Stop Tardiness and Attendance Problems with Clear Policies

Stop Tardiness and Attendance Problems with Clear Policies

Tardiness and absences. These are problems every employer and supervisor has to deal with at one time or another. And they are problems which cost employers money, are disruptive to co-workers, and tend to lower morale.

A good way to reduce tardiness and absences is to create strong handbook policies that make it clear what the employer expects.

Include in your tardiness and absence policies answers to questions including:

1. When is an employee considered tardy?

2. How many tardy occurrences over what time period will you allow before you take disciplinary action? What will the action be?

3. Whom should employees notify when they are absent? When do they notify this person?

4. If they can’t tell you when they will return to work, do you want them to call in each day?

5. Can employees use their vacation time, personal time, and sick leave for excused absences?

6. Do employees have to fill out a notification of absence form when they return?

7. When an employee returns from an absence lasting several days because of an illness or health problem, will you require a doctor’s verification?

8. What do you consider unapproved absences? You might want to list examples of reasons for unapproved absences.

9. Who approves absences?

10. If an absence is unapproved, what disciplinary action do you take?

The tardiness and absence policies are ones in which you want to use clear, strong and straightforward language.

Example: “Tardiness of 15 minutes or more, three times in a period of four consecutive work weeks may result in termination.”

Outline what employees are supposed to do if they are going to be late or absent.

Example: “Employees must notify their supervisors or a member of management each day they are going to be absent…unless they know from the beginning it’s going to be an extended absence.” This way, employees will have regular contact with someone at management level, and this may discourage them from faking an illness or abusing your leave policy.

To put teeth in any type of policy — and especially a tardiness and absence policy — attach some type of disciplinary action. And then stick to it.

Example: “Excessive tardiness will result in disciplinary action, and if not corrected, termination.”

Warning: When disciplining employees, be sure and take action in a uniform manner. If you’re more lenient with men than women, for example, you could be risking unlawful employment discrimination.

Evaluate Employees’ Attendance

By taking an overall look at employees’ attendance, you can note any patterns, such as being absent on Mondays and Fridays. Frequent evaluations will give you time to counsel employees before a problem develops. It will also give you a chance to find out if there is an underlying cause for the problem that you and the employee can correct.

[NOTE: Information and guidance in this article is intended to provide helpful information on the subjects covered. It is not intended to provide a legal service for readers’ individual needs. For legal guidance in your specific situations, always consult with an attorney who is familiar with employment law and labor issues.]