Job abandonment is when an employee has no plans to return to work but fails to notify supervisors of a resignation. It may occur when an employee repeatedly fails to show up for scheduled shifts, walks away in the middle of a shift, or fails to return to work from a break. In this type of abandonment, the employee does not call or notify supervisors of plans to be absent.
Job abandonment may be broached if an employee fails to get approval for repeated absences. This may mean the employee requested time off but the request was denied and the employee did not work required shifts. There is no legal definition for this action. What constitutes job abandonment is generally defined by a company’s policies. Many companies have a policy that if an employee misses three shifts without contacting the supervisor, the employee is considered to have resigned.
Although there is no requirement for the employer to do so, the employer may attempt to contact an employee who doesn’t show up for work. A letter may also be mailed. The letter may ask the employee to contact the employer within a specified time frame to discuss the absences or the employee will be considered to have abandoned the job or voluntarily resigned from the position.
In most instances, job abandonment is considered a voluntary resignation. This means the employee is not eligible for unemployment benefits following termination. Once the employee is terminated, a letter is often mailed to the employee. This letter is generally called a notification of termination due to abandoning the job.
Wages the employee has earned before the termination must be paid. The law regarding when the wages must be paid varies by state, but in most states the wages must be paid on or before the next scheduled payday. Whether the employee is able to claim benefits available to a recently resigned employee, such as continuation of medical coverage for a period, depends on the particular employer.
Human resources professionals advise employers to have policies in place regarding absenteeism so it will be easier for them to take action should they suspect an employee is not planning to return to work. As with other employee relations issues, employers are advised to document every step in the process when making a job abandonment termination. Employers are also advised to have an investigative and termination process for situations in which job abandonment is suspected.