Article provided by SEESA
What can an employer do if they discover an employee did not work but claimed that they did?
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 regulations, many employees are still working from home. These employees are most likely expected to complete timesheets to confirm what they have done and the number of hours they have worked for a particular day.
Some dishonest employees might claim that they have worked on a particular day while they did not complete any work and were busy with their matters without applying for leave for the day. This will lead to the company paying the employee for that particular day while they did not perform any work. Their work might be falling behind which will negatively affect the company.
While employees are working from home, they should still attend to their work during working hours. They cannot use the time at home, as they see fit. If they do not have any work they should be on standby and they should indicate on the timesheet that they did not have any work for the period they did not work.
When an employee claims for hours he/she has not worked, it amounts to dishonesty. The employee is receiving personal gain, as he/she will be paid for the hours at the expense of the company as the work will not be done and they are deceiving the company. If an employee is working from home and they want to attend to personal matters during working hours he/she should still apply for leave or request permission from management. If the request is granted, they may attend to the personal matter; if not they should still work from home.
The employment relationship is based on trust, and dishonesty by the employee will most likely lead to the irreparable breakdown in the trust relationship. Especially with an employee working from home where it is difficult to monitor his/her conduct, most likely after a dishonest act, it will be impossible to trust the employee again.
Gross dishonesty is regarded as serious misconduct and as per item 3(4) Schedule 8 (Code of Good Practice), it is regarded as a first offence dismissible offence.
In Ambro Sales v MEIBC and Others  125 (LC) the Labour Court confirmed the fairness of the Applicant’s dismissal for gross dishonesty in that he claimed overtime pay and conducted private business during working hours on a specific working day.
If an employee claims that, he has worked while he did not, it amounts to dishonesty and the employer should arrange a disciplinary hearing for the employee. If the employee is found guilty, it will most likely lead to his/her dismissal.
Contact your SEESA office for further assistance