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No Call No Show Policy: How To Create One (With Template)

Giving employees paid time off important, but no call no show incidents can often leave you scrambling to find coverage. Having a no call no show policy in place can prevent employee attendance problems and establish procedures for handling these situations consistently. Learn what to consider including and use the provided template as inspiration to create a custom no call no show policy for your company.

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What is a no call no show policy?

A no call no show incident occurs when an employee doesn’t show up for work or inform their manager they won’t be at work. Having time off usually requires a designated amount of notice, such as at least one week in advance. If your employees are paid hourly and work varying shifts, you may require more notice before creating the next schedule. An illness or emergency may necessitate last-minute time off, but the employee still needs to call and notify you before their shift starts.

A no call no show leaves you shorthanded, which can cause safety issues, decrease productivity and strain your remaining employees. By establishing a policy, you can set expectations and put no call no show consequences in place that may deter employees from committing the act.

How to create a no call no show policy

Your no call no show policy can be integrated into your organization’s attendance policy. It’s good to have one in place, but it’s also important to be reasonable. Situations individuals have no control over sometimes happen. For instance, an employee can get into a car accident or experience a medical emergency. In these cases, work probably wasn’t their top priority. Being reasonable in the event of emergencies can strengthen employee loyalty. 

1. Establish guidelines

Clearly define what you consider to be a no call no show in your policy. Within reason, you have the authority to develop policy rules that align with your expectations for employees. For instance, you can require employees to call at least 30 minutes before their shift to inform you they won’t be able to make it. A more lenient policy may allow employees to call or text up to an hour after their shift has started.

The policy should also include what actions you’ll take if an employee doesn’t show up without notice. Reaching out to them could be your first course of action. It’s possible something bad really did happen to them or maybe they simply didn’t hear their alarm go off. After you’ve tried reaching your employee a few times, you can move on to their emergency contacts to see if anyone has heard from them.

Once you have a good grasp of the situation, either provide support or enact consequences for a no call no show policy violation.

2. Develop consequences for violations

The policy should clearly outline the consequences employees may face if they return to work after a no call no show. This can be implemented in stages, depending how many times an employee fails to show up for their shift. With each offense, the consequences can be more severe. For example:

  • First offense: a written warning or equivalent reprimand
  • Second offense: a work suspension or mandatory meeting with HR or a manager
  • Third offense: a no call no show termination letter may be issued

Three days typically gives the employee enough time to contact their manager or company to let them know what’s going on. If no communication has been initiated at that time, you may view the employee as abandoning their job.

3. Communicate your new policy to employees

Once you’ve successfully completed the new policy and integrated it into your attendance policy, communicate this information to your employees. Be open about it and available for any questions or concerns. Let your employees know the company anticipates emergencies and will handle them reasonably, but you still intend to follow the policy in non-emergency situations.

You may consider asking employees to sign an acknowledgement or holding a training session that covers the intricacies of the new policy. This ensures everyone reads, understands and agrees to follow the measures outlined. Keeping your no call no show policy in an easily accessible place, such as on a company bulletin board or in the employee handbook, ensures there are no surprises and can be helpful for any employee who needs a refresher. 

No call no show policy template

The following template gives you a guide for your no call no show policy. You can change the wording or customize it to fit your specific needs. Be sure to consult with an attorney or your legal team prior to putting a no call no show policy into effect.

Employee Notification Expectations

Employees of [Company Name] are expected to arrive at work on time for all scheduled shifts. Days off should be scheduled at least [time period] in advance. Employees are required to call [designated time frame for notifying about unexpected absence] and notify the supervisor in the case of illnesses, accidents or other emergencies that keep them from working as scheduled. Notification must take place through [list acceptable notification methods]. Unacceptable notification methods include [list unacceptable notification methods].

Definition of No Call No Show

A no call no show occurs when an employee fails to show up for a scheduled shift and doesn’t call or notify [Company Name] about the absence. The event is a no call no show as soon as [indicator of a no call no show]. Each day the employee doesn’t report for a shift or call to notify a supervisor is considered a no call no show event. If the employee fails to report for [number of days], it’s considered a voluntary termination by the employee.

Disciplinary Actions

A no call no show will result in the disciplinary actions listed below:

First time: [Disciplinary action]

Second time: [Disciplinary action]

Third time: [Disciplinary action]

An employee may need to provide evidence to support the reason for the absence. Acceptable evidence includes [list acceptable proof] and must be presented [time frame for providing proof].

Frequently asked questions for a no call no show policy

How do you write up an employee for a no call no show?

Before writing up an employee, verify there wasn’t an emergency situation that prevented them from calling. Use your standard employee write-up form if someone breaks your company policy with a no call no show. 

What do you say to an employee who doesn’t show up for work?

Ask the employee to explain their absence. It may be due to an emergency or a lack of motivation to work. You can ask further questions relating to their long-term goals with the company and see if creating an action plan for reducing future absences is necessary. 

What do you do if an employee accidentally commits a no call no show?

Give your employee a chance to explain the situation to you. It’s possible they were dealing with an emergency or they truly forgot about a scheduled shift. Whatever the case may be, it’s up to you or the information outlined in your policy whether you impose consequences.

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