Absent Without Leave (Unauthorised Absences)

Where an employee is absent from duty except on approved leave, the employee is not entitled to salary for that period as the absence from duty was not authorised. Provided that an employee prevented by sudden illness, injury or other emergency from attending their place of employment is not regarded as absent without authorization if the employee reports the absence as soon as practicable and provides satisfactory evidence that the absence was unavoidable.

Continued absence from duty without approved leave may lead to cessation of employment.

Reasonable efforts must be made to contact the person, prior to ceasing the employment of an employee who is absent without authority.  This should include written notification to the employee at their last known address advising that their absence is unauthorised and that failure to report for duty or otherwise explain the absence by a specified date will result in the cessation of employment. The proposed date of effect for the cessation must be included in the written notification. It is recommended that any correspondence with the employee be sent by registered mail.

In response to the written notification of unauthorised absence the employee may explain their absence in writing or orally at any time prior to the cessation date specified in the notification. On receipt of any explanation the principal/manager may:

  • accept the explanation and, if necessary, grant the employee leave for a further period of absence on such conditions specified; or
  • reject the explanation and require the employee to return to duty by a date specified. If the employee does not return to duty by the specified date their employment will automatically cease on the following day, or at the expiration of the relevant period specified below (whichever is the later).

Abandonment of Employment

An ongoing teaching service employee who is absent from duty and the absence is not authorised (absent without leave) for a period of three calendar months (including school vacations) ceases to be an employee in accordance with section 2.4.34(1) of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006.

In the event the ongoing teaching service employee fails to provide an explanation, or the principal rejects the explanation, the employment of that person automatically ceases under section 2.4.34(1) with effect from the date specified.

Section 2.4.34(2) of the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 provides that a person whose employment has been terminated under section 2.4.34(1) may apply in writing to the principal (as the Secretary’s delegate) to be reinstated.  If the principal is satisfied that the person had, in all the circumstances, reasonable grounds for being absent without authority the principal may reappoint the person to that school at the classification and salary level that employee held immediately prior to the cessation of employment. In considering reinstatement the principal must be satisfied that the person meets the relevant pre-employment requirements such as current registration with the Victorian Institute of Teaching or a valid Working with Children Check.  Principals may contact Schools People Services on 1800 641 943 for advice on how to give effect to the reinstatement.

The teaching service and public service enterprise agreements provide for abandonment of employment.  If a fixed term teaching service employee or a public service employee is absent for more than 20 working days the principal/manager is entitled to treat the employee as having resigned and the employment as having been terminated by the employee at the employee's initiative where the principal/manager:

  • could not reasonably, after due enquiry, have been aware of any reasonable grounds for the absence; and
  • had not given the employee permission to be absent; and
  • was not provided with an explanation for the absence

A former fixed term teaching service employee, who considers their employment should not have been terminated may apply to the Merit Protection Boards for consideration of the matter in accordance with the requirements from time to time of that body.

Other Resources


Procedures

  • AWOL Administration procedures  - Teaching Service only  (WORD)
  • Leave Application (WORD)


Legislation



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