Can employers treat an employee’s unauthorised absence as their resignation?

Posted in : First Tuesday Q&A NI on 7 January 2020
Arthur Cox
Arthur Cox
Issues covered:

In normal circumstances, notice is usually required to terminate a contract of employment. Notice should be given in a clear manner and once validly given it is effective and does not need to be accepted by the other party. 

If an employee has taken unauthorised absence i.e. gone AWOL, it would be unlikely that this would enable their employer to deem that the employee has resigned. However, unauthorised absence may amount to a repudiatory breach of contract by an employee enabling their employer to bring the contract to an end. Case law has established that a repudiatory breach does not actually terminate an employment contract and a contract will not be terminated until the innocent

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Back to Q&A's This article is correct at 07/01/2020

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Arthur Cox
Arthur Cox

The main content of this article was provided by Arthur Cox. Contact telephone number is 028 9023 0007 or email

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