What do you do when an employee goes MIA? Say, one day they fail to report to work without notice. Unexplained absenteeism can be a reason for concern. And if this goes on for a number of consecutive days, it becomes an abandonment of duty.
Understandably, you might be tempted to dismiss an employee who has abandoned duty, and this is something you can do. However, you need to be careful, especially if the employee is protected by state and federal laws. For instance, if an employee who is protected by the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) or the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) takes an emergency sick leave, then dismissing them could land you in trouble.
Here is how you can prevent abandonment from happening in the first place.
Create an abandonment policy
It is important that you set out the procedure for missing work in your employee handbook. This clause should address the following absenteeism-related issues:
- Procedure for requesting time-off
- How to utilize personal leave days
- How to communicate a shift with the team members before leaving
- Consequences of missing work without notice
Once you have put a policy in place and have employees read and sign it, you can hold them accountable for unapproved absenteeism.
Have open communication with your employees
Having in place an abandonment policy is great. But, you might want to understand why your employees are abandoning work in the first place. Having a candid talk with your employees on the reasons behind rampant absenteeism could help you prevent future incidents.
Commons reasons for abandonment include:
- Poor communication regarding leave
- Family issues
- Lack of understanding of the rules
- Poor shift management
- Employer-employee relations
When an employee fails to show up for work without notice, it is important that the employer takes appropriate steps to safeguard his rights and interests while addressing the situation.