Would you be suspicious if an employee contacted you to say their return flight from holiday had been cancelled but they’d keep you informed and be back “as soon as possible”?

We’d all agree that flights can be troublesome but it’s rare that holiday destination flights are cancelled with such an impact.

Could it be that this unexpected situation is a convenient way to obtain a few extra days’ annual leave?

Our advice is never to take the employee’s word for it.

In the first instance ask for evidence of the flight cancellation and rearranged flight.

If this is genuine then there will be a written record, either on email or via an online account.

Ask the employee to send you this immediately and to produce this evidence on the day they return to work.

Never accept a text message as evidence of a flight cancellation.

These are easy to fake.

If the employee can’t produce any evidence, ask them for their flight number and airline and contact them yourself to verify the information.

If you discover the flight wasn’t cancelled, this is a disciplinary matter as not only is the absence unauthorised but the individual has lied to you…