Are employers obliged to pay employees for periods of absence that are unauthorised?

There is no obligation on employers to pay employees their normal pay for periods of unauthorised absence. An employer that fails to pay an employee in these circumstances would not normally be in breach of the employee's contract of employment. Non-payment would also not amount to an unlawful deduction from wages because payment would not be "properly payable" (under s.13(3) of the Employment Rights Act 1996) in the first place. However, to help reduce the likelihood of a dispute about non-payment employers can include a clause in the contract making clear that employees will not be paid for periods of unauthorised absence (see Policies and documents > Contract clause on deductions from wages for unauthorised absence).