How to Create a No Call No Show Policy

No call no show policy
8
min read
December 16, 2022

Employee scheduling is extremely important for small businesses. By definition, you don’t have a huge workforce to work with when creating a work schedule—and so, when you assign an employee a specific shift, it’s important that they show up on time and ready to do their job.

But there’s one thing that can throw a serious wrench in your scheduling strategy—and that’s when an employee pulls a “no call no show.”

When employees fail to let you know they won’t be making it to work, that can wreak havoc on everything from productivity to employee morale. But what, exactly, is this attendance (or really, lack of attendance) practice? Why is it so important to prevent it? 

And how can you craft a no show no call policy that ensures your employees show up to work when they’re scheduled (or, at the very least, let you know when they’re unable to make their scheduled shift)?

What Does “No Call No Show” Mean? 

As the name suggests, a “no call, no show” is when an employee does not show up for a scheduled shift—and doesn’t let someone at the company (for example, their supervisor or the business owner) know they won’t be coming into work.

What’s Included in a No Call No Show Policy?

A no call no show policy is a type of attendance policy that strictly outlines what happens if an employee fails to let someone know they won't be coming into work.

While different companies will create their policies differently, generally, a no call no show policy will include:

Why Is Having a Policy So Important?

Having a clear policy on this matter is important for a number of reasons, including:

Tips For Creating an Effective No Call No Show Policy for Your Business

Clearly, you’re going to want to create a sound policy for your business. But how, exactly, do you do that?

Let’s take a look at some tips you’ll want to keep in mind as you’re crafting your policy:

Be Crystal Clear

If you want your no call no show policy to be effective, it needs to be as clear as possible.

Don’t leave anything up for interpretation. Clearly outline exactly how your company approaches employees that fail to notify anyone of their absence. Include step-by-step instructions for how employees should notify their manager or supervisor if they’re going to miss a shift at the last minute. And let employees know exactly what they can expect if they decide to not call and not show up for a shift. 

For example, instead of “employees that no call no show for a shift will face disciplinary action,” write “employees that do not show up for an assigned shift—and do not call their manager at least one hour before their scheduled shift—will get a verbal warning from their manager. If they do that again for a future shift, they will get a written warning from HR that will go in their employee file. And on the third no call no show, the employee will be immediately terminated.”

The more clear and specific you are in your policy, the easier it will be for your employees to understand—and the more effective the policy will be as a result.

Check In on Your Team

Most of your policy will apply to all employees. But there’s something that you’ll want to include that applies specifically to managers, supervisors, leadership, and/or HR—and that’s direction on how and what to do when an employee doesn’t show up for a scheduled shift.

Make sure your managers, supervisors, and/or HR representative have clear guidance on what steps they need to take when an employee doesn’t call or show up for their shift. For example, you may have them call the employee, then follow up with a text and email.

Not only does this document that you tried to get in touch with the employee, but it can help to clear up any potential misunderstandings (for example, the schedule may have been changed without the employee being notified). Plus, it also shows your employee that you care—and if/when they miss a shift, you’ll call to ensure that they’re safe.

Research any Relevant Employment Laws—and Make Sure Your Policy Abides by Those Laws

According to the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), generally, state and/or federal laws don’t protect employees that are terminated for not adhering to the company’s attendance or policy around not calling and not showing up for work.

But it’s still important to do research on employment laws, both at the state and federal level, take note of any relevant laws, and keep them in mind as you’re drafting your policy.

For example, let’s say you have employees that are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Generally, workers protected under these laws still need to abide by their company’s attendance policy. But, if they have a reason for not calling in and/or not showing up for a shift that is directly related to ADA or FMLA, it’s something to consider; if they’re terminated, they could make a case that the termination is ADA or FMLA-related.

Bottom line? It’s important to ensure that your policy around not calling and not showing up for work abides by all relevant laws—local, state, and federal. So make sure to do your research.

Communicate the Policy to Your Employees

Creating your policy is the first part of the process. But just as important? Sharing the policy with your employees.

If you’re rolling out a new policy, send it out to all employees in your company. Hold an all-hands meeting to talk through the policy and answer any employee questions. Then, have each employee sign a document that states they read and understand the policy—and keep that signed document in their employee file.

Moving forward, you may consider adding the policy to your employee handbook—and reviewing the policy as part of your onboarding process. That way, employees know the policy from the get-go.

No Call No Show Policy Template

Need help getting your company policy started? Here’s a template you can customize for your business. Just click "Make a copy" to edit your own.

No call no show template

Easier to just copy and paste the text? Here it is:

At [insert company name], all employees must report to work for their scheduled shifts. If they are unable to work a scheduled shift, they need to notify their manager by [insert number of days/hours] prior to the shift by [insert communication method here].

Failure to do so will be considered a no call no show. Employees that no call no show are subject to disciplinary action, including:

[Insert disciplinary action for first offense]

[Insert disciplinary action for second offense]

[Insert disciplinary action for third offense]

At [insert company name], [Insert number] consecutive no call no shows is considered job abandonment and the employee will be terminated immediately.

If you have any questions or concerns about this policy, please contact [insert contact name here].

Employee Signature: ______________________

Company Representative Signature: ______________________

No Call No Show Policy Example

Is it easier to edit an example? Here's a sample policy you can easily tweak. Just click "Make a copy" to edit your own.

No call no show policy text

Easier to just copy and paste the text into your own doc? Here it is!

At Luster, Inc., all employees must report to work for their scheduled shifts. If they are unable to work a scheduled shift, they need to notify their manager one hour prior to their shift by calling or texting them.

Failure to do so will be considered a no call no show. Employees that no call no show are subject to disciplinary action, including:

At Luster, Inc., three consecutive no call no shows is considered job abandonment and the employee will be terminated immediately.

If you have any questions or concerns about this policy, please contact Sadie Smith.

Employee Signature: ______________________

Company Representative Signature: ______________________

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you fire an employee for not calling or showing up for work?

How you approach no call no shows is up to you—and, as a business owner, you can terminate employees for not showing up to work and not calling to notify you.

How many no calls no shows does it take to get fired?

While there’s no one-size-fits-all number for how many no call no shows a business should allow, three is a comfortable number for many employers. 

Technically, however, you could fire an employee for no calling no showing to work one time—but generally, most businesses give their employees a few chances before they terminate them.

How do you write up an employee for a no call no show?

If you are going to discipline your employee without terminating them, make sure you document your interaction; that way, if you have to terminate them in the future, you have written proof that they had received a warning in the past. 

When writing up an employee, make sure to include:

Is there ever a reason to excuse employees that violate your policy?

Obviously, you’re creating a policy because you want people to follow it. But there are certain circumstances where people may experience unusual circumstances and have a very legitimate reason for missing work and not calling beforehand. For example, if an employee or a family member has a medical emergency or they get into an accident on the way to work, they may not think to call in.

In those kinds of situations, you may want to consider leniency—particularly if the employee doesn’t have a track record of unexcused absences. Life happens—and you don’t necessarily want to immediately jump to terminate an employee if they no call no show for a legitimate reason.

 

If you question whether the employee is telling the truth, you may ask them to provide proof of the situation that caused them to no call no show—for example, a doctor’s note if they were experiencing a medical emergency.

Protect Your Business with the Right No Call No Show Policy

A no show employee can have a seriously detrimental impact on their shift, their co-workers, and your organization in general. But by creating a policy around how your company deals with employees that don’t call and don’t show up for work, you can minimize the number of no call no shows—and minimize their impact on your business.

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