Hi Seniors, If workers take mass leave what kind of action and under which section we can take on such behaviour or act. Regards K.Raju
From India, Mumbai
Dear Raju,

Mass absenteeism sends a different signal. It cannot be seen just from the employee discipline point view. It has far different connotations. While you may mark the workers absent for a day, from the management science point of view, following needs to be investigated:

a) Workers, when they go on mass leave, they try to achieve collective what individually could not have been done. Therefore, did yo investigate the reasons for their mass absenteeism?

b) Mass absenteeism is nothing but sign of distrust between management and the workers. What are the causes of this distrust? It is also a sign of lack of career consciousness. Are the workers working in the same position for the years together? What are the opportunities for the career advancement?

c) Did you take disciplinary action against some employee in the recent past? If yes, then do they perceive it as injustice to that person? Is their action retaliatory to teach a lesson to the management?

d) Is there someone who is instigating the workers? Who is that could you identify?

e) Are the workers treated well? Do you pay as per minimum wages? Are there unreasonable deductions? What welfare measures do you have for them?

f) Mass absenteeism is nothing mental and emotional disengagement. They are physical engaged but not mentally. They could be working because they have very few growth opportunities. Absenteeism is nothing but expression of their frustration. What can you do to reduce the frustration?

g) How is the behaviour of their superior? Does he abuse them? Does he abuse because he says that they deserve abuse and he will not abuse provided good quality people are provided?

h) Does your company have labour union? Do they have connection with union leader of the area. Do they consider him as their saviour?

There are so many questions associated with your post. Let me repeat not to handle this issue only from the discipline angle. You may draw solace from deduction of day's salary of the absented workers, nevertheless, it may be noted that before taking this decision of mass absence, they had anticipated that they might have to forego their day's salary. Therefore, if you think that they can be reformed because of salary deduction then it would be wrong to think that.


Dinesh Divekar

From India, Bangalore
Hi Dineshji,
Thanks for prompt reply. We do not have union. At the start of the year we have alloted public holidays and one leave they wanted to alter. But management wanted to work on both days due to business exigencies.
Need to know what kind of legal actions we can take so that in future such acts will not follow.

From India, Mumbai
Dear Mr Raju,

Now It is clear from your points that the Workers Group has been denied to take Holiday,

Since the business exigency demands the job done on those dates but working hands were dissatisfied and decided to take leave. This is pure failure of IR people and the managements body either first line managers or above.

When you people know it advance, you all must be engaged in counseling the workers and supervisors for working on particular dates and get some people in your favour for working, considering the value and objective of the organisation for which all are engaged and employed. Suppose if any union has been existed then what can u people do ? According to me and perception these conditions will definetely make a danger for your organsation and leads to Industrial Dispute as early.

Take and deal the matter in very cool manner and identify the few people who are instigator for such condition and deal them very tactfully.

Organise a meeting with Shop Executives and kee workmen and discuss the matter so that it can not repeat in future and legal acttion will be taken latter when you will get some input. Deal them tactfully and please update ourself also further development.

Perhaps you have paid Holiday wages extra on that if not think again .

From India
Dear Raju,
The fact that your rejoinder insists on an answer to your earlier question only without any answers to the many counter- questions raised by the learned respondent except one that too merely as a piece of information indicates well that the issue of mass casual leave is just a tip of the ice berg of poor industrial relations in your industry. Certainly, you will have your own rules of discipline defining misconducts and their corrective measures. Even then, you are perplexed and hesitant. The reason is not just the misconduct but its enormity which culminated in a concerted fashion. I am unable to think that an isolated incident of the management's insistence to work on a declared holiday can provoke such a mass repraisal. In industrial relations, there are no such precise reactions as " right" or "wrong" but remedial moves of " appropriateness" or "inappropriateness". It is always wise to treat the hidden disease rather than its conspicuous symptoms.

From India, Salem
Dear Raju,
It seems a small problem got blown into a major crisis due to a somewhat adamant stance taken by management.Remember , you are not only dealing with 'labour-a mere factor of production' but 'Human Resource'-where a humane approach is needed.If it was exigency of work you could have always offered a compensatory off for employees working on that day.If it can be adjusted in the list of sanctioned holidays it's fine but if if not then you can sit together with some senior employees and find out which other holiday they are ready to sacrifice to enjoy this holiday - which apparently is important for them.For example in Bengal workers want more holidays in Durga Puja so they sacrifice holidays like Buddha Purnima etc.

From India, New Delhi
Dear Raju,

Mass absenteeism is an open symptom of serious sickness of the organisation, in itself, one of the biggest problem than that of indiscipline on the part of the workers. Mass absenteeism indicates employee dissatisfaction, which causes depletion of productivity, not only on the part of the workers, but also the organisation as a whole. Mere production under compulsion does not bring productivity. Only qualitative production with voluntary and sincere efforts of a satisfied worker can lead to productivity.

The event of mass absenteeism indicates that the management is neither employee-friendly, nor productivity oriented.

Thus, the immediate action that becomes due on the part of management is to review its own policies and practices, rather than thinking about any disciplinary action on the employees. Moreover, disciplinary action enmass would tend to invitation of disaster in the organisation by the management, itself. However, disciplinary action on a few of the real mischief mongers, not their followers, should be considered. That in itself would spread an appropriate message to their followers also. Rest depends upon the wisdom of the mnagement.

Anyway, best of luck.

From India, Delhi
Dear Raju,
There is a different meaning of Mass leave and Mass absenteeism. Mass leave whether it is a authorized or unauthorized ? Authorized represents permission to remain absent unauthorized represents absence without leave which may attract the disciplinary action. If you reveal in detail we can give our opinion.
Adoni Suguresh
Labolur Laws Consultant

From India, Bidar
Dear Friends,

Question is asked here, what action can be taken on Mass Absenteeism and under what Section?

My answer to this, is as under:

According to my view, Mass Absenteeism tantamount to Strike.

This Absenteeism should be treated as unauthorized absence (involving break in service) and should not be regularized as leave.

Any employee going on strike in any form should face consequences which, besides deduction of wages, may also include appropriate disciplinary action.

Attention is drawn to Section 9(2) of POW Act which is given verbatim as under"

" ...............Provided that subject to any rules made in this behalf by the State Government if ten or more employed persons acting in concert absent themselves without due notice (that is to say without giving the notice which is required under the terms of their contracts of employment) and without reasonable cause such deduction from any such person may include such amount not exceeding his wages for eight days as may by any such terms be due to the employer in lieu of due notice."

Need to issue appropriate Show Cause Notice mentioning all this and then take appropriate action under the guidance of legal expert.

From India, Mumbai
Dear Raju
It is still not clear whether
(1) the employees were absent en-masse during a holiday, despite being told to be present;
or, (2) they all tool leave on a working day.
Both situations are different.
You may like to clarify and put all th facts before nan appropriate suggestion can be given.
Warm regards.

From India, Delhi

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