What happens when an employee stops coming to work and we hear on the grapevine that they may be in prison?
Firstly we hope this never happens to you.
However should it do, it might be because the employee has been remanded in prison following being charged with an offence.
Whilst you might think that given how prisoners are allowed to make calls that calling their employer would be a priority, sadly the employee may leave you not knowing where they are.
In the circumstances where you don’t know ‘officially’ where your employee is I would recommend you treat as AWOL and write to your employee at their home address asking them to explain their absence.
If you don’t hear from them then you can treat their absence as AWOL and terminate following a fair procedure. If they do respond to confirm what you heard as rumours is true, then you may be faced with an employee who resigns or one that you give notice to.
If they resign and serve you with notice that they don’t work you will not be obligated to pay for that notice.
Should they do not resign and where the employee has 2 years service, you have other considerations. We would advise you investigate their imprisonment, and evaluate the facts then make a decision to terminate employment.
One of the factors might include how long they will be on remand, another the nature of the offence they are charged with.
This could be on the grounds of conduct, capability or even ‘some other substantial reason’ for dismissal.
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