Avoid a St Patrick's Day HR hangover

Moira Grassick - Chief Operating Officer

March 15 2024

First published: March 10th 2020
Last updated: March 15th 2024

St Patrick’s day brings nationwide celebrations, including into places of business.

And while employees are free to have fun, their celebrations shouldn’t interfere with your right to run your business.

When the fun goes a little too far and stops being fun for you, you might find yourself understaffed after the weekend celebrations.

If this is the case, what should you do?

Ensure you have an absenteeism policy in place

It can greatly benefit your business to have a written policy in place that outlines how you deal with employee absences. This can help you handle short and long-term absences in a fair and consistent manner, and it can help employees know what to expect.

Has the employee complied with the policy?

An absenteeism policy should require employees to notify management of their absence as soon as possible. Confirm if the employee has made any efforts to contact you in the manner required by your policy.

Try to establish contact

Try to make contact with the absent employee to establish the cause of the absence. It’s good practice to ensure you record the time and the methods you used to establish contact.

What about pay?

There is no general obligation to pay wages during unauthorised periods of absence. That is, of course, unless the employment contract states so. Otherwise, the employee has no entitlement to receive pay during unauthorised absences.

Schedule a return to work interview

You should conduct a return-to-work interview with the employee once they return. Depending on the employee’s explanation, it may be necessary to take action under your disciplinary procedures.

Dealing with repeat offenders

If the employee is a repeat offender, it may be time to begin formal disciplinary action to put a stop to intermittent short-term absences. Last year, the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) confirmed that frequent absenteeism can justify dismissal.

Take a measured approach

Unauthorised absences can occur for myriad reasons. They can be frustrating and costly for your business. Still, acting too quickly and out of emotion may only aggravate the situation. It’s highly recommended you carry out a thorough investigation into the circumstances before deciding what action to take.

Need our help?

If you would like further complimentary advice on unauthorised absence from an expert, our advisors are ready to take your call any time day or night. Call us on 0818 923 923 or request a callback here.

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