What are the implications of absconding from work?

What are the implications of absconding from work?

Every business, small or big, keeps facing a critical problem with its employees, which is absconding from work. In simple words, any employee where he or she leaves the organization without any notice can be referred to as absconding.

He or she may be absent for a few days or weeks, or just not come back at all! This is a big problem faced by most employers around the globe and this takes quite a while to fix. This is because an organization invests a lot in its employees and all goes in vain. 

What can an employer do if faces absconding from work problem in the organization?

An employer can follow a given below standard procedure if absconding from work situation arises within the organizations. 

  1. Contact the employee by sending him/her a mail or by phone calls.
  2. If the employers get no response, then the employer can send an official written letter on the last known address of the absconder.
  3. The employer is now allowed to quote the exact sections of the employee handbook and ask for the reasons for his/her absence. He can ask the employee to report back as soon as possible.
  4. If the employer still gets no response within a specified period, he can now send a warning letter to the employee with information that termination action can be taken against the employee if he doesn’t report back to the organization.
  5. If there is no response received after 15 days of the warning letter, the employer has the right to take legal action and he can deliver a legal notice to the absconder’s address and has the right to terminate him/her then.

Other Options when employee absconding from work

But getting into legal proceedings is a lengthy and costly affair, especially the small business. Hence, there are other ways to tackle this problem as well; 

  • The employer has the right to hold the full and final settlement of the employee absconding. 
  • If an employee absconds, the HR can hold the relieving letter of the employee.
  • The employer has the option to post a rating or a negative review on the international register of employee and employer ratings.
  • HR has an option to provide a negative reference for the absconding employee.
  • The employer can put a hold on the governmental social benefits for employees (such as PF) payout to some extent.
  • The employer has the option to put details of the employee in the common blacklisted employees’ list like the one from NASSCOM.

Note: It is extremely crucial for the employers to terminate an absconder once he gets exhausted after trying all the options to get in touch with the employee. 

Organisation Statutory responsibilities

As an HR or senior employer, the person has to pay the absconder’s salary for the time he or she has a worker in the organization.

All of the statutory payments (for instance, health insurance, pensions, taxes, etc) owed to the worker and the government must be submitted until the last working day of the employee. 

In case any employee absconding from work has a due left to be paid, for instance, advances, pending loans, etc then the employer has all the right to claim and recover the amount through legal procedure, which is, through the court. 

Once the calculation is made by an employer, any employees, education or other company loans or advances that were made to the worker before he deserted, must be taken into consideration. It has to be noted that an employer can only do this if permission was given by the employee.

For any amounts that the employee owes the company, a claim must be instituted by the company to recover those. It cannot be set off against the amounts the employee is owed by the company.

From a practical perspective, it’d be better for a company to write off the debt. If recovering the money, the odds are slim believing that the former employee must be located in order to bring a claim against him at the Court if the amount is under R12,000 or the Magistrates’ Court.

There might be hardly any satisfaction in enforcing execution if the employer manages to have a judgment against the worker. It is thus crucial to deal with instances of abscondment efficiently.

Responsibilities of an HR

  1. HR must have regular talks with the workers and be conscious of their satisfaction levels and struggles confronted. He must get opinions through participation in polls.
  2. There ought to be sufficient focus on employee development through coaching and mentorship.
  3. A transparent, objective performance management procedure ought to be introduced for opinions from workers and their supervisors. This ought to be introduced to involve all stakeholders.
  4. Tracking goal progress frequently and running regular check-ins to offer constant feedback should become an essential portion of the workers’ job role within the company.
  5. A comfortable work area with decent surroundings ought to be made for the whole workforce.

Why is absconding from work is a bad idea for the employees?

Absconding should never be an option for any employee, no matter what company he is working in. There are lots of ways to get into deep trouble, and absconding is one of them. There are various consequences of absconding. A few of them are

  • An employee will face a loss of pay or salary.
  • There will not be any experience letter with the employee.
  • Absconder will be left with a bad reputation, as he/she will be put into the blacklist and never be rehired.
  • If the employee is working in an area where the job market is small, he will suffer because there won’t be anyone recommending him or her for the next job.
  • And probably the most important one is the case where an employee owes money or assets to the company. The company or organization has the right to sue the employee legally and recover the amount.


Absconding from work is a very critical issue to tackle and this must be handled carefully by the HR or the employer. An employer always wants employee retention in his company and he must work for that.

An HR must find out the reasons for absconding of an employee and make sure it never gets repeated with his other employees, after all, it is a matter of reputation of the company as well.

These were the ways in which an HR can handle the absconding and what steps he could take and what are the consequences of absconding of any employee. Thus, everyone, both employees and employers must be aware of ‘what to do’ and ‘what not to’.

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