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What is Job Abandonment? How to Prevent and Handle It?

Imagine that your employee suddenly disappears for days without notifying you. This disrupts your business workflow and now you have another problem to solve. This is a very common example of job abandonment. And it can happen at any time to your business.

You might’ve faced these situations before, or not (yet). Either way, it’s best to be prepared for the worst-case scenario.

So what exactly is job abandonment? And how can you prepare for it? Let’s take a look at this post to find the answers.

What is job abandonment?

Job abandonment happens when an employee doesn’t show up at work for several days without any prior notice to the supervisor.

Each company has different policies to determine what behaviors are considered job abandonment. Most commonly, being absent from work for over 3 days will be stated as job abandonment.

Why does job abandonment happen?

There are many reasons for job abandonment, some of which include:

  • The employee wants to quit, but is too afraid to tell. (It happens!)
  • The employee has an urgent family affair or an accident, so they can’t promptly notify the manager.
  • The employee has found another job, but they’re too irresponsible to tell the manager.

You need to have different and flexible solutions depending on each case. If it’s an emergency and the reason is acceptable, you don’t have to penalize the employee.

How do you manage job abandonment?

job abandonment can be solved

To prevent and handle job abandonment, you can follow these steps:

Establish company’s policies regarding job abandonment

Business owners need to develop clear policies for cases of job abandonment.

The policies should include:

  • What behaviors are considered to be job abandonment.
  • The total number of consecutive days that the employee is absent without reporting would lead to contract termination.
  • Notice of leave: how employees can send time-off/leave requests to managers
  • Disciplinary procedures: steps of disciplinary actions applied to any employee who intentionally quits their job without any prior notice.
  • Alternative contact persons: Names and phone numbers of persons that the company can contact in case the employee stays out of touch.

This policy should be added to the staff handbook, distributed to each employee, and given to freshers on the first day they join your company. All employees need to sign a written agreement to face disciplinary action if they abandon their job.

Before making decisions, you might need to seek legal advice to avoid getting in unwanted legal trouble.

Try to get in touch via different channels

Try to get in touch with that employee to determine why they left their job. If they have health problems or family accidents, you should find ways to help them.

Try to contact the absent employee via phone, email, social media, or chat apps. If your company uses employee scheduling software with a messaging feature, you can reach out to them through this channel, too.

job abandonment can be recognized through inability to reach out

Be fair

You should apply job abandonment policies to everyone in a fair way. It’s best to let everyone understand rules are rules.

Keep records as proof

Besides contacting the absent employee, you need to record all no-picked-up calls, no-answered emails, etc. as proof of the employee quitting without notice.

Take further action

If the employee continues to “no call, no show”, then you need to take further action based on your company policies.

You need to send an email to let the employee know how they’ll be disciplined and remind them of consequences they might take based on their discretion. Will it be a contract termination? Or any other labor disciplinary actions? The penalty mentioned in the email must comply with your company’s job abandonment policy.

Remember to clarify that the employee will be laid off after 3-5 working days from the time they receive the email if they don’t contact the company back.

In case you have to terminate an employee’s contract, you should send them a confirmed email to avoid misunderstandings. See if you have to pay any wages, bonuses, or commissions for the employee based on the contract.

Be careful with flexibility

Depending on specific situations, the supervisor or manager might want to be flexible with their employees. You need to be careful before making any flexible decision as this can set a bad precedent for other staff in your company.


Job abandonment is an undesirable situation for every business. But it’s very likely to happen in your company. And it’d be better to be well-prepared for these situations.

We hope the advice above will be a great help if you’ve ever encountered this difficult circumstance. And if you haven’t developed policies regarding job abandonment, you should do that as soon as possible.

Met some no-call, no-show employees? Read more about how to handle them here.

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