How do I manage AWOL employees?

If one of your employees doesn’t arrive at work one morning what do you do? Maybe at first you aren’t concerned, you know the traffic was bad but as the minutes turn into an hour you start to realise they aren’t just running late…What do you do?

Check their diary

Firstly review their diary, did they have an offsite meeting this morning? A dentist appointment you’ve forgotten about? Ask their colleagues if they said anything to them about being in late today.

Have they called in sick?

If you’ve not received any voicemails or messages, have they let your Occupational Health team know they are unwell? Do you have a sick line they may have called? Ideally they would let you, as their manager, know in the first instance but it is worth checking who else they could have informed.

Attempt to contact them and their Next of Kin

If it becomes apparent they should be in work and they have not called in sick then you must try to contact them. It’s really important to have up to date contact information logged on your employee database. If you can’t get hold of them, try their next of kin. Make sure that you keep the employees next of kin up to date or else you could end up having an awkward conversation with the employees’ ex-wife!

If it becomes clear that this is an unauthorised absence, take action

When an employee commits misconduct it is always due to conduct or capability.

If its capability ‘CAN’T do’ then ensure the employee is trained to follow the correct procedure in future (i.e — calling in sick by 9am, updating their diary etc)

If there is no justifiable reason for the employee not attending work or informing you then you need to handle this formally under conduct ‘WONT do’.

Make a note on their employee record that they were AWOL and refer to your relevant disciplinary policy for next steps. The reason for absence and the time it took to inform you will determine the action you take.

Original article published on by:

Jemma Simpson

HR & Recruitment Specialist

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