How can the HR manage employee abandonment?

Fulfilling work responsibilities is something expected from an employee, but what happens when a worker fails to fulfill their job duties? That is called job abandonment, and it is a delicate issue to address due to its implications. That is why the Human Resources (HR) department plays a crucial role in tackling this matter.

In this article, we will discuss the role of HR in managing job abandonment and even more importantly, its role in preventing it.


What is job abandonment?

When we talk about job abandonment, it can refer to two different situations. The first one occurs when an employee informs the employer in advance and there are no further consequences other than those inherent to the normal development of the employment relationship. However, the more problematic scenario is when an employee stops attending work and fulfilling their job duties without notifying their employer or following the appropriate steps to resign. In this latter case, many employees wonder if they can take legal action, and companies should be aware that they can respond to abandonment.

In Mexico, for example, and considering that each country has its own laws, according to the National Occupation and Employment Survey (ENOE), there were 773,252 cases of job abandonment during the first quarter of 2021. This situation highlights that it is a reality that occurs – whether in its first or second form – and one that companies need to address.



When is it considered job abandonment?

Job abandonment is a voluntary act by the employee, and as a result, the employment contract can be terminated. Job abandonment is not a voluntary resignation because the employee has not provided prior notice.

Typically, the employee not only fails to show up for work for several consecutive days without any explanation but also may not respond to phone calls, emails, or any other form of communication. They may have even removed their personal belongings from their desk or workspace.

Regarding Mexico, the law establishes that job abandonment occurs under the following circumstances:

  • When the worker fails to report to work for two consecutive days without justification.
  • If the absence exceeds three days within a thirty-day period.

In these situations, job abandonment can be legally recognized, and the employer may take appropriate actions in response.


What are the main reasons people leave their jobs?

When an employee decides to leave their job, it is usually not due to a single incident but rather a culmination of factors that have been brewing for some time. Typically, there are multiple reasons behind an employee’s decision to quit. Let’s explore some of the main reasons why employees abandon their jobs:

  • Unfulfilled expectations: The employee realistically assesses their future prospects within the company and feels that their expectations have not been met.
  • Mismatch between the employee and the position: The employee may feel overqualified or underutilized in their current role.
  • Lack of support and follow-up: The employee may not receive essential elements such as clear direction, feedback, and recognition of their work, leaving them uncertain about their role within the organization.
  • Favoritism and lack of meritocracy: When principles of fairness and equity are compromised, trust is eroded, leading to dissatisfaction and potential abandonment.
  • Absence of a career plan: The lack of real and satisfying future prospects within the company can demotivate employees.
  • Feeling undervalued: It is crucial to empathize with employees and recognize their contributions to prevent them from feeling unappreciated.
  • Difficulty meeting job demands: Overwork, unjustified overtime, inflexible schedules, and excessive workload can lead to stress and negatively impact the employee’s quality of life.
  • Loss of trust in leadership: Employees may lose respect and support for their superiors, leading to a breakdown in the relationship.
  • Difficult relationship with supervisors: Lack of trust often results in conflicts and strained relationships with superiors.
  • Lack of fair compensation: Whether it’s financial or intangible rewards (such as growth opportunities or achieving goals), inadequate compensation can push employees to seek better options.
  • Deteriorating working conditions or personal health and safety risks.
  • Discrimination or harassment in the workplace.
  • The desire for higher pay or career advancement.
  • The need for independence or pursuing further education.
  • Marriage, pregnancy, family responsibilities, or personal problems.

These are some of the common reasons why employees choose to leave their jobs. Understanding and addressing these factors can help organizations improve employee retention and satisfaction.



How to prevent job abandonment?

Here are some best practices that HR can implement to prevent employee job abandonment:

  1. Provide resources: Ensure that employees have the necessary tools, equipment, and support to perform their duties effectively.
  2. Develop talent: Offer opportunities for professional growth and development through training programs, workshops, and mentoring.
  3. Promote recognition: Establish a culture of acknowledging and appreciating employees’ contributions and achievements.
  4. Foster strong relationships: Encourage open communication, build rapport, and create a supportive work environment where employees feel valued and heard.
  5. Provide employee coaching: Offer coaching and guidance to employees to enhance their skills, address challenges, and support their career development.
  6. Recognize individual contributions: Recognize and reward employees for their unique contributions and efforts.
  7. Build a connected workforce: Cultivate a sense of trust, respect, and camaraderie among team members, fostering a strong team bond.
  8. Promote a team culture: Encourage teamwork and collaboration, fostering a sense of belonging and affiliation within the team.
  9. Ensure clear feedback: Employees should have a clear understanding of how their superiors perceive the quality of their work and receive regular feedback on their performance.
  10. Support continuous growth: Facilitate access to specialized training and educational opportunities, enabling employees to expand their knowledge and skills.

By implementing these practices, HR departments can create a positive work environment that values employees, supports their growth, and reduces the likelihood of job abandonment.

Consequences of job abandonment

If an employee abandons their job, it results in the termination of the employment relationship. This leads to the loss of entitlement to severance pay in case of dismissal, and the employee is not eligible for unemployment benefits as it is considered a voluntary resignation. Furthermore, the employee who chooses this course of action to end their employment forfeits the right to retract and cannot return to their position in the company.



Laws and administrative acts regarding job abandonment

Although the Federal Labor Law in Mexico does not specifically regulate job abandonment as a reason for termination, it is understood that if the employee fails to attend work, Article 47 is referenced. If the worker does not show up at the company or establishment, it is presumed that they have no intention of continuing to provide their services or perform their duties.

Article 47 of the Federal Labor Law establishes the causes for termination of the employment relationship without employer liability, in other words, the grounds for justified dismissal in Mexico. This includes work absenteeism (for example, being absent for 3 or more days within a 30-day period without permission or justification).

If you need support in managing and, above all, preventing job abandonment, you can rely on our expert advisors at Kilpatrick, who provide human resources management solutions and services for your organization.