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Keep Emergency Contact Numbers for Employees

Posted on June 10, 2024


We recently had an employee not show up for work or call for several days.  Out of concern for him, we checked his personnel file for an emergency contact.  We tried calling the number, but it was out of service.  Are we required by law to have an emergency contact for each employee?  May we require employees to keep their contact information up to date?


You are not required by law to have an emergency contact for each employee, but having one is an excellent idea.  You may need to reach out to a trusted contact of the employee if the employee:

  • gets sick at work, faints, or has a similar medical emergency that requires calling 911;
  • is injured in an accident at the workplace;
  • is on sick leave and doesn’t respond to communications from work and doesn’t provide an estimated date of returning to work; or
  • passes away and final paperwork and paycheck need to be sorted out.

Here are some tips for maintaining accurate and up-to-date emergency contact information for your employees:

  • Have employees provide the emergency contact information upon hire, and request two means of contacting the person (e.g., cell, office phone, email);
  • Implement a policy requiring employees to update any personal information they have provided the company, such as emergency contact, home address, marital status, etc.; and
  • On occasion, perhaps annually, remind employees of their obligation to keep their emergency contacts and other personal information up to date.

An emergency contact should be at least 18 years old, and preferably local.  Employees should be assured that the information they provide will be kept confidential and will be used only when necessary.

For More Information

AIM members with questions about maintaining and contacting employees’ emergency contacts may call the HR Helpline at 800-470-6277 or email at