However, with that said, workers take maternity leave, projects get delayed due to budget constraints, employees...
come down with unexpected illnesses or need to care for loved ones, etc. No system can recognize these cases; only supervisors, and possibly HR. So, when it comes to people, make sure to consider the human issues, which are the domain of supervisors: They'll know whether an employee will return tomorrow, in a few days, or never.
In the worst-case scenario, such as you disable an account just in time to find out that the worker is returning the next day, and you need to re-enable it, experience says that re-enabling doesn't simply involve making a call, but rather following a process that could take hours or days. I'd suggest following your CIO's advice.
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