It’s often disappointing when an employee quits or a prospect rejects your job offer. But what do you do when someone stops showing up to work?
Handling an employee who stops coming to work can be tricky. At some point, you may need to make the call and end their employment.
Here’s how to do that with a job abandonment letter.
What Is Job Abandonment?
Job abandonment happens when an employee decides to quit, but instead of resigning, they simply stop showing up.
There’s no law that says how many days of unexcused absences count as abandonment, so we strongly recommend you create your own policy for your company.
If an employee’s days of absence fall under your definition of abandonment, you can use an official letter to notify the employee of your next steps.
In the meantime, you may also need to adjust your payroll for an employee that hasn’t shown up. Hourly payroll software makes it easy to edit payment amounts until you hear back from your employee. You can do it all from your phone in a matter of seconds.
What Is a Job Abandonment Letter?
A job abandonment letter is a written notice sent to an employee who has excessive unexplained absences from work.
It outlines how many days the team member has been absent without notifying anyone and the consequences of their actions—whether that’s termination, probation, or something else.
Job Abandonment Letter Template
It’s important to document your steps when dealing with job abandonment. Start by having your HR department issue a warning letter that is delivered by certified mail. Be sure to only include the facts and follow your company policies.
You can use our handy template to customize your own letter. Just click "Make a copy" to get started.
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Sample Job Abandonment Letter
You can also just change the wording of this sample letter. Click "Make a copy" to get started.
What To Include in Your Abandonment of Employment Letter
Your letter should do the following:
- State the dates that the employee was absent.
- Explain how you tried to contact them.
- Give employees instructions on how to contact you to explain their absence, request time off, or send you a formal resignation letter.
- Discuss further action you’ll take if you don’t hear from them, such as firing the employee for cause.
- Provide details about termination of employment, like how to return company property and what’s included in the employee’s final paycheck.
If the employee contacts you and you end up giving them an unpaid leave of absence for a medical emergency or other outstanding situation, you’ll need to adjust your payroll.
However, if the employee intends to quit, it’s better to have them confirm their voluntary resignation with you instead of terminating them for cause, which could lead to legal action like a wrongful termination suit. Not to mention, you can part ways on better terms with an official resignation letter.
Is Job Abandonment the Same as Quitting?
Job abandonment is not the same as quitting. When an employee quits, they give you a notification, either verbally or through a resignation letter. In the case of someone who stops showing up, you’re left wondering if they intended to leave or not.
Job abandonment and excessive absenteeism can have serious consequences for employers, such as being understaffed or being unable to finish projects that require that employee’s knowledge and skill set.
That’s why it’s critical that you create a no call no show policy that addresses abandonment.
Why You Should Create a Job Abandonment Policy
Creating a clear abandonment policy gives managers and supervisors clarity on how to handle excessive unexplained absences.
If a former employee files a complaint about wrongful termination, your policy is a written record that protects you by showing that you were following your company’s guidelines.
Include your policy in your employee contracts and company handbook so you can reference it if you need to take action.
Here are some tips on what to include in your policy:
- Your company’s definition of abandonment: The number of days missed that counts as abandonment. Three full business days is a common metric used by businesses.
- Instructions for contacting absent employees: When human resources or a manager should contact the absent employee to get a reason for the leave or confirm they’re quitting.
- Recordkeeping instructions: Instruct managers to record their attempts to contact the employee in case you need to provide this during any legal action.
- When abandonment leads to termination: How many times you’ll try to contact the employee before sending the job abandonment termination letter.
Keeping employee files updated with current contact information and emergency contact information can help you reach someone who knows why the employee is absent. When you do reach them, you’ll also want to find out when they’ll return, if possible, so you know how long you’ll need someone to cover their shifts.
You’ll also want to review federal laws like the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
Leave that falls under the protected FMLA categories, such as caring for a newborn or sick family member, typically requires that employees give you notice.
If you determine an absence was FMLA qualified, the employee should be restored to their previous position or an equivalent one with the same pay and benefits they had before—as soon as they return.
Job Abandonment FAQ for Employees
What are the Consequences of Job Abandonment?
The consequences of job abandonment for employees can include damage to your reputation and a hard time getting another job, especially if the employer you abandoned refuses to give you a recommendation.
How Do I Get Around Job Abandonment?
If you’re an employee who plans to leave your current job for any reason, you can avoid job abandonment by submitting a notice of resignation.
If you can’t submit a two-week notice for any reason, you’re still better off telling your employer as soon as you can rather than just ghosting them. That way, you can use them as a reference for future jobs.
Handling Unexcused Absences as a Business Owner
It's definitely frustrating when an employee intends to quit, but instead of telling you, they just stop coming to work.
If this happens, you can use a job abandonment letter to address the issue and give the employee a chance to explain the absence or officially resign before you have to take further action, like firing them.
Addressing abandonment in your attendance policy, employment contracts, and company handbook gives you a clear process to follow if an employee misses several consecutive days without authorization.
Hopefully, you’ll never need our template, but at least you’ll know it’s there if you do.