HRSINGAPORE Community Discussions

Termination due to poor attendance


Dear HR Community

We have an employee who has been taking sick leave as well as urgent leave too frequently in my opinion.

This has affected his overall attendance and therefore performance.

In such circumstances, and given the challenging times that we face, can we terminate him immediately, without notice?

We are in the IT industry.




HR Poll: Can we terminate an employee without notice for poor attendance?

Yes: 6.49%

No: 76.62%

Maybe: 16.88%






How long has the employee worked with the company how employee been counselled before and issued a warning letter - SL

Maybe you should find out what's happening to this employee first - Jillian

Check with him the reason for his frequency of taking such leave and let him know that overall attendance and performance is affected due to such leave - Jenny

Normally we will give a warning letter first. if no changes, then we will issue a termination letter with a notice period - Nicole

Hello Elsie, We are in the IT industry and have been encountering similar issues on and off, it can be very frustrating at times as it will affect the resources planning. Unfortunately, you cannot terminate him without notice. You may refer to guidelines on how termination without notice works. We cannot punish him for taking sick leave as long as there is valid MC, however, you may consider having a word with him in regards to the frequent urgent leave and if any valid reason given. Leave such as urgent leave should be subjected to approval by the superior - AT

Suggest that you arrange a counselling session together with his superior and ask him to improve on his attendance, inform him of the consequences if the problem persists. If no improvement is shown then you may take action - Angie

Do speak with the employee to understand their reason for taking urgent leave and do serve them warning letters before deciding to terminate them - Theresa

1. Is this reflected in his last appraisal as improvement point 2. Is your Company unionised, if yes, I don't think you can terminate based on the points above unless you have the necessary documents E.g. Urgent Leave Taken/ system/ reason, etc & counselling is done by superiors? HR? If No, there may be sufficient reasons to do as long as you have the documents to justify attendance which resulted in poor performance. 3. Do your Company have a Performance Improvement Plan in place? Hope this helps, cheers Stay Safe - Jane

One needs to go by what is in the employment contract as far as termination notice is concerned - KR

Set a meeting with the department to discussed how the work processes have affected the department. Then set a meeting with the employee to find out the reason for all the urgent leave and sick leave and have an in-depth discussion on how his/her performance has affected the department. Give a warning letter indicating the termination if no progress is made - Zee

Hi Elsie, you cannot base on this reason to terminate him/her otherwise the employee may report you for wrongful/unfair dismissal. Sick leave is an entitlement to employees, as long as the employee can provide you with the MC you cannot fault him/her. As for frequent urgent leave, the employee supervisor or yourself need to talk to him/her to understand why the frequency. Once you understand the situation, you can decide how you move forward. Adequate warning needs to be given before termination takes place - Janet

(1) Suggest to have a discussion with the affected employee, find out if there is any reason or abnormality, perhaps something happened? (2) Review his or her past performance and attendance if the same has occurred. (3) Possible to put him or her on PIP for say, 3 to 6 months before considering termination (4) Termination without notice can be subject to challenge with the authorities unless his or her offence/wrongdoing is so grave. Termination without notice based on lateness or absenteeism, quite a weak defence. Thank you - Annie

Talk face to face, and find out his problems - HH

The matter should be dealt with fairly by consulting the employee. Investigate further eg. Medical assessment of his frequent sick leave and urgent paid leave - Roz

You should conduct a board of inquiry for his underperformance. He should be given a warning letter to fix his attendance. Be compassionate to employees to find out the reason and discuss with him his performance and the impact on his team and company level. There are ways to solve this which can benefit both employees and the company - Nora

Given the situation, suggest following any of your company policies with progressive disciplinary actions eg warning letter stating the action to be taken if no improvement - Angeline

You should give him a warning letter before terminating the staff if he is a confirmed staff. If he or she is still on probation is not an issue - Alice

Please give a warning letter first - SL

Termination for both parties is subject to a notice period. Dismissal can be without notice provided that the employer has documented all the necessary performance improvement plans and the employee is not improving - May

Arrange the employee for a medical check-up to ascertain his/her fitness for employment - JL

If sick leave is supported by a registered doctor's certificate, the company will need to recognise it. If in doubt, you can send the staff to a company doctor for a second opinion. Urgent leave is subject to agreement and the company can refuse if it is not reasonable. Have a chat to understand the situation before deciding on the next course of action - Richard



Some advice for Elsie for this issue (handled this a few times):

1. Note all the dates that the employee took MC/no-pay leave etc. If there’s a punch card system or timesheet that’ll be better.

2. Note all the reasons that were given during absence and see if there’s a “pattern” on them.

3. If there are MCs given, contact the clinic to verify on each visit – symptom and diagnosis/medication.

4. Set a date to meet the employee – preferably after you have verified the information. This has to be done because the last thing that you want is for him to get you back that there was “no time given”

5. Have him seated, with his line supervisor/Manager and HR. Call security to standby but not too close so s/he won’t feel “threatened” but near enough for security to react should you need assistance. HR MUST be present at all times.

6. Give him the opportunity to explain himself the reasons why the absence.

7. Give your statement, dates, and occurrence that it happened. Be factual and objective.

8. Give him the option – either he improves by x months or he will not be confirmed and asked to resign/ be terminated. Your bosses & management need to make the judgment call for this because each has its own impact and liability, should things get out-of-hand/dirty.

9. If the decision is to have the termination there and then, s/he must be escorted by the guard and HR to his/her desk to take the personal belongings and escorted out of the premises. His staff pass, company phone, emails, etc. should be deactivated immediately from the devices

-> you need to work with your IT guys for this, the last you want for him to sabotage your business.

You need to document the times where he was counselled by this supervisor/HR and the actions taken during the course of these incidents. This is to protect your company in case s/he reports unfair dismissal.



HRSINGAPORE | HR Community Message | Termination due to poor attendance


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