How to Handle a No-Call/No-Show Employee

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Few things derail a shift – and overall productivity – like no-call/no-show employees. The lack of notice makes adjusting to the absence in advance impossible. Plus, the ambiguous nature of these incidents leaves managers with additional questions, such as whether the employee is abandoning their job or if something terrible happened to them that prevented them from calling.

Additionally, figuring out how to handle a no-call/no-show employee is challenging. There are legal implications, making a difficult situation even more complex.

Fortunately, there are steps companies can take. Here’s a look at handling the no-call/no-show employee while staying on the right side of applicable laws and regulations.

Understand Applicable Laws Before Taking Action

The reasons for a no-call/no-show can vary. Some employees may abandon their jobs and choose not to inform their employer of their decision. Others might be unable to reach out due to an extreme illness, accident, injury, or situation out of their control.

Since specific types of absences entitle the employee to predefined protections, companies shouldn’t immediately move to terminate the employee. Instead, it’s best to reach out to determine if the incident involves an illness or injury that may entitle the worker to sick leave. Additionally, it’s wise to determine if the situation is protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) before making formal decisions.

In some cases, there are state regulations employers must consider before proceeding with terminations or various forms of discipline. Review applicable local laws to determine what to examine before deciding on the worker’s employment.

Have a Formal Attendance Policy with Clear Requirements and Consequences

Formalized attendance policies give companies defined pathways for addressing no-call/no-show employees. Additionally, they serve as an official notification to workers regarding attendance expectations and any consequences associated with actions like a no-call/no-show.

Outline any requirements for using paid time off for planned and unplanned absences. Additionally, define what a no-call/no-show is, how the organization treats failing to come to work and notify the company of an absence.

Once you have the policy, add it to the employee handbook. Additionally, notify existing employees of the change with enough advance notice before official implementation to align with federal and local law.

Document No-Call/No-Shows and Follow the Attendance Policy for Consequences

When a no-call/no-show incident occurs, formally document it in the employee’s personnel file. Note the date it happened and when the employee was scheduled to arrive. Confirm that all call-in methods were checked for relevant messages, demonstrating that the company examined them before determining it was a no-call/no-show.

At that point, companies should attempt to contact the employee to discover why they didn’t arrive. Document these, including the date and time of any attempt, the phone number used to try and reach the employee, and what was said in subsequent voicemails or text messages.

After that, use the attendance policy as a guide to determine the next steps. That ensures all employees are held to the same standard. However, also keep the lines of communication open with the employee. Often, an ADA, FMLA, or similar protected scenario occurs, and the employee is initially unable to reach out due to the nature of the situation. In that case, they’ll contact the company as soon as possible. If that occurs, you can determine if other actions are now necessary, such as rolling back any consequences that were initially pursued.

Ultimately, using the process outlined above typically works for no-call/no-shows. Consult with HR, the legal team, and other experts to ensure your policies and procedures align with applicable laws.

If you need to replace a no-call/no-show employee, UCP can help. Contact us today.