AWOL is the abbreviation for absent without official leave. It refers to the absence of an employee without seeking prior approval before the day of absent. AWOL may be a valid ground for termination when it constitutes gross or habitual neglect of duty.

  • When does an employee need to file for a leave?
  • Can an employee be terminated for AWOL?
  • What is an employee is AWOL and does not return to work?
  • What if an employee submits resignation and AWOL?

When does an employee need to file for a leave?

It is the employer’s prerogative to provide a reasonable time frame for the employee to seek approval prior to the day of absence or notify the employer or authorized representative in cases of emergency and unforeseen circumstances.

Can an employee be terminated for AWOL?

An employee may be terminated for the unauthorized absences when it constituted gross or habitual neglect of duty prejudicial to its business operations. In terminating an employee for habitual absenteeism, the employer must prove that the dismissal is proportionate to the infractions committed, such as the impact to the company’s operations and the time frame which the infractions occurred leading to the termination of employment.

What if an employee is AWOL and does not return to work?

If an employee is absent from work with a clear intent of terminating the employer-employee relationship, the employee may be charged with abandonment of duty, which is a valid cause of termination. Abandonment refers to a deliberate unjustified refusal of the employee to resume the employment. It is not merely absences from work, it must also show the employee’s intention to sever the employer-employee relationship such as the submission of a resignation letter. Without which, the charge of abandonment shall be invalid.

If the employee has no clear signs of terminating the employment relationship but is absent without official leave, the employer may mete out corresponding disciplinary actions after the due process. In the event that the employee’s unauthorized absences constitute gross or habitual neglect of duty, the employer may dismiss the employee based on the just cause.

What if an employee submits resignation and AWOL?

An employee may terminate the employment relationship without a just cause by serving a written notice, or commonly known as a resignation letter to the employer at least 1 month in advance unless otherwise agreed upon. If the employee resigned from the employment without a just cause and without providing the 1-month notice, the employer may hold the employee liable for damages.