How To Deal With Employees That Skip Work

Everyone needs a day off here and there to go to the dentist, get their car fixed, watch their daughter’s recital or sometimes, just because.

Cleared days off, and even sick days, are justified because your employee spoke to the manager beforehand.

What isn’t okay is an employee who misses work with no notice. Unplanned employee absences wreak havoc with your schedule and cause a loss of productivity.

Employees who always call in sick the day after a three-day holiday or a big sporting event aren’t playing fair. Not only are they disrespecting you, they are disrespecting their fellow employees who are always left to cover for them.

So, how can you deal with employees that skip work?

Create a Policy

Before you can talk to any of your employees about skipping work, you have to first have a policy in place. Without one, your employees are blind as to your expectations.

Here are some things to include in your employee policies. Address the following in a clear, concise manner:

– How employees can request time off
– How to use personal days
– The sick leave policy and what to do if they get sick. For example, you might specify they have to give you at least two hours’ notice. This gives you some time to find a replacement.
– Tell them if it’s their job or their managers to get a replacement
– Layout vacation policies and the notice required before an employee takes one
– Provide a list of the consequences for simply not showing up to work

You might consider having an attorney look over your policies before showing them to your employees.

Once your employees have read the policies, insist that they sign a document stating they have read them and agree to them.

Train Your Staff

An employee handbook is a key to your success. This is where you place your policies so your employees have access to them at any time.

Be sure to train your current and new employees so they are crystal clear on your no-show policy.

For most employees, you’ll want to talk through your policies with them so you can be sure they understand them. You want to let them know that there are no exceptions except in the case of an emergency.

Enforce the Policy

Yes, that’s right. If you have a policy, you must stick to it and enforce it. If you don’t, your employees will take advantage of you.

This is perhaps the most important aspect to dealing with employees that skip work. Be consistent and firm.

Perhaps your policy says an employee will get one warning letter, and after that they lose their job if they skip work. Others are less lenient, and one infraction leads to termination.

It’s up to you to decide the consequences and then stick to them.


The Constant Offender

Now we look at how to deal with the repeat offender. This is necessary if your no-show policy doesn’t result in immediate termination.

For the employee who consistently calls in sick, is repeatedly late to work, or just doesn’t show up, here are some steps you can take to remedy the situation:

1. Have a meeting with the employee. Discuss the problem and how to solve it. For the always-late offender, perhaps it’s changing their hours from 8-5 to 10-7.
2. Remind them how many chances they have left before you are forced to fire them per your policy.
3. Document everything and keep it in your employee’s file.
4. Create a plan for minimizing no-show days. Perhaps it’s hard for your employee to get to work every other Monday because she doesn’t have a sitter until 1 pm. On these days, she figures it’s just better not to show up. Discuss ways to revise her schedule so she doesn’t miss the entire day.
5. Another way to dissuade the consistent offender is to create a reward program (think back to your grade school days) that rewards employees who come to work on time every day and follow the policies for asking for time off. Creating a reward system for employees motivates them to not miss work. Motivating your staff doesn’t have to mean big raises or bonuses. You can motivate your staff through small incentives like parking spots, free coffee coupons and preferred scheduling.
6. Follow through with any consequences. For example – docked pay, making up the time, no raise, a demerit, termination, etc.

Stick to your attendance policy and offer incentives for those who follow it.

Final Thoughts

Employees that skip work repeatedly without notice are a huge problem for your company.

They are often disengaged from your business, and their lack of respect can spread like wildfire throughout your workforce.

Find out what’s causing the problem. If it’s a lack of caring, and the repeat offender makes no moves to change the behavior, termination becomes necessary.
If it’s something else in their personal life causing it, get to the root of the issue and see if there is a solution. If there truly is a real-life problem, work towards a resolution.

As a business owner, you can’t afford to let employees continue to skip work without consequences. Your success is at stake, so start with the policy and enforce it.

**Now that we’ve talked about how to deal with employees that skip work, we’d love to know how you’ve dealt with these problem employees before. Please comment below to share your tips with others.**

Sam Molony

Sam Molony is the marketing strategist at ZoomShift, the leading employee scheduling software. When Sam's not publishing or promoting new content you can find him playing his guitar or baking.

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