What is Job Abandonment?
Job abandonment is when employees fail to show up for work as scheduled. Instead, they leave the job without giving you any notice or requesting any time off, leaving you in a tough spot – shorthanded with very little notice. These job abandonments have led to the term “ghosting” in the workplace.
Sometimes the employee was too scared to quit in person or an emergency popped up. There are lots of reason why ghosting might happen, and those are just a few. Here’s how you can prevent your employees from job abandonment and what you can do when this happens.
Contact the Employee
As soon as your employee doesn’t show up to work, you should contact them. Try calling, texting or emailing to figure out what’s going on. If you reach them, present the options and work with them to establish a plan.
Whatever you decide to do will set a precedent for future employee absences. If you decide to offer a short-term unpaid leave, other employees will expect that in the future. If you can’t reach the employee, send a certified letter to them, which will require a signature upon their receipt, so you’ll know for sure that they got it. Let the employee know that if they don’t return to work for your pre-determined number of days, it’s company policy that they will be considered to have resigned.
Make FMLA Information Available
If the reason for the job abandonment happens to be a family emergency, your employee should be informed of their rights through the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), meaning that they might qualify for a short-term leave of absence and short-term disability insurance. There’s paperwork to be completed, so the more information your employees have on this law, the better.
Inform Employees of Company Policy
The more proactive you are with your attendance policies, the better. Most companies outline an absence policy in their handbooks, usually stipulating how many missed days constitute a resignation by job abandonment. Make sure your employees are informed of this policy upon hiring, during your onboarding process. Be as specific as possible, spelling out precise scenarios so that there’s no confusion as to what an absence is. Be clear that if an employee hasn’t already completed paperwork for FMLA or other short-term disability and doesn’t show up for their shift, it’s considered a day of absence.
Avoid Unemployment Disputes
Make sure your policies and actions meet the definition of voluntary quitting or discharge by job abandonment. Otherwise, the employee might be able to file for unemployment compensation if they can prove that they quit for a good reason. Be able to prove that they simply failed to show up for work, after being aware of your predetermined policies and after multiple attempts to contact them.
Having an employee go missing on the job can be a scary situation for your organization. Being prepared and having established plans and policies can take the pain out of many of these predicaments, giving you the time to focus on either bringing the employee back to work or finding a new one.
Looking for expert staffing advice to counteract the recent trend of job abandonment? Contact ICR Staffing Services today.
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