What is a “no call, no show” policy and why should you have one?

Posted: January 10, 2017

The phrase “no call, no show” refers to an employee’s absence from work without notifying the employer.  A “no call, no show” policy explains to employees the consequences for failing to show up for work without giving advance notice of the employee’s absence.  This policy can be part of the employer’s policies that address how much advanced notice is required for an employee to take personal time, sick leave or other time off such as vacation time.

Such policies set expectations for the employees, and permit the employer to enforce the policies and hold employees accountable.  Employers should enforce their policies in a uniform and consistent manner.

Consequences for violation of such policies depend on whether the employee returns to work.  For example, if the employee does not show for work and does not call, the policy might say that the company will consider that the employee has voluntarily abandoned their job.  In that case, the employee’s employment might be terminated.  If, however, the employee is AWOL for some number of days, but then returns to work with an “explanation” for being missing, the company can issue a written warning or suspend the employee – generally in the company’s discretion as long as such is provided for in the policy.

There are, of course, emergency situations in which an employee may be absent without first notifying his or her employee, such as in the case of a medical emergency. The company policies should address this situation as well.

Employers should consult with counsel to ensure that their “no call, no show” policy, and any other policies regarding absences and leave, comply with federal law and any applicable state and local laws.