Job Abandonment and the Impact to Your Business
So, your employee hasn’t shown up to work for a few days, without notifying you that they’ve decided to take a leave of absence. Does this situation sound familiar to you? When an employee has missed work for multiple consecutive days without informing their employer, this could mean job abandonment. As an employer, it’s important to recognize the difference between a leave of absence and when it becomes job abandonment. Your employee has the right to be absent from work for many reasons, including (but not limited to):
Unfortunately, more often than not, by the time employers come to the realization that a job has been abandoned, it’s too late.
What is Job Abandonment?
Job abandonment is when an employee does not formally notify their employer that they plan to resign, however, takes such actions with no intention of returning to work. Even if the employee has not formally said, “I quit“, orally or in writing, the employer can treat the employee as if they have resigned. If this is the case, as the employer, you may hold wages for abandoned shifts as well as severance pay.
5 Steps Employers to Prevent Employee Resignation
Where your employee has missed several shifts with no notice, your first impulse may be to consider this job abandonment and perhaps make plans to dismiss them. However, you must be careful in doing so, as this may result in a wrongful dismissal lawsuit. Under these circumstances, as the employer, you are responsible for showing that you’ve taken reasonable steps to reach the employee. You will need to demonstrate with certainty, that they did in fact, have no intention to return to their job. If you suspect that an employee has resigned but not told you, you can follow these five steps to protect yourself and your company.
- Document the Process: refer to the employee’s file and take note of your actions, for every step in this process
- First Contact: reach out to the employee to see why they have not showed up to their scheduled shifts or regular work days as soon as possible, and ask when you can expect them back to work
- Second Contact: continue to get in contact for the next five business days or their next five scheduled shifts
- Third Contact: send a registered letter notifying the employee that you require a response within one week and if not, will consider this to be job abandonment
- Final Contact: with no response, send a final letter to inform the employee that their absence is now job abandonment
How to Prevent Job Abandonment
HR best practices around unexpected employee resignations is to put a job abandonment policy in place. You can start with these guidelines:
- Specify employee protocol around no notice and no shows
- Outline any disciplinary measures around workplace absence
- List the circumstances around a voluntary termination of employment
- Define the amount of time an employee can be absent without informing their supervisor before the leave is considered job abandonment
- Clearly state that job abandonment is considered employee resignation and therefore, makes unemployment benefits ineligible
Don’t let job abandonment happen to you. Not only does this disrupt your business, but has an impact on areas such as workplace culture and employee management. Speak to an HR Advisor today if you suspect or are in the middle of dealing with job abandonment.