Introduction to this document

Unauthorised absence policy

Our policy statement makes it clear that unauthorised absences will not be tolerated and will be dealt with under the disciplinary procedure. Whilst this may seem obvious, including it in the staff handbook makes the position crystal clear.


It is more common than you might think for employees to simply fail to report for work. Sometimes, you never hear from the employee again. Usually, this is because they have resigned but couldn’t be bothered to let you know. Other times, they turn up to work a few days later. In these circumstances, you can take appropriate action because unauthorised absence is a disciplinary offence. Having an Unauthorised Absence policy statement in your staff handbook ensures that employees are aware there will be serious consequences if they simply go “absent without leave”. Our statement covers the main scenarios when an employee is likely to take a period of unauthorised absence. It also sets out the procedure that you will follow to tackle the issue where there is a case of unauthorised absence.


There is no obligation to pay employees their normal pay for periods of unauthorised absence. An employer that fails to pay an employee in these circumstances would not normally be in breach of the employee’s contract of employment. Non-payment would also not amount to an unlawful deduction from wages because payment would not be properly payable in the first place. However, to help reduce the likelihood of a dispute about non-payment, we’ve included a provision in the policy making clear that employees will not be paid for periods of unauthorised absence.