Since the invention of the time clock, employers have obsessed over their employees’ time and attendance. Why are employees late to work or absent?
- Personal duties outside of work, primarily childcare.
- Transportation issues such as heavy traffic or mass transportation delays.
- Physical issues, such as illness or injury.
- Rules resisters. Written policies are meant for others.
- Internal clock issues, often blamed on slow transportation but really a psychological or cultural issue.
Here’s what to do about it:
- Develop a clear attendance policy, with your expectations. Communicate the specific number of sick days, etc. employees are entitled to and the penalties for excessive absenteeism and lateness. Stick to it.
- Develop a culture of shared commitment. Start by holding everyone to the same standards. Criticizing some while ignoring the same behavior in others is a sure way to undermine your culture. On the other hand, recognizing those with “perfect attendance” will provide positive reinforcement. Rules resisters may respond to peer pressure more than to formal policies.
- Promote a healthy workplace. Sponsor flu shots, encourage the use of hand sanitizer, and provide discounts to the local gym and daycare center.
- Consider flextime or work at home policies.
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Here’s a Sample Policy that might help:
Attendance / Tardiness
Your attendance is a major concern of the Company. Unsatisfactory attendance, including tardiness and leaving work early, is unacceptable performance. You will be rated in your performance appraisal in the categories of attendance and punctuality.
If you are ill, injured or an unexpected emergency arises which prevents you from coming to work, you must notify your supervisor no later than thirty (30) minutes after the start of your scheduled work day. If your supervisor is not available, you should contact a member of management. If you are physically unable to contact the Company, you should direct another person to make the contact on your behalf. Leaving a message with a fellow staff employee or with the answering service is not considered proper notification.
When you call in absent, you are to advise the Company of your expected date of return. Management reserves the right to require proof of illness, injury or accident, including a doctor’s statement(s) or notice(s), for any temporary disability.
Repeated absences, excessive absences (excused or unexcused) or a pattern of absences are unacceptable job performance. If you are absent for three (3) consecutive days and have not provided proper notification, the Company will assume that you have abandoned your position and you may be treated as having voluntarily terminated your employment with the Company.
If you become ill at work, notify your supervisor immediately. If you are unable to perform your job task, you will be either sent to a doctor or your home. You will be paid only for time actually worked and may receive paid sick time if eligible.
You shall be at your workstation, prepared to begin work at the start of your scheduled work time or resumption of your work duties. If you are not, you will be considered tardy. Excessive tardiness, whether excused or unexcused, constitute unacceptable work performance. The Company does not categorize tardiness as excused or unexcused. If you are tardy, your wages will be reduced by the amount of time you are tardy, calculated in whole minutes according to the Company’s clock.
All absences are to be arranged for as far in advance as possible. This includes vacations and time off for other reasons. If a doctor or dental appointment must be scheduled during the workday, it should be scheduled as early in the morning or as late in the afternoon as possible.
Employees who use all of their allotted sick time for the year may not make up the time (including doctor’s appointments). Vacation time pay may not be used for sick leave unless pre-authorized (such as for surgery, etc.).