Welcome to Asked&Answered, our monthly advice column in which Ellen Mehling, METRO's Career Services Consultant, answers reader questions. Have a pressing concern about your job (search)? Submit your question here.
Q: If an employee does not come in or call in two days straight, is this grounds for termination without getting in trouble?
A: Yes, that can absolutely get you fired. You say "without getting in trouble," and if you mean "without a warning or a second chance," this infraction is definitely serious enough to result in termination without a warning. Even a single day's absence without proper notification could cause you to lose your job.
There are some things that employers don't want to have to tell employees. They want workers who know what is expected of them, like showing up and leaving on time, being honest and reliable, and notifying the employer when they are unable to come in. It is a huge red flag if an employee doesn't understand this; it indicates severe irresponsibility. Those with whom you work expect you to be there. It is poor form to fail to show up without giving notification.
Different employers are going to have different requirements regarding notification, i.e. who needs to be contacted and by what method. If you are new to a job and this hasn't been explicitly discussed, ask your supervisor for instructions. (It is a very good idea for employers to put this in writing, as well as their own policy regarding what they consider job abandonment.)
If the circumstances are truly extraordinary and you were absolutely unable to contact anyone (you were unconscious in a hospital, for example), I would hope that the employer would listen to your explanation once you were able to communicate. They'd probably also want some kind of proof of the extraordinary situation. If by some chance your failure to call for a non-emergency absence doesn't get you fired, it will most definitely result in a "never again or else" conversation with your boss and you risk damage to your reputation.
A discussion on AskAManager describes what it is like for a supervisor to have a no-call/no-show employee (read the comments too).