Running a successful business or department and maintaining it can be tough as it is – but it can become even harder when one of your employees decides to not show up one day – forever.
This is what’s known as job abandonment. It’s a situation when one of your employees or staff does not report to work for a few consecutive days without notifying you of any intentions to quit. The causes can vary, from personal reasons to suddenly being poached by another B2B firm — which may become more rampant as companies compete for talent in areas like AI, data science and even certain areas of martech.
Whatever the reason, this kind of behavior is considered voluntary termination. How long before the position is considered abandoned? Well, no state or federal law specifies the number of days so it will be up to each company’s own policy.
Your workers not showing up can certainly be frustrating but it can also hurt your business, potentially even crippling it for a while if it means other corporate customers are left waiting in some way. Here are a few things that you can do to minimize the damage:
Have a policy in place
Your absenteeism policy will define the number of days or number of no call/no shows after which absence from work is considered job abandonment. Without a policy in place, there can be problems such as different employees being terminated for more or less absences – having a policy will help prevent potential wrongful termination of employment claims.
A well-defined policy that’s easily accessible to your employees will also help remove confusion by educating the employees about the rules regarding job abandonment.
It’s possible that your employee might be caught up in some unfortunate event that keeps him or her from coming to work or making contact with you. It could be anything from medical issues to incarceration. It’s a good idea to try and make contact with the employer before pulling the trigger on the termination letter.
You are also required to send a Notice of Intent letter to the employee. If the employee doesn’t respond within a given period, you can terminate him or her.
Employee Scheduling Software
My firm makes employee scheduling software in part to address issues like job abandonment. The goal is make life a lot easier by not only helping deal with job abandonment, but also by helping prevent it.
You can use the Shift Reminders, Shift Confirmation, and Shift Opportunities features to make sure your workers are aware of their upcoming shifts as well as fill other available shifts. Use Push Notifications and Instant Messages to get your missing workers’ whereabouts by communicating with them instantly.
The biggest strength of employee scheduling software is in its mobility. All of your workers carry mobile phones and so all of them can stay connected with you, no matter where they are.
Pay the Wages/Salaries
Even if your employee hasn’t shown up in a week and even if he or she did not notify you or give a reply to your letter, you are still required to pay your employee whatever sum he or she is entitled to. Do not try to hold the employee’s salary or wage thinking you could force them to come back. You cannot do that. Not even if they have company property. There are other legal ways to retrieve company property.
Wait If Possible
You might want to terminate and open up the position as quickly as possible if having that position empty is costing you money, time or effort but consider waiting a little. The employee could be having a medical issue or some other emergency that’s keeping him or her from contacting you or attending work. You should wait especially if it’s out of character for the employee in question to take leave without notice. Either way, if it’s not absolutely necessary to terminate, try waiting a week or two to give the employee ample chance. This will also help in avoiding legal complications if the employee does provide documentation explaining his or her absence. Don’t terminate to just tie up loose ends.
Job abandonment can be taxing on both you and your business but if you take all the necessary steps then the impact wouldn’t be so rough (or not rough at all). Remember, a sound policy will ensure you are protected from a legal point of view. Incorporating technology will help you make the most out of your business even when something goes wrong. And making the right calls when it comes to treating your employees will help you retain your employees for as long as possible.