Matthew has been charged with
absenteeism and called to a disciplinary hearing.
He doesn’t understand why he’s been charged, as he has not been absent from work.
On a closer look at his charge sheet, it states that Mathew has been charged with:
late-coming in the period: 22 June to 30 July 2018, which has resulted in 28 work hours lost.
2 Extended smoke and lunch breaks in the period: 4 June to 30 July, resulting in 15,5 work hours lost.
To Matthew, it still doesn’t make sense why he’s been charged with absenteeism because he was at work on the days mentioned – this is because being absent refers to any unreasonable and unexplained time that one is not at their workstation, or when one is not doing the job that they have been hired to do.
Therefore, absenteeism also refers to :
) Leaving early.
) Extended tea or lunch breaks.
) Attending to private business during working hours.
) Not attending to duties in terms of the employment contract.
) Extended toilet breaks.
) Faked illness.
) Other unexplained absence from the workstation or from the premises.
The reason absenteeism also refers to the above, is due to the fact that employers essentially hire and pay employees to provide them with their labour over the agreed amount of hours.
This means that the employee shouldn’t only come to work, but should be on time and be at their work station for the agreed number of hours.
The law also has a principle of Unjust Enrichment, which entails that a person can’t be enriched at the expense of another.
Therefore, an employee can’t be enriched at the expense of the employer. He needs to provide the services that he is been paid for.
Matthew says he has a good reason for being late for work, his shift was changed and now has to be at work earlier than before and due to public transport difficulties, he has not been able to get to work on time.
When it comes to giving reasons for absenteeism, an employer may note the reason as valid, but can still find that it unacceptable. The onus to get to work on time still rests on the employee.
To remedy the situation, the employee can approach the employer to work in the hours missed.
For instance, if Matthew is an hour late, he can work an hour extra at the end of his shift.
CONTINUOUS absenteeism can lead to a written warning being given to an employee and eventually dismissal. To avoid disciplinary action, an employee should:
)Request permission to take time off prior to actually taking the time off, if permission is denied and time is taken off anyway, this will amount to serious misconduct and the employee can be summarily dismissed.
) Inform the employer of challenges you may have regarding getting to work, and make arrangements regarding the hours that will be lost.
) Ensure that you inform the employer when something urgent has come up and you can’t make it to work on that day.
) Keep time off from work to only situations when necessary. Otherwise, apply for annual leave. Company rules for the application of maternity leave need to be followed.If Matthew can’t show at his hearing that he was justified being absent over the period that he has been charged for, and he’s found guilty, then he may receive a written warning.If he already has warnings for the same [mis]conduct, then he’ll surely be dismissed.