Absence Without Leave

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Absence without leave (AWOL) is an unauthorised absence; absence during which an employee fails to attend work but where s/he does not have a statutory or contractual right, or the employer's permission, to be absent. If an employee fails to attend work without a good reason, or cites illness as the reason for absence after having failed to comply with the employer's rules on reporting and certifying sickness absence, this will amount to unauthorised absence.

Absences due to pre-booked annual leave, genuine and correctly reported sickness absence and maternity or other family-related leave, or absences as a result of a statutory right to take time off (for example to carry out public duties or care for dependants) do not constitute unauthorised absence.

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