No Call No Show: What It Is And How To Handle It

What is a no call no show?

Employees need some time off every once in a while and that’s fine – but doing it in a way that disrupts the flow of business is not.

If an employee decides they don’t feel like coming in to work, they need to notify you about it.

Not doing so sets you up for the stressful and unnecessary process of finding someone to cover their shift.

The scenario described above is called a no call no show – where an employee fails to show up for work without notifying the employer.

No call no show policy

A no call no show requires disciplinary action.  How severe that is, will depend on you.

Some employers have a zero tolerance policy and will terminate the offender next time they see them. Some are more lenient, using a 3-strike approach.

Of course, you can get more creative and punish employees by making them work undesired shifts in the future.

More common approaches are write up statements and temporary suspensions.

Below are some strategies you can use to handle a no call no show in your business.


How to deal with a no call no show?

1. Establish a clear no call no show policy

Not having a proper policy in place means that employees may try to take advantage of the system or even cause legal trouble citing technicalities.

You must establish a policy that addresses attendance issues, punishments, termination process, etc.

Specify everything and leave nothing to the imagination. Lastly, make sure employees are aware of the policy.

Note: Different states have different laws regarding employment so it’s a good idea to hire a lawyer to review your policies.

2. Treat everyone equally

Consequences for not showing up to work should be equal for everyone, doesn’t matter if the person in question is a repeat offender or a star employee.

3. Communicate

It’s possible that there was a legitimate reason behind the employee’s absence, so talk to the employee to ensure he or she actually deserves a punishment before doling out justice.

Avoiding no call no show incidents

Of course, it’s impossible to completely eliminate no call no show incidents from your business.

But it IS possible to ensure that missing a single employee doesn’t bring your business to a halt.

Here’s what you can do:

* Review your employee schedule and see if it could be improved. Ask yourself: Is the schedule clear enough? Is it fair? Are all employees aware of the schedule? Do they get regular updates?

* Sometimes employees will prefer to face the consequences of a no call no show than request time off. Making it easier and less stressful for employees to request time off can help lower the probability of no call no show incidents significantly. So review your process and make sure it’s not too difficult or complicated for employees.

* If you do find yourself with a no call no show on your hands, have a system that makes it easier for you to find other workers to cover their shift. This is achievable with a messaging group or even better, an employee scheduling software.

Common excuses vs. valid excuses

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, you’re fired.”

According to a study by, over 4.3 million people confessed to lying to their employers for a day off work.

The study found that employees tend to conjure up excuses, especially on Fridays to extend their weekend breaks.

Here are some examples of common excuses employees make to get out of work and also some that can be truly valid.

Common or bad excuses:

* I am sick. (Of course, this could very well be valid but the study listed it as the top excuse employees used).

* Forgot to set the alarm (or it broke)

* Hungover

* Lost phone

* Missed the bus

Valid or good excuses:

* Appointments

* Emergencies

* Chronic illnesses

* Major event that could not be postponed

No call no show vs job abandonment

When an employee doesn’t show up for work 3 or more consecutive days, it is considered as voluntary termination or job abandonment.

It is generally assumed that the employee has no intention of returning to work – which is the key difference.

Remember, all cases of job abandonment are no call no shows but the opposite is not same.

The important point is employers should not assume all no call no shows are cases of job abandonment as the employee might have been in an emergency.

Wrapping up…

Don’t let a no call no show cripple your business.

Be ready with the right policy, allow employees to fill each others’ shifts and have a open communication system that always works, no matter where you or your employees are.

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