6 Things You Should Include in Your Employee Attendance Policy

Regardless of the size of your company, your business can’t succeed when you’re experiencing excessive absenteeism. Not only do lateness and employee absences put you in a tight spot –it also impacts your bottom line –more than you may know.

But how do you go about getting your employees to embrace punctuality? How do you eliminate no shows, and boost employee morale so team members are excited to begin each workday? How can you enable your company to run like a well-oiled machine?

While there are a number of things that you can do to combat employee tardiness, the first order of business is establishing clear expectations. This means ensuring that you have a policy in place that clearly spells out your requirements for employee attendance, and consequences for consistent attendance issues. It’s important for your team to understand the company culture, and what’s not acceptable when it comes to the work schedule.

With this in mind let’s take a look at a few things that every company attendance policy should include.

1.Employee Work Hours

First, it’s important to document your employee’s work time. This means outlining all of the different scheduled shifts. It also means including information on how to clock in and clock out, the procedure for requesting time off (whether its PTO or sick leave), as well as the process of requesting an excused absence should an unexpected illness or injury prevent the worker from coming into work. It’s worth requiring them to call in for these situations, and you may even require a doctor’s note upon their return to verify the veracity of their claims, and take it out of their allotted sick days.

2.Defined Late or Missed Hours

Similarly, it’s important to clearly define what constitutes lateness in the tardiness policy. Is there a grace period, or a buffer for when an employee fails to show up on time? When are they officially “missing work” rather than being late? How many times can your employee be late before you take action? What if they’re absent for consecutive days because of one sole cause – one that isn’t included under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Having the answers to these questions –clearly defined in your policy will help to ensure that your employees understand exactly what’s required of them.

3.Clear Disciplinary Action

Next, you should also be clear as to what disciplinary measures will be taken if your employees are late too frequently or have multiple unexcused absences. For example, late twice in the same pay period could result in a verbal warning, while subsequent tardiness could result in a written warning, followed by a disciplinary meeting, where you discuss the worker’s tardiness in an attempt to find a solution. Many companies use a points system, where workers accrue points for tardiness and other infractions –other companies opt to use a rolling attendance system –where the attendance infractions on a six-month or 12-month period are recorded. One the time period ends the record is cleared and the calculations begin again. If lateness persists, progressive discipline that eventually leads to termination may be necessary.

4.Employee Leave Rules

Your policy should also include the rules regarding time off. This includes how far in advance they are required to book, and how many days off per year they are entitled to. Putting your rules and conditions in writing can help to ensure that you and your employees are both on the same page when it comes to time off, while at the same time closing potential loop holes.

5.Federal, State, and Local Laws

Some laws require allowable or protected leave for things such as serving on a jury, attending school events, and donating blood. Be sure to have a look at the Department of Work and Labor’s website to ensure compliance –and research local and state regulations and include them in your attendance policy.

6.A Morale Booster

Finally, your attendance policy shouldn’t all be doom and gloom. If you want to inspire regular attendance, keep in mind the best attendance procedures also include a reward system. This is a great way to recognize employees who have perfect, or very good attendance records. This, in turn, can encourage other employees to strive towards on-time attendance as well.

Finally, while a chronically late worker can be a significant drain on your company resources –it’s important to always listen to your employee’s reasons for lateness. Lateness is often an indicator that there are problems with the worker’s ability to meet current requirements and hours –if this is the case, you may want to consider allowing flexible hours –if it’s a viable option for your company.

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