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When one of your employees doesn't turn up for work unexpectedly

‘One of my employees has gone missing.’

It’s the call every HR Manager dreads.  An employee hasn’t arrived at work, it’s completely out of character and their line manager is concerned for their welfare. Would you know what to do if one of your employees didn’t turn up for work unexpectedly? 

In the UK, someone goes missing every 90 seconds. Missing can affect anyone; it cuts across every region, every age group and every community. For every person that goes missing, they leave devastated family, friends and colleagues, not knowing where they’ve gone or if they’re safe. The complex reasons that cause someone to go missing are vast. For a missing person, leaving is a sign they have reached breaking point: 8 in 10 face mental health problems, as well as issues like financial worries and relationships breaking down.

When Stephen Fry went missing three days into a production of Cell Mates in 1995, he said “When you feel you can’t go on, it’s not just a phase, it is a reality. I could not go on. And I would have killed myself if I didn’t have the option of disappearing."

The charity Missing People is the only dedicated lifeline when someone disappears, and offers the following advice:

Ensure your HR team store personal contact details and emergency / next of kin contact details for every member of staff.  Send an annual reminder to all staff to update HR with any changes.

Encourage a culture of keeping calendars up to date.

Consider developing and sharing a ‘Missing From Work Policy’ so line managers know what to do if an employee goes missing.

If you would like our detailed Missing from Work guidance for employers, please email corporatepartnerships@missingpeople.org.uk

Together, we can ensure best practice for any employee who may be facing difficult times.    

Zoe Hart
Director of People and Organisational Development
Missing People, registered charity 1020419


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