;-

  1. You must consider if the concerned employee has breached the terms of the contract, i.e. whether it is clear on contract on the days and hours employee is supposed to be at work place
  2. You must consider if the employee has formally communicate the need to be absent from work on particular day or days and if the employer has officially granted permission or not
  3. Employer must understand that absenteeism is an offence like any other offence and it has to be dealt with accordingly within reasonable time

Here are steps to deal with such situation;-

  • Prepare a letter to employee so that he/she can give explanation in writing as to why he/she has been absence from work
  • The answers to the letter must be provided within 48 hrs or more depends on the guidelines at the work place
  • When the answers not satisfactory and the employer thinks that disciplinary measures are to be taken against the employee, then employer must prepare a formal charge on the misconduct against the employee
  • The employer must arrange a meeting or disciplinary hearing whereby the matter can be heard and decided upon
  • If the employee is found guilty and appropriate punished be issued, it must be communicated in writing and such record must be kept in employee’s personal file
  • If the employee is not reformed with previous punishment such as counselling, warning or suspension then employer might issue severe punishment on repeated cases of absenteeism such as termination of employment contract.


It is important to note that being absent for more than 5 days may justify termination of employment services. However some employees tend to absent themselves for two or three days then show up at work place to avoid termination. The employer is allowed to penalise employees of such behaviour for repetition or cumulative number of days of absence and hence terminate their services.

For more information please contact your labour law advisor in any scenario you are facing.

Adv. Isaack Zake

Director of Legal and PR at TAACIME

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