Punch the Clock: 4 Ways to Handle Habitually Late Employees

Do you find employees are regularly showing up late to work? End the trend now.
Punch the Clock: 4 Ways to Handle Habitually Late Employees

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What are some of the characteristics of a truly exemplary employee? Surely high on the list would be just showing up — making it into work regularly and punctually. Of course, as any employer knows, this is not something that can be depended on; in every organization, there are problems with tardiness and absenteeism. 

In an industry where it’s especially difficult to find — and keep — good help, how can employers effectively manage tardiness and absenteeism? What kinds of policies can be established to encourage punctual, regular work attendance? 

Employers need to think critically about implementing policies meant to curb tardiness and absenteeism. Some suggestions include: 

1.     Make sure there is a written policy in place — and available for your employees to review — that outlines how your company defines tardiness and absenteeism; what counts as an approved absence and what does not; what the procedures are for requesting time off; and what the penalties are for excessive or unreported absences.

2.     Handle chronic lateness like you would any other employee issue. The first time it happens, mention it to the employee and offer a gentle warning. However, once a second or third time rolls around, it may be time for a one-on-one corrective counseling session.

3.     Reward good behavior. Think about offering something like a $100 VISA gift card to employees who have perfect attendance over a six-month period.

4.     Track absenteeism — not just how many employees miss work, but why they miss work. What you may find is that these absences are coming about because of a systematic problem. If your employees are constantly getting sick, you may wish to think about implementing workplace wellness policies. If morale is low, there may be some HR changes or incentives you can offer to improve your team’s spirits. 

Optional and required leave

Before crafting any tardiness or absenteeism policy, employers need to know about the optional and required types of leave that exist: 

  • FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) compliance is required of all companies that have more than 50 employees within a 75-mile radius. To be eligible for this leave, employees have to be with the company for a full 12 months, or work a minimum of 1,250 hours in a 12-month period.
  • Short-/Long-Term Disability (STD/LTD) must be granted if a medical excuse is provided. This type of leave is only required for instances of non-work-related injury and illness, and the employer is not required to hold the employee’s position for when the employee returns to the office.
  • Personal leave refers to unpaid time off, used for travel, family matters, or education. Employers are not required to offer personal leave.
  • Military leave, meanwhile, is required by law; employers must offer leave for those participating in military service.
  • Jury duty leave is required except in extreme circumstances, such as when the employee’s absence would be detrimental to the business.
  • Bereavement leave can be offered to allow employees to arrange for or attend a funeral.
  • Vacation time is not required of employers, but is an important incentive for the workforce, and a key way to boost morale.
  • Sick time, pair or unpaid, is not actually required of employers, but is highly recommended to keep germs from spreading throughout the workforce. 

The end goal with these policies is not merely to be punitive toward employees who are in violation. Rather, it is to ensure that your company is running at peak efficiency and productivity. 

Chronic tardiness and absenteeism prevent your team from functioning as it should, so addressing underlying issues is essential. 

About the Author
Amanda E. Clark is the president and editor-in-chief of Grammar Chic Inc., a full-service professional writing company. She is a published ghostwriter and editor, and currently under contract with literary agencies in Malibu, Calif., and Dublin, Ireland.

Since founding Grammar Chic in 2008, Clark, along with her team of skilled professional writers, has offered expertise to clients in the creative, business and academic fields. The company accepts a wide range of projects and often engages in content and social media marketing, drafts resumes, press releases, Web content, marketing materials and ghostwritten creative pieces. Contact Clark at www.grammarchic.net.


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