Heard of 'Job Abandonment'? Here Are Ways to Deal With it!
Have you had employees who suddenly stopped showing up at work, and never bothered to inform you?
In most cases of such ‘no call, no show’ absence from work, in other words, employers are still obligated to find out the reason for the absence.
This is mainly because sometimes employees are unable to notify the employer of their absence for reasons that are out of their control such as medical emergencies, personal crises etc. However, if you are unable to establish a reasonable excuse for continuous absence, chances are that it is a case of job abandonment.
In such a scenario, it becomes important to take certain steps in regards to job abandonment to avoid potential legal consequences.
Ways to Deal With Job Abandonment
Here are some ways to deal with employees who’ve abandoned ship.
1. Create A Policy
Since there is no law for job abandonment, it is really up to you to decide ways to deal with it for your organisation. Put it up in the employee handbook so everyone knows that after three uninformed absences in a row, for example, a position will be considered abandoned and the employees to have voluntarily ended employment. You should also list out the actions you will take to wrap things up.
2. Attempt To Contact The Employee
The first thing you should reasonably try doing is contacting the employee. Use all media of communication such as phone, email, text message or even a letter by courier. The idea is to make an attempt to reach the individual and understand the reason for their absence from work and whether they will be returning.
3. Wait To Take Action
By now, all your attempts of contacting the employee must have reached him and typically you should wait at least a week and a half to two weeks to hear back from him, should the employee be in a medical emergency. Give the employee the benefit of doubt and wait for them to call with a reasonable explanation for their absence from work. It can get tempting to begin the termination process to tie up the loose ends, but it will be all in vain if the employee does submit acceptable documentation explaining his absence.
4. Make Necessary Payouts
Pay the employee what they are entitled to. This includes all hours, overtime, and commissions. Keep in mind that you cannot and should not withhold their final paycheck as a means to get the employee to return any company property currently in his possession.
5. Be Consistent
Your absenteeism policy should be the same for everyone. You can’t turn a blind eye to someone that’s had three no call, no shows while you go ahead with the termination of employment process for someone who’s failed to call in only once. Be consistent to ensure a fair company structure, discipline and transparency.
What Should Your Job Abandonment Policy Look Like?
Not having a well-defined job abandonment policy in place can cripple your workflow and result in you holding a position for someone that doesn’t take it seriously. Your policy should be written with the help of an HR consultant and legal team to ensure it covers all the essentials.
Following are some points that should form a part of your job abandonment policy:
1. Leave Expectations
List out the consecutive number of days that an employee can miss from work without notice before a voluntary termination of employment is upheld. Basically, it should be about what you expect from the employee in terms of timely notification of absence.
2. Disciplinary Measures
What actions will you take against the employee if they fail to notify their supervisor of their absence from work? Here you should list that you will consider their absence from work as grounds for voluntary termination of employment.
3. Alternative Measures
What can the employee do if they cannot personally notify you of their absence from work? Make sure you let employees know that they can assign a representative (usually a friend or family member) to contact their employer on their behalf.
4. Final decision
What will you base your final decision on whether or not to terminate employment? Explain to employees that you will consider their explanation for their absence from work before the job abandonment policy takes effect. Consult a lawyer before taking any decision to avoid unwanted litigation and more wastage of time.