It goes without saying that no business can operate or succeed without employees. Showing up for work is crucial to completing projects answering customer inquiries and reaching labor cost goals.
The question becomes: how can you make sure employees consistently reports for duty? One solution is to have a clearly written work attendance policy. This type of policy enables you to communicate acceptable reasons to miss one or more days of work.
Additionally, the policy will outline how employees can request time off and what is not considered an excused absence. Providing every employee with a copy of the policy helps to prevent a lot of confusion. It also makes employees accountable for what is expected of them.
A well-written, consistently enforced work attendance policy might even boost morale among employees. Knowing that coworkers will face consequences for chronic absences can minimize resentment.
Factors Common Workplace Attendance Policies Should Cover
There are many different types of common workplace attendance policies. The one you select should be based on what makes sense for your business and industry. While different attendance policies exist, each one has similar elements that must be included. Here is a look at things to consider as you craft an attendance policy for your organization.
Overall tone – You want a work attendance policy that is strict enough to discipline employees who have problems with being absent. At the same time, you want a flexible policy that will not terminate good employees with rare occurrences of being absent.
More than one policy – It is not uncommon for some employers to have multiple policies for different departments. This occurs when staffing needs are not the same throughout the company.
An example of this is one attendance policy for customer service representatives who talk to customers every day. A separate policy is put in place for the IT department that does not interact with external customers.
Boost morale – A good attendance policy is not solely focused on punishment. Good attendance deserves recognition and reward. Ultimately, this incentive could improve overall attendance.
Defense against unemployment compensation claims – A reasonable policy that is enforced equally also serves as a good defense against unemployment insurance claims. You will need to prove that the employee’s termination for excessive absenteeism was due to him or her not abiding by the company attendance policy.
Summary of Different Types of Attendance Policies
These are a few examples of common workplace attendance policies to consider as you begin drafting a plan to curb absenteeism.
Point systems are used by most companies. Essentially, employees accrue points for various infractions. These can be any of the following:
- Early leave
- Excused absence
- Unexcused absence
Rolling Attendance System
A rolling attendance system records attendance infractions on a six-month or 12-month period. After the specified period ends, the employee’s record is cleared and calculations start all over again.
There is one exception that some companies might include in this type of policy. Employees with a history of habitual infractions on their attendance record are handled differently. Some are subject to being disciplined before the maximum allowed fractions occur within the six months or 12 months.
Policies for how tardiness is handled also varies among companies. You may want to include an explicit definition of what is considered tardiness. Some employees believe this only refers to the time they arrive for work.
However, you may want to include returning from lunch or coffer breaks to keep employees from taking advantage of this time. Additionally, a grace period for arriving to work should be spelled out in the policy. An example is giving employees up to 10 minutes after their scheduled time before they are counted as tardy.
A majority of company attendance policies give employees one hour prior to their shift start time to report an absence or tardiness. Some companies may require one full day, while others expect a 30-minute notification. This rule is not set in stone and largely depends on the staffing needs of the department.
The typical standard in common workplace attendance policies for no-call/no-show incidences is termination after three consecutive days. Further, you could classify this behavior as the employee’s voluntary resignation instead of a company termination.
Attendance policies should also include a rewards system. This recognizes employees with perfect attendance or very few infractions. Additionally, this can incentivize employees with attendance issues to work towards improving how they manage taking time off from work.
Policy Control is the Key to Absenteeism
Engaging in the subject of a work attendance policy is not one subject, but rather, all the areas that an absence affects the workplace. The key to controlling absenteeism is making a fair assessment of organizational problems. This helps to ensure you are applying the right control mechanisms.
Analyzing absenteeism data facilitates identifying the problem areas where senior management can make suggestions for change.