What to do when an employee is a no-show on the job

In an earlier blog, we explored how to handle an employee resignation, but what if one of your team members simply stops coming to work and doesn’t inform the company that they quit?

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), if an employee is absent from the job on consecutive days, has not requested or told their supervisor, or asked for any time off, it can be considered job abandonment.

But even when someone is a no-show, experts say job abandonment is not always straightforward.

  • There are cases where an employee is absent from work because of a death in the family and in those instances, sometimes calling in to work is not the first thing on someone’s mind.
  • A worker may be sick for an extended period, and perhaps incapacitated and unable to contact the employer. This is where the HR Department must make sure that all workers are informed about the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), or other options available to them in the event of a medical condition.
  • An employee may also not be aware of or understand what he/she is responsible for if they are going to be away from the office, but not planning to leave their job.

One way to ensure protocol is to clearly spell out the terms of job abandonment in the company’s employee handbook. Most federal or state laws don’t cover this, but many businesses will indicate that a three-day period of employee absence without notification is a voluntary resignation and the worker can expect to be fired.

From here, any no-show worker needs to be notified, and in a fair and reasonable time frame. A registered letter should be sent to their address with their required signature once it’s delivered. The letter should indicate that the worker will lose their job if the company doesn’t hear from them within a certain number of days.

Despite the stress of this situation, it’s a good idea for employers to do whatever they can to make contact with the worker and discuss the situation. But if that person refuses to talk or is unresponsive, then the next step is to follow company procedure for terminating the worker, (updating their employee file and the last day on the job, sharing COBRA and necessary insurance forms, and cutting the final paycheck).

Bottom line? Follow company policy regarding job abandonment and be consistent about it with all employees.

If you have any questions, contact your IPS representative.

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