In Boguslaw Bienias v Iplex Pipelines Australia, a team leader failed to show up to work for a fortnight. During his absence, Iplex attempted to contact the employee by phone, in writing, and even arranged for the police to conduct a welfare check on him. The employee did not respond. As a result of this case’s decision, the FWC announced that it will review abandonment clauses in all modern awards.
Employees are sometimes accused of abandoning their employment. The employee may have simply disappeared. Other times, the employee remains in contact but, perhaps because of an (alleged) injury or illness, refuses or fails to attend at work. Where is the line drawn between temporary absence and abandonment and, in any case, how should an employer deal with it?