“No call, no show” means that an employee missed work and didn’t call to let their employer know about it. It is an issue that plagues businesses of all sizes, but it can be especially detrimental to small businesses. Having a no call, no show policy can help prevent this by setting expectations and explaining its repercussions to the employee.
To create one, you’ll first establish some rules and determine the consequences. Then, we recommend you integrate it into a broader attendance policy before rolling out the policy to your employees. Download our free no call, no show policy template to get started and continue reading for more detail on how to properly establish it through your company.
If you need help ensuring your business is staying compliant with state and local employment laws, consider Bambee. This outsourced HR team can help your business navigate employee conflicts, legal compliance, and general HR policy and assistance. Start your free trial today.
1. Establish Policy Rules
An employee who doesn’t show up for their shift is essentially stealing from their co-workers who have to pick up the slack. Not only is it inconsiderate, but it’s also unprofessional. That’s why it’s important to have clear no call, no show policy rules in place. The foundational rule is that a no call, no show violation will result in an unexcused absence.
An absence is when an employee fails to report to work when scheduled. Absences are defined as either excused or unexcused.
- Excused absences – When an employee schedules time off with their manager and per the company paid time off (PTO) policy, or when an employee has an emergency and notifies their manager before the start of their shift.
- Unexcused absences – When an employee fails to report to work on time and does not contact their manager or supervisor before their shift, regardless of the reason.
Your no show, no call policy needs to be comprehensive and clearly outline the rules and regulations, including the consequences of violating the policy. For example, you may mandate that any employee who is not coming into work must call their manager at least 15 minutes before the scheduled start of their shift, or allow employees to call or text their manager up to one hour after their scheduled start time.
Some things to consider when establishing your policy include:
- How many times an employee can miss a shift before they face consequences. It’s important to be consistent with this rule so that employees know what they’re getting into.
- The initial actions that will be taken if an employee does not show up for their shift. This could range from a verbal warning to being fired depending on the severity of the offense.
- Possible exceptions to the policy. Determine if one-off emergencies will be a violation of the policy.
2. Determine Consequences for Violations
No call, no show can be a one-time occurrence or a pattern of behavior. When it is a pattern, it can be a sign that the employee is not committed to the job. Your policy should include rules for what initial actions you will take if an employee does not show up for their shift.
- First Offense – For the first unexcused absence, an employee may receive a verbal or written warning, which will be placed in their personnel record.
- Second Offense – For the second unexcused absence, an employee will receive a written warning and a verbal consultation with their manager and HR to explore solutions to prevent this behavior in the future.
- Third Offense – If an employee has three or more unexcused absences, including a no call, no show, in a calendar year, they are subject to additional disciplinary action, including suspension and/or termination of employment.
- Job Abandonment – Many companies establish consequences for termination after a certain number of absent days with no contact. It is recommended that you set this at three consecutive days and add it to your no call, no show policy.
If you need to terminate an employee for violating your no call, no show policy, you should document everything and send the employee notice of their termination. In the case of three consecutive violations, you should communicate with the employee that your company considers them to have abandoned their job.
Stating that the employee has abandoned their job—a type of voluntary resignation—will make it less likely that they can collect unemployment benefits or sue your company for wrongful termination.
3. Integrate Your No Call, No Show Policy Into an Attendance Policy
A good no call, no show policy should not be a standalone policy for your company. Businesses should include it as part of their broader attendance policy.
Within a comprehensive attendance policy—which includes descriptions of your PTO and leave guidelines—no call, no show situations gain greater context. It documents for employees that they have benefits provided by your company but that there are also consequences should they violate your trust and expectations.
To ensure your guidelines don’t get overlooked, make sure the entire attendance policy is clear and concise. The more details you provide, the clearer an understanding your employees will have.
Did You Know? When employees don’t show up for work or call first to notify you, it can result in your other employees having to cover their shift. This can lead to additional costs for your company, such as overtime pay, or even to the demoralization of your workforce for having to pick up the slack.
4. Communicate Your New Policy
Any time you create a new company policy, communicate it with your team. This allows them to ask questions and ease any concerns.
Speaking with your employees also sets forth the clear guidelines of the policy. Be sure to mention that although your company intends to adhere to the policy, it will be fair and reasonable. Sometimes, emergencies do happen, after all. In these instances, work is rarely the first thing on an employee’s mind. Being reasonable will go a long way to enhancing employee engagement and loyalty.
It’s also a good idea to have every employee sign an acknowledgment that they have read, understood, and agree to be bound by the policy.
Additionally, keep your no call, no show policy, along with all other company policies, in an easily accessible location for employees, like a company intranet or bulletin board. This ensures that all employees have access to the policy and cannot claim they were unaware.
Having clear policies in place is part of good employee management. Learn the tools and tips necessary to successfully manage your employees.
No Call, No Show Policy Legal Guidelines
As with any company policy that covers areas of employment, you want to make sure you have your policy reviewed by legal counsel to ensure that your company is not violating any federal, state, or local employment laws. For the most part, no call, no show policies are lawful.
The best way for your company to stay out of hot water with your no call, no show policy is to enforce it equitably. Employees and courts can view unequal enforcement as discriminatory, which could violate several employment laws. This makes drafting a clear and comprehensive policy even more important since you will need to follow it every time.
For more tips on how to prevent no call, no shows, check out our article on managing employee attendance.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What happens if a no call, no show employee returns to work?
If the employee does not call in or show up for work for three consecutive days, this is considered job abandonment and you have the right to terminate the employment relationship as if the employee quit. If the employee shows up the next day after a no show, no call instance, you have the option to keep the employee and write them up for an attendance issue.
Should I contact a no show, no call employee?
It is certainly within your rights to contact any employee who does not show up for work and does not call in advance. It’s possible the person has a valid reason for not calling and not showing up, such as a medical emergency. Contacting them will show you care about the well-being of your employees.
Should a no call, no show result in immediate termination?
It is recommended that employers not terminate an employee after one violation of the policy. This can appear harsh to both employees and the courts if an employee challenges their termination. The better approach is to have a statement in your no show, no call policy about separation from employment after a certain number of violations.
If you include a no call, no show policy inside your broader attendance policy, it gives your employees a better perspective of the reason for the policy. By having clear guidelines and expectations, you can keep everyone on the same page and reduce the frequency that your employees miss work without notifying their managers.