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AWOL or absent without leave is applied for absences without prior notice and approval.

 
 

Here’s another email inquiry, this time about AWOL. Sharing my response to this Q because non-observance of 30 days notice in employee resignation is a general HR concern.

 
 
AWOL when employee resigns immediately 
 
Dear sir Sonnie,
 
Good morning. I just want to ask your opinion about our employee who submitted a resignation letter dated last June 30, 2019, and his last day will be effective July 31, 2019. However, he is not reporting since June 19 until now and mentioned his consent to our Finance Manager that he will not anymore get his claims and last pay and will just go AWOL.
 
In this case, shall we still need to send an official AWOL Letter to him or we will just let it be? By the way, he is a Probationary employee who was hired on April 15, 2019. Thank you for your advice.
 
 
My response:
 
First and foremost, 1-month notice is a requirement of the law. In some companies that offer gratuity benefits, 30 days are counted as “working days”. In the absence of a policy, 30 days are counted as “calendar days”.
 
Non-observance of 30 days (unless those exempted by law) gives management the prerogative to run after the offending employee and collect financial damages.

G.R. No. 202961 February 4, 2015
 
“The Civil Code provides that the employer is authorized to withhold wages for debts due:
 
Article 1706. Withholding of the wages, except for a debt due, shall not be made by the employer.
“Debt” in this case refers to any obligation due from the employee to the employer. It includes any accountability that the employee may have to the employer. There is no reason to limit its scope to uniforms and equipment, as petitioners would argue.”

Going back to the question, how do we handle AWOL in connection with employee resignation:
 
Case 1: Resignation letter states 30 days notice and resignation was duly accepted
Case 2: Resignation letter states 30 days notice, document received but resignation not yet accepted because of a pending case.
Case 3: Resignation letter do not comply with the 30 days notice and resignation is not yet accepted
Case 4: Resignation letter do not comply with 30 days notice but resignation was accepted
 
 

Case 1: Resignation letter states 30 days notice and resignation was duly accepted

 
If an employee suddenly stopped reporting for work without approved leave, management can proceed with sending two AWOL letters and return to work order in a period of 10 days, 3rd letter will be an abandonment of work and willful disobedience to a lawful order. Treatment of authorized leaves depends on company policy.
 
 

Case 2: Resignation letter states 30 days notice, document received but resignation not yet accepted because of a pending case.

 
If an employee is under administrative investigation, management has the prerogative to withhold acceptance of resignation pending the result of the investigation.
 
Same AWOL application as above if employee stopped reporting for work within the rendering period. After the investigation, management may either accept the resignation or proceed with termination if that is the result of the investigation. Acceptance of resignation, however, does not absolve the employee on his accountabilities.
 
If without a case and an employee absents himself after the rendering period, the company does not have the right to force an employee to stay or extend his employment, Any extension is subject to the concurrence of the employee. Forcing employees to extend is tantamount to involuntary servitude.
 
 

Case 3: The resignation letter does not comply with the 30 days notice and resignation is not yet accepted.

 
Option 1: State/write on the RL that the notice is not accepted unless 30 days’ notice has complied. If the employee insisted that he will proceed with the original schedule of resignation, then issue an NTE, re: why an *amount of _______ will not be collected from the employee for non-compliance to article 300 of the labor code.
 
[better option] Option 2: Respond in writing that the resignation notice is non-compliant to Art 300 of the labor code, and if the employee pushes thru, then financial damages in the *amount of ________ will be collected. Let the employee sign and acknowledge.
 
*amount representing damages should have a basis, stated in the policy or stipulated in the contract and discussed during new employee orientation.
 
On the computation of the final pay, such an amount should be included in employee accountability. Clearance depends on full settlement or as agreed upon.
 
But management cannot withhold a certificate of employment.
 
 

Case 4: Resignation letter do not comply with 30 days notice but resignation was accepted

 
With the acceptance, it may be assumed that the employer waived its right to the 30 days rendering period. It frees the employee from financial damages resulting from the noncompliance to the 1-month notice rule. AWOL is not also applicable in this instance.
 
 
 
 

Disclaimer: The articles found on this blog do not constitute legal advice, and engagement/discussion does not signify a professional-client relationship. Likewise, subsequent court and administrative rulings, or changes to, or repeal of, laws, rules, and regulations may have rendered the whole or part of this article inaccurate or obsolete.

 
 
 
 

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