When an employee is absent from work, and the employer is not aware of his whereabouts, the law requires that the employer takes certain steps before deciding that the employment relationship is terminated.
If the employee at a later stage decides to refer the matter to the CCMA or the Bargaining council, the employer must be able to prove to the commissioner that the necessary steps were taken to try and locate the employee’s whereabouts. This is where Legal Dispatch’s Legal Notice (historically Telegram Service) automatic proof of sending and delivery is essential.
Legal Dispatch provides employers with a copy of the Legal Notice they sent, as well as proof that the document was delivered with essential date and time stamps for reference. A delivery is successful if it is, either handed to the person concerned, a person who appears to be at least 16 years old and in charge of the person’s place of residence, or left at the last known address of the employee or an address chosen by the employee to receive service.
Legal Dispatch also provides an SMS service with proof of sending, should an employer further wish to prove that they attempted to contact the employee by cellphone message.
What is the recommended procedure?
Where the employee has been absent from work for three or more consecutive days and the employer is not aware of his whereabouts, the employer must first make all attempts to contact the employee and summons him to report for duty. According to the CCMA rules, this can be done by sending him a telegram (a message sent by telegraph and then delivered in written or printed form – last used in 2013) or leaving a copy of a document at his last known address.
The following procedure may be followed:
- A letter is sent to inform the employee that they must contact their employer or report for duty within a specified time frame, failing which a disciplinary hearing will be held.
- Should the employee fail to contact the employer, a second notice should be sent informing them of the date, time and place where a disciplinary hearing will be held.
- Should the employee fail to respond or arrive at the disciplinary hearing, the hearing is usually held in the employee’s absence. A third and final communication will be sent confirming the findings and ruling of the hearing (usually dismissal if the employee has made no contact or provided no valid reasons for their absence).
You have been absent from work without permission since (First day of absence) and failed to communicate your absence to the company.
You are instructed to return to work immediately or contact your manager on: (Contact Number).
Failure to do so will result in a disciplinary hearing being held which could lead to your dismissal.
With reference to the company’s previous communication to you dated (Sent date), you have failed to return to work or contact your manager.
You are hereby notified that a disciplinary hearing on the date and time and at the venue specified below will be held, wherein you will be required to answer to the allegation of being absent without leave.
Hearing Date & Time: (Hearing Date & Time)
Venue: (Address of Hearing)
You have the right to representation by a fellow employee, the right to call witnesses, and present evidence.
Should you not attend, the hearing will continue in your absence.
On the (Hearing Date) you (Attended / Failed to attend) a disciplinary hearing (which was held in your absence). You were found guilty and are hereby summarily dismissed from (Company Name) with immediate effect.
Please be advised that should you feel the need to, you have 30 days in which to refer your case to the CCMA.
You will be paid for the days worked up to and including your final working day, and any leave days due to you.
(Add special notes like: pick up letter of dismissal, company property to be returned etc.)
There are a few options available to send your Legal Notices:
Upload the legal notice on your letterhead. Legal Notices are automatically submitted for delivery and you will typically receive your free proof of delivery within 3 working days. Track using our website.
Alternatively you can email us your Legal Notices to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bulk Legal Notices
Often used for Striking Employees or Bulk suspensions/terminations.
We will merge your template with your recipient list and send them out for delivery.
You will receive a proof of delivery for each recipient as well as a consolidated report after the entire run is complete.
Email us your requirements to email@example.com.