Query on unthourised absence
A company has a laid down policy on absenteeism and disciplinary procedure in so far as unauthorised absenteeism is concerned. This is progressive policy to educate and reform the habitual absentee workman in step by step manner. There are 21 steps being involved in disciplining the absentee workman which includes at the outset counselling, followed by written advice , further followed by written warning ,further followed by punitive suspension ranging from one day to 4 days maximum ( all in writing ) for each successive act of untahorised absenteeism unless a duration ( gap) between the previous absence for which the workman has been dealt with as per procedure and the next incident of unathourisedly absence exceeds three months. That is to say ,that if the workman shows good attendance ( without a single day of unthourised absence) for three months after the last incident of absenteeism for which he would have been counselled or warned, or suspended depending on near frequency between one action and next action, the management gives the absentee workman, the benefit of being proceeded on the first step viz counselling/warning instead of taking his instance act of unathourisedly absence cumulatively lading to awarding him of extreme punishment of dismissal ( after a formal domestic enquiry being conducted by a external Enquiry Officer) .
Following the aforesaid absenteeism and discipline policy, if the workman happens to gets into the 21st action mode ( wherein he has absented within three months after the last unathourisedly absence ie 20th action mode involving suspension for 4 days as last but one action, he will be issued a show cause Notice as a pre curser to full-fledged domestic enquiry by an external enquiry officer in pursuance of final action i.e. Dismissal from service ( upon receipt of findings from Enquiry Officer holding him guilty of habitual unauthorised absenteeism)
The action mode triggers even if the unthourised absence by workman is for a single day .
Here the views/opinion required is whether it would be appropriate to dismiss a workman who happened to be found guilty of misconduct of indulging in one day unauthorised absence , considering his habitual act of unthourised orised absence ( past record of attendance establishes the fact) as ground for dismissal . Whether the action of management t dismiss his services would be tenable in court of law if challenged, Of course he is confirmed workman .
Today From India, Chennai
Workmen showing improvement in attendance over a reasonable period of time without recurrence of act of unauthorised absence consequent upon counselling/advice rendered /admonishment should be treated with leniency as per guidelines below:
The templates to be used for different occasions as spelt out in the Gird should be as below:
a) For a worker who has 0 to 7 years of work experience, for every 4 months of "zero unauthorized absenteeism", the disciplinary process will be taken 1 step back.
b) For a worker who has more than 7 years of work experience, for every 3 months of "zero unauthorized absenteeism", the disciplinary process will be taken 1 step back.
c) For a worker who has 12 months of "zero unauthorized absenteeism", the disciplinary process will be taken 1 step back.

From India, Chennai
Instead of punishment-oriented scheme you can reduce absenteeism by a novel attendance incentive scheme. The scheme can be designed.
The law of the land allows termination after following principles of natural justice for a number of enquiries. Courts have used term 'capital punishment' for termination & check whether the employee was given opportunities to improve his / her attendance records. You have to patiently build records over period before you take extreme step of termination.
Your policy will have little meaning if you don't give 3-4 opportunities to delinquent employee for intermittent unauthorised absenteeism after that many enquiries.

From India, Mumbai
Dear Senprithvi,
Despite your praise for the so-called progressive policy of educating and reforming the habitual absentee employees in a step by step manner adopted in your establishment, why the doubt arises automatically in your mind regarding the proposed punishment of dismissal of the delinquent after the 21st mode for the misconduct of unauthorised absence for even a single day and its sustainability before a Judicial Authority?
Unauthorised absence can be of two types - one is absence without any intimation and the other is absence even after denial of sanction of leave. You are well aware of the employment practice that no leave would be sanctioned to employees when all their leave are already exhausted. Even after the rejection of the leave asked for, if they do not turn up for work they would be marked as 'absent' and no salary would be paid for such absent days. Of course, taking disciplinary action in this regard is a matter of discretion depending upon the employee's attendance history. If the reason for such single day's unauthorised absence is that of a sudden critical health condition of any one of the employee's family members or himself it would be justifiable though it reflects his incorrigible character. Needless to remind you that Sec.11-A of the Industrial Disputes Act,1947 empowers the Industrial Adjudicator to modify the punishment of dismissal if he deems so. Therefore, if the dismissed employee substantiates the justification for his absence on that particular day to the satisfaction of the Tribunal and establishes that the extreme punishment of dismissal is actually for his previous absence on several occasions for which he was already punished and is only a predilection of the management simply based on its policy and not on its proper application of mind, the Court may accept it and modify the dismissal orders such as reinstatement without back wages.
Out of my experience as an Ex-Conciliation Officer, I feel that you need not let the noose loose so long. After one or two occasions of warning and other kinds of punishments, if he continues to be absent for more than three or four days continuously without any intimation on any one occasion, initiate proper disciplinary action citing the previous punishments for his absence as well as affording him all the reasonable opportunities, terminate his services.

From India, Salem
Dear Mr.Umakanthan,
With due regards to your views my query, sometimes, it may happen that a workman may happen to indulge in unathourisedly absence of one day spell for 30 days in a year i.e. on 30 occasions and for each such occasion, the employer issues only an advisory or warning letter against such recurrence for the act of unathourisedly absence and in the whole year the employer may not have a case ( ie three days and above days of absence consecutively on a single spell) In such a scenario, do we have to keep silence and enable the workman to go scot free ( except issuance of advisory / warning letter for each occasion/spell involving single day absence) .
Could we have your views,
Thanks & regards

From India, Chennai
One way is to monitor unauthorised absenteeism every six or even three months. So if delinquent employee continues to remain unauthorisedly absent for 4-5 days in the period, you will be able to to cause separation of employee after, say, 2 1/2- 3 years. You have got to be patiently building record, there is no other way. Conduct domestic enquiry after every decided period & hand over warning, 1 day, 2 day, 3 day, & 4 day suspension with couple of repetitions of quantum of punishment. This will establish that you are being considerate to employee. Four day suspension has to be repeated. Then you may terminate services of such employee.
From India, Mumbai
Dear Senprithvi,
I too accept the principle underlying the maxim - " To err is human, to forgive is divine but to persist on is rather unwise". In the case of a habitual absentee employee, one day's unauthorised absence or more on the same occasion does not matter much so far as the gravity of the misconduct stretches back to his habitual unauthorised absence in gross violation of his contract of employment thereby affecting the establishment's work schedule. My suggestion was mainly based on the perspective of the adjudicator only. It does not mean that you should necessarily wait for the occasion of more than one day's absence. The last para of my previous reply, therefore, may please be read based on the principle of " Sama, Dhana, Bedha, Dhanda " and not on mere no of days of unauthorised absence in the case of a habitual absentee.

From India, Salem
Thanks for your views Rgds senprithvib6
From India, Chennai

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