ABSCONDING – This is the most unprofessional and unethical way for any employee to separate from their organization. An absconder is a person who leaves the organization without resigning or following the correct process of separation.
An employee who abstains from their job without intimation and remains untraceable is referred to as an absconder.
Why do Employees Abscond from Work?
Reasons for absconding could be organization related, employee related, manager related and even related to the market situations. Some reasons why the employee absconded include:
- » Extreme disinterest in job role
- » Lack of commitment from the employee
- » Negativity at workplace
- » False promises made during recruitment
- » Conflict in individuals and organization’s goals
- » Absence of rewards and recognition
- » Not being able to cope up with work pressure and stress
- » Strict manager who does not believe in people related practices
- » Better job prospects
- » Personality issues
- » Conflicts between team members or supervisors
An employee takes the decision to abscond when he feels extremely uncomfortable to discuss his impending exit with his supervisor, HR or other senior employees.
Hence whatever the reason may be, an absconding employee indicates a serious breakdown of communication in the company.
What to do in Absconded Cases?
A lot of time and effort is invested in nurturing employees and includes skill development, training needs identification, reward and recognitions, and building relationships,
Hence, when an employee doesn’t show up for work for an extended period, say upwards of 2 weeks without any intimation, one should expect the worst that it is an absconding case.
Such matters need to be investigated thoroughly and appropriate steps should be taken to avoid recurrence.
Communicating with an absconder
You can use the following sequence of steps when such an event happens in your organization. Do keep copies of all communications with the absconder on the employee file.
- Contact the absconder telephonically and by sending an email.
- If there is no response, then communicate by sending an official (registered or courier) letter on the last known address of the employee.
- Quote the appropriate sections of your employee handbook and enquire reasons for not coming to work. Ask the employee to report back immediately.
- If no reply is received within a stipulated period, send a warning letter clearly indicating that a termination action will be taken if the employee does not report back to work.
- If no reply is received within 15 days of the warning letter, you can take a legal action by sending a legal notice and terminating the absconder’s employment.
Note: It is important to terminate such as employee once you have exhausted all options of trying to get in touch with the absconded employee. Keeping the employee on your roles can be a challenge in many ways.
Your statutory responsibilities
As an employer, you will still have to pay absconder’s salary till the time he has worked in the company.
If the employee has a leave balance, the same should be either used to adjust the last working date or appropriate adjustments should be made in the final payout to the employee.
All statutory payments (such as taxes, pension fund payments, health insurance etc.) owed to the employee and government must be paid till the last date of working of the employee.
If the absconding employee owes dues to the employer, such as pending loans and advances, pre-paid dues, loaner devices etc, the employer can claim to recover these through the court. Employer can even adjust the same towards any money owed to the employee.
Do make sure that you keep all documents related to the payments and dues for at least a period of 5 years or longer (based on your local laws)
How to minimize Employee Absconding Cases
The following areas can be worked on to avoid the situation of absconding employees
Frame an HR policy on uninformed absenteeism and employee absconding.
There should be a legal clause in the job contract about absconding. The clause should enforce the employees to follow the policy of separation or else suffer the outcome of legal action taken against them by the employer.
Recruitment and onboarding
After all, a recruiter would want to hire and retain a genuine job seeker.
- – HR should have frequent interactions with the employees and be aware of their satisfaction levels and challenges faced. Get feedback through engagement surveys and pulse feedback.
- – There should be adequate focus on employee development through training and mentorship.
- – A transparent, objective performance management process should be introduced to get feedback from employees and their managers. This should be introduced as a formal mechanism to involve all stakeholders.
- – Monitoring goal progress regularly and conducting frequent check-ins to provide continuous feedback ought to be an integral part of the employees’ job role within the organization.
- – A comfortable work environment should be created for the entire workforce.
Devise retention strategies
Besides adopting the above practices, it is also important to proactively introduce and implement good retention strategies in your organization.
Devise ways to retain your employees. Give them a platform to express their views freely. Recognize and reward top performers. Once, your workforce is engaged and motivated, there will be an automatic reduction in employee absconding cases.
We all work as employees in organizations so if we decide to quit our job, we should do it in a professional manner. Do not burn bridges while leaving the organization.
An absconding employee leaves a very poor impression on everyone and we should avoid being remembered as such an employee at all costs. Who knows the absconded employee needs to work for the same company again, or there was their reference check in the company.
If you must leave, submit a resignation to the appropriate supervisor or HR. Discuss the reason for your exit and don’t label yourself as an absconding employee.