Managing employees can be tough work. And as challenging as today’s job climate is, there could be people who simply stop showing up for work at once, effectively resigning from their job.

This is something called job abandonment and it can cause immense issues for employers. Identifying it and preventing it should be a top priority for any employer or human resources team, even if you’ve never encountered it before.

Today, we’ll tell you all you need to know about job abandonment, from spotting it to stopping it.

What is job abandonment?

Job abandonment is the act of quitting a job without sending in a job abandonment letter. Reasons for job abandonment can vary, but can often stem from personal issues, medical reasons, or lack of satisfaction with the job.

Job abandonment (also called involuntary termination) is usually regulated through a job abandonment policy. This company policy covers how many business days of absence is considered abandonment, what happens with unemployment benefits, what the consequences of job abandonment are for the employee and more.

For employers, job abandonment can cause serious workplace issues. Besides having to cover for the workload of the missing employee, employers commonly need to warn, suspend, or let go of employees who have unexcused absences.

In some cases, job abandonment can simply mean that an individual employee is having problems (medical emergency, family situation, or some other reasonable explanation such as a natural disaster). However, if it keeps occurring and you have consecutive absences, it means that you may have problems within the company that need addressing before the problem escalates.

What causes job abandonment?

 There are many causes for job abandonment, but the following are the most common:

  1. Poor management - employees leave because the management is bullying or pressuring them

  2. Lack of job satisfaction - employees are not satisfied with their job or career progression

  3. Poor working conditions - anything from the lack of basic work equipment to working in unsatisfactory surroundings

  4. Inability to advance in the organization - no possibilities for promotions or salary raises

  5. Toxic work environment - employees are surrounded by coworkers who do not support them in their everyday work, cases of employee mobbing

  6. Lack of opportunities for growth - no chances to learn new skills or familiarize yourself with new tools or processes

  7. Lack of support from management - no support in everyday activities or larger initiatives, poor employment relationship with their direct managers

  8. Poor communication between the absent employees and management - no clear guidelines or expectations communicated from the top down

  9. Harassment or discrimination at work - various forms of verbal or non-verbal violence and discrimination

  10. Poor work-life balance - working long hours with no breaks, frequent unpaid overtime


What is considered job abandonment?

There is no single answer to this question, as job abandonment can take on a variety of different forms.

However, generally speaking, job abandonment refers to any situation in which an employee quits their job without informing their employer of their intentions with the help of a job abandonment letter and other termination procedures.

This can range from simply quitting their job without notice, to sending in a formal resignation letter, to simply not coming to work. Managers use different methods to track employee records including the use of online time trackers.

An example of a job abandonment letter. Source

Examples of job abandonment

Examples of job abandonment include quitting a job after only a few weeks on the job, quitting a job after working for several months, and quitting a job after years of service. Job abandonment can occur for a number of reasons, including:

  1. Feeling overwhelmed or stressed by the job: If the job is too difficult or overwhelming, the individual may decide to abandon it.

  2. Feeling unsupported or unappreciated by the employer: When the employer does not provide the necessary support or feedback to help the employee feel productive and happy at work, the employee shows resentment and decides to leave the job.

  3. Feeling like the job is not a good fit for the individual: The job may not be a good match for the skills and talents of the individual. In such cases, the individual may decide it’s time to look elsewhere and find a place with better company values.

  4. Feeling like the job is not providing enough opportunity for advancement: The individual is motivated by promotion and when that does not happen for a long period of time, the individual feels there are not enough opportunities for growth and development. The employee will then consider abandoning the job.

  5. Feeling like the job is not providing a good quality of life: When the job does not provide the necessary work-life balance features (for example, enough time for personal hobbies and interests), the employee seeks better prospects elsewhere. This is one of the more common reasons for abandonment.

  6. Feeling like the job is not providing a fair salary: Employees need a steady rise in salary to keep up with an increasing cost-of-living index. When this does not happen, the individual may decide to abandon the job.

  7. Feeling like the job is not providing good benefits: If the individual feels that the benefits are not up to expectations, then the individual may look for better benefits at another job.