Friday, April 16, 2010

Abandonment of Employment from an Employer Perspective.

I am currently in the process of terminating an employee for abandonment of employment. I don’t like doing this, it’s not the first time I’ve had to do this and I doubt it will be the last.

But that is my job and I do my job, to ensure that the product goes out the door, that the money comes in the door and staff do what they are meant to do, including turning up to work on time and the allocated days and then everyone gets paid. That’s what I’m PAID to do.

In the 20 years that I have been doing pays/wages/salaries, whatever it is you wish to call it, I’ve also stopped people being sent to jail for failure to meet repayment plans and similar.

The most current situation involved the receipt of a garnishee order (which means that the company is now required BY LAW, to submit a certain amount of money to the claimant, which is deducted after tax from an employee’s wages)

The employee was coached and advised what was going to occur, the employee accepted that he would have to knuckle down for 12 months and then the problem would be done and dusted. It was thought that he’d accepted the consequences of his actions and was ready to deal with them.

The deductions started, leaving a very basic wage for the employee to live with for 12 months. Four (4) payments were made on his behalf, over a period of 8 weeks, then without notice the employee failed to turn up to work on Wednesday. Nothing was thought of it, he’s 22 years old and can sometimes be a little unreliable, that is what employers of today have to put up with and accept.

Wednesday, Thursday, no contact, no show, no communication. On Friday, a phone call was made, the mobile phone was switched off, the employees’ file was dug out and the emergency contact called. The emergency contact advised that the employee was locked in his bedroom and wouldn’t come out. Message left get him to call us as soon as possible.

Pay fortnight comes around – it is decided to try and flush him out by not paying, under abandonment of employment clause. Three (3) weeks later, still no show. Registered mail has been sent and returned, further calls made to the emergency contact. All to no avail.

By the 5th week, we still have not heard anything, so make an internal decision to terminate employment officially under abandonment of employment. The decision came through just after the closing of the pay period, so the decision was held over for a further 2 weeks. In the meantime the employee turns up at the nearest Centrelink office, to claim benefits. A call was made to the manager of the branch, the story as it stood was told. The manager was told that the employee would be unable to claim benefits until a separation certificate has been supplied. The employees’ reason for leaving his place of employment, a disagreement with management.

This is the first we have heard about a disagreement, this is the first we have heard about any problems relating to us.

The decision is now set in concrete, abandonment of employment, reason unknown. With this it is believed that a waiting period of 8 weeks will occur before benefits are payable. Something we wanted to avoid, but unavoidable given the circumstances.

Noting that the employee has yet to contact or respond to any communication sent by said employer!

Go figure.

Post Script - for those of you reading this and considering doing the same, please read Part 1 - Financial Woes and part 2 - Financial Woes


  1. Great post! Unfortunately quite typical of the lack of commitment from employees these days. Hindsight will be a wonderful learning curve for this young man - not that he obviously realises that yet!

  2. Thanks for the comment Annalisa, I know it's 'typical' - yet when we say typical - we are then shouted down. Find me an employer who hasn't had these problems with people UNDER the age of 25 or even 30 these days?

    People complain we never give young people a chance, how can we, when they more often than not bite the hand that feeds them?

    We have now employed 2 x causal staff to cover that position in the hope that if one lets us down we can call the 2nd one in cover the missing days until we can find ANOTHER replacement.

    And people wonder why full-time perm positions are disappearing - we are left with NO alternative.