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Can You Terminate An Employee For Taking Unauthorised Leave?




In a recent case reviewed by the Fair Work Commission (FWC), an example emerged regarding the dismissal of an employee by their former employer.


The employee commenced their employment in February 2023 but was dismissed in November of the same year.


The employer outlined several grounds for dismissal, including missed deadlines, substandard work quality, negative client feedback, and a disregard for instructions.


The employee also had a history of taking unapproved leave and displaying a pattern of tardiness or absence.


From late May to early June 2023, the employee did not show up to work, and did not provide an explanation. He later attributed his absence to his mother's health issues.


The dispute also extended to the employee's (under)performance, with the employer highlighting instances of inadequate workmanship and project delays. On the other hand, the employee contended that they diligently adhered to instructions and often put in extended hours without breaks, feeling aggrieved by perceived unfair treatment from management.


The FWC's ruling, in favour of the employer, offers valuable insights into the balance between employee rights and employer obligations.

While acknowledging the employee's care giving responsibilities, the commission emphasised the significance of adhering to workplace policies. The decision showed the importance of timely communication and compliance with leave procedures.


Furthermore, it highlights the potential consequences of performance issues on both job security and company operations.


This case is a reminder for both employers and employees alike about the importance of clear communication, adherence to workplace policies, and the implications of performance standards in the workplace.


If you need help with staff underperformance, managing expectations or introducing clear workplace policies, get in touch sandra@hrconsultingtas.com.au

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