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Abandonment of employment

Last updated December 2020

This chapter explains how to determine whether an employee has abandoned their employment and the steps you should take to reduce your legal risks.

What is abandonment of employment?

Definition: Abandonment of Employment

Abandonment of employment refers to a situation in which an employee fails to attend work for no reason known to the employer, and it is reasonable to conclude that they no longer wish to work for the business.

An employee abandons their employment when they:

  • cease to attend their place of employment;
  • without proper excuse or explanation; and
  • as a result, show an unwillingness or inability to substantially perform their obligations under the employment contract.
Example

Mary works for IBGH Inc. on a full-time basis. Employees of IBGH are required to notify their manager as soon as reasonably practicable if they cannot attend work, and give a reason for the absence. Mary is absent for a week without contacting her manager. Her manager makes several attempts to locate Mary and communicate with her, with no success.
Important: If an employee acts in a way that would cause you to reasonably assume they are abandoning their employment, you can treat the employment as having come to an immediate end.
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