If an employee is absent without authorisation can the employer make a deduction from his or her pay?

A worker must be ready and willing to perform his or her duties in order to be entitled to receive payment. However, an employer should not automatically make a deduction from wages simply because the employee is absent without authority. The employer should investigate the reason for the employee's absence. Deductions from pay should be made only where it is absolutely clear that the employee has deliberately refused to work without any justification. In most cases the employee is likely to have a reason why he or she has not attended work and, in practical terms, where the reason appears unacceptable to the employer, the most common route would be for it to follow the disciplinary procedure.

Where it is clear that the employee has deliberately refused to work without good reason and where there is nothing in the contract to the contrary, the employer may make a deduction in respect of the period where no work was carried out. Employers should also ensure that they act consistently when dealing with employees who are absent without authority, so as to avoid the risk of discrimination claims.

Employers should ensure that employees are aware of the notification procedure to follow if they are unable to attend work, for example if there is disruption to the transport system or if a dependant has been involved in an accident.