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HR Consulting: What Qualifies as an Employee Quit


Your employee doesn’t arrive for work on Monday or Tuesday, and you haven’t received any calls or emails. Days pass by and still no word. You try calling but receive no response.

As an employer, how can you tell when an employee has quit? Is it when he or she fails to notify you as outlined in your company policy, or do you need more documentation to confirm the employee voluntarily resigned? This problem – the uncertainty of an employee’s employment status – can create all kinds of difficulties for your company.

Consider this situation – your employee fails to call in and is gone for five workdays. You assume she’s quit so you replace her. On the sixth workday she shows up for work, explaining an emergency situation such as an unexpected death in the family, a child needed an emergency procedure such as a tonsillectomy or appendicitis, or maybe a partner was called to duty in the National Guard. With the emergency situation over, she’s ready to work.

After you tell her she quit because she didn’t show up, she files for unemployment. How can you ensure you’ll win the unemployment case?

The solution is simple. All employers should have a voluntary quit policy. This policy should state exactly what circumstances will result in your company concluding an employee voluntarily resigned. An example of a voluntary quit policy could be:

If you are absent from work for more than “X” consecutive workdays, without notifying your supervisor in advance of your absence with an explanation for your absence and receiving the supervisor’s approval for the absence, you will have quit your employment voluntarily.

Another example:

An employee who is absent from work for more than “X” consecutive scheduled work hours, without advance approval of the absence by his or her supervisor, is self-terminated.

Bottom line: Detailing what exactly constitutes self-termination will protect your company and provide clear expectations to employees.

Contact VonLehman’s Human Resources Consulting Group at 800.887.0437 for guidance related to this topic.

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