Ask HR: Upholding our Call-in Policy

Dear HR,

One of our new hires failed to follow appropriate call-in policy before missing work.  We are aware that they had a death in the family so want to be kind and help our employee through this tough period, but how do we do that while still upholding our company policies and procedures.

HR Answer:

Nothing is more frustrating to employers, supervisors, and other staff than when an employee fails to show up to work!  The immediate effects are obvious – it impacts the day’s workflow, burdens co-workers, puts extra work on the supervisor to determine the cause and always, always affects the bottom line of an employer’s profits. It is easy to cast blame on the employee for not notifying the employer.  For many companies, failure to “call-in” is considered job abandonment and is grounds for immediate termination.  But in this labor market, who can afford a high rate of turnover? 

Time to Review Your “No-Call / No Show” Policy

A company handbook must identify and outline a “No-Call / No Show” policy, provide a procedure for calling in, and include a statement about the consequences of not reporting into work.  There will be times, however, when due to a family emergency, calling the company will not be an employee’s priority.  Your handbook should have a paragraph or two defining these “unforeseeable emergency no-call situations” along with a statement concerning the policy of the company on these types of situations. As stated, this was an unforeseeable family emergency, and we believe that situations such as these should always be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. 

Annual Review of your “No-Call / No Show” Policy

Our suggestion is, when the time seems appropriate, to privately review this policy with your employee. However,  this incident can be a reminder that it is perhaps time to review your company’s “No-Call / No Show” Policy & Procedure with all employees – no exceptions—including company policy specifically when there is a death in the family or a family emergency. When was the last time you let ALL your employees know what the procedure is for “calling in” to report an absence?  Make sure all employees, including long-time workers, staffers, and supervisors, are updated.

Craft a Solution that fits your Company! 

Reducing “No Call / No Show” incidents takes a combination of employee education, setting a clear reporting policy and procedure— and perhaps most critically—providing multiple pathways for employees to communicate their absence to your company.  If you need help in crafting a “No Call /No Show” policy and a procedure for reporting absences or need help implementing an orientation or updating your handbook on this topic—Call Cardinal ServicesWe’re here to help!