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Job Abandonment - What to do if Your Employee is Missing in Action

Many employees go missing in action and the employer has to figure out how to handle this situation without breaking any laws. Here's what to do if it happens to you.

Did you know that job abandonment is not as uncommon as you may think it is? There are many employees that go missing in action and the employer has to figure out how to handle this situation without breaking any laws.

That is why you need to know some important information about this that will help you understand exactly what it is that you need to do if you have an employee that is missing and not reporting for work like they are supposed to.

If there is an employee that is not showing up for work like they are supposed to, then at some point you need to terminate their position and hire someone new for it. When an employee is missing in action it is known as a voluntary resignation and this means that they will not be eligible for unemployment benefits.

It is always a smart idea to know the laws of the state you live and work in because not all states have the same time limit for terminating an employee’s job if they are missing. Some states only require you wait 24 hours and others it can be as long as 15 days. Check with an attorney if you can’t find the information you need for this.

Once you know the laws you will be able to terminate that employee after they have not shown up for the required number of days. For most employers, waiting at least 3 days is usually a safe time to wait before terminating them because this allows the employee enough time to contact you, and it also gives human resources the time to investigate why they are missing.

There are many reasons why an employee could be missing in action so it is very important that termination is not done right away in case they have a legitimate reason for not contacting you. By waiting three days this gives them time to find a way to communicate with you.

The reason it is important to investigate the employee’s absence is because it could be medically related. This could fall under the Family and Medical Leave Act or FMLA, which means the employee can’t be legally terminated, so you have to investigate so you don’t get your company in hot water legally.

There are many instances where an employee can’t be legally terminated and that is why you always investigate before taking any action. If you can’t find the missing employee and you need to send them something such as personal articles or money that might be left in a pension planComputer Technology Articles, you can use a service to do an employee locator which you can find online.

Knowing the job abandonment laws in your state is also imperative so you can make sure you are not breaking any laws by terminating the employee.

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Cathy Taylor is a marketing consultant and freelance writer. She can be reached at

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