Introduction
It is very important that misbehaving Employees be disciplined in the workplace. Should misbehaving Employees not be disciplined, they could create havoc in the workplace. Their unpunished misconduct could destabilise the most established business whilst simultaneously creating disharmony between the Employer and Employees.

It is very important that Employers should act consistently when disciplining misbehaving Employees. Some misbehaving Employees should not be treated differently from other misbehaving Employees.

What should Employers do when Employees misbehave? Should all Employees be summarily dismissed, or should they just be issued with Written Warnings? What must Employers do when Employees misbehave time and again?

What is a Notice of Unpaid Suspension (as alternative to dismissal) and when is it used?
A Notice of Unpaid Suspension is a document that is issued to an Employee who has repeatedly misbehaved. The Notice of Unpaid Suspension is issued to an Employee as a sanction and alternative to dismissal. This sanction should be used sparingly, as a last resort and only after a Disciplinary Hearing has been conducted.

The Employee should have been taken to other Disciplinary Hearing(s) for the same or similar misconduct and should have been issued with a Final Written Warning. The Employee should thus have been warned that his/her behaviour is unacceptable and that further misconduct could lead to that Employees’ dismissal.

The Notice of Unpaid Suspension is valid for 12 months from date of issue. It will thus form part of the Employee’s disciplinary record for a period of 12 months. Should the Employee commit similar and/or the same misconduct within the next 12 months, the Employee will be taken to a Disciplinary Hearing and may then be dismissed.

The Employee will be placed on unpaid suspension for a period of 7 days. The Employee will be requested to leave the Employer’s premises after the Notice of Unpaid Suspension has been issued to him/her. The Employee will only be allowed to return to work after the 7 days has expired. The unpaid suspension is a drastic measure used to correct the Employee’s conduct and to underline the seriousness of his/her misconduct. It is given to the Employee as a last attempt to urge the Employee to correct his/her conduct. Should the Employee’s conduct not improve, the Employee will be dismissed.

Conclusion
The Notice of Unpaid Suspension (as alternative to dismissal) may assist Employers to send a message to repeat offenders in the workplace. It is very important to note that this Notice will not be appropriate to use in all circumstances. It is further recommended that the Notice of Unpaid Suspension (as alternative to dismissal) be used in conjunction with the Disciplinary Hearing Pack.

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© Helena Roodt – Schoemanlaw Inc. – 2018