It seems to be in the air. Employees who either go off sick and then don’t come back, or others that just don’t show up for work one day.

Key to dealing with this is to call us immediately you have someone absent and have no information where they are. On the same day ideally.

You need to try to contact them by post, email, text message, social media (if one of their colleagues is connected to them). So it is always a good idea to check that you have all the contact details for each employee, just in case.

If you have asked them to contact you, to no avail, then you need to up the ante.

Send them a text/email or letter (or all three) that says “If you do not contact us by 5pm tomorrow evening, then we will assume that you have resigned with immediate effect.” If you are sending it by post, give them more time. If by text, probably less time.

Two employees recently just disappeared from the face of the earth, off of social media, husband and wife, both employed at the same company, gone.

Another one was an employee who went off sick and had a sick note till 20 June, but hasn’t turned up for work since.

The best one was when his girlfriend claimed she didn’t know where he was, we went ahead and dismissed, and found out a couple of months later that he was in prison!!

What we usually find is that there is no response to the AWOL ultimatum. Then the employee has resigned with immediate effect, which means that you don’t have to pay notice. You could dismiss for gross misconduct, but you then have to go through the process. This is a much easier approach.

And if they do come back to you and say “No, I haven’t resigned”, you can sort it out then.

The only one that has responded recently was due to sickness. We did the text message to an employee, under 6 months’ service, and got the reply within the hour that she was in hospital with an infection resulting from her newly diagnosed diabetes. So then we could apologise for the misunderstanding and keep paying her SSP.

Call us if you have any staff who “disappear” and are not responding in any way (this does not apply if they have gone on holiday!).

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