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No Show. No Call. No Job.

A local employer has a “three strikes and you are out” policy. The third time you do not show up for work when scheduled and do not call in, you are fired. Do you really need to give three chances? In a word, no.

Year in and year out, attendance is one of the biggest issues faced by employers. How do you get employees to show up? Even with this economic downturn, where workers are being laid off and those with jobs are lucky to be employed, attendance continues to be a problem.

Employers adopted three strikes policies when their biggest problem was finding enough employees to get the job done. Did this leniency send the wrong message to the workforce about the importance of showing up for work as scheduled? You can be the judge of that.

You can send a different message to your workforce. You can let your employees know how important it is that each and every one of them show up when scheduled. You can let them know that when one person fails to show up for work, it puts a burden on everyone else who must make up for the missing person. If they need time off to deal with a matter, schedule it in advance so you can be prepared. If they are ill and cannot come to work, that happens to everyone. But they must call in.

You can (and should) require that employees that will not make it in to work call their supervisor, your HR department or another person you designate. You can require that they call in each day they are absent (no more of this call in every third day). If it is to be a prolonged absence for an extended recovery, you can set a different call schedule.

You should also require that the employee call in his or her self. A call from a spouse, parent, girlfriend, boyfriend, roommate, co-worker, etc. is not acceptable. Of course, if verifiable injuries or illness prevent the employee from calling, you can allow someone else to call on their behalf. That should be the only exception.

There is one local employer that has a zero tolerance attendance policy. If an employee does not make it to work and does not call in, they are fired. The employee must call in, in person. No one else can call on his or her behalf.

This employer also has a policy of not accepting collect calls. If an employee is arrested and spends the night in jail, they are allowed to make calls, but they can only make collect calls. This policy has the practical effect of terminating everyone that does not show up for work because they are in jail. It works for this employer.

You are free to set attendance policies that work for you. Can you adopt a no show, no call, no job attendance policy? In a word, yes.

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