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I have a member of staff that has worked for me for over five years, she went on annual leave for just a week. It is now three weeks later and she hasn't returned to work. I have heard through one of my other employees, who is friends with her on Facebook that her father has passed away. Although I obviously empathise, I think she should have been in touch with me personally to let me know her situation and also to let me know when she will be back in work. Am I right? - Crowther Image

I think any employer would be annoyed if an employee, regardless of circumstances, hadn’t informed them they were taking time off from work. You are right, she should be keeping you informed of her situation – how can you plan ahead if she isn’t giving you a regular update and communicating with you? This is where you really do rely on what you have written down within your policies and procedures and what is expected from your employees in circumstances such as this.

My initial discussion with the employee would be to see how she is and then point out the rules that I have in the employee handbook regarding communication during absence and what is expected. I would consider the circumstances, but the employee needs to be made aware that this could be viewed as a conduct issue and therefore after a full investigation disciplinary action may be taken.

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