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How to Enforce Time and Attendance Policies in Your Workplace

Human Resources

As an employer, you should aim to hire reliable people who arrive on time and work until their shift is officially over. But you may encounter situations where employees violate your time and attendance policies.

Tardy or absentee employees can cost employers money by reducing workplace productivity and causing employers to pay for time in which employees didn't perform work. In some cases, late employees may even falsify their time sheets.

It can be startling when you understand how much small increments of lost time can add up over the course of the year. Take an example where a non-exempt employee is consistently ten minutes late to work and worked twenty days per month all year. This could add up to 40 hours of pay for time not worked annually. Ultimately, you're paying that employee for a week of time that wasn't spent creating value for your business.

Another result in the above example may include a negative impact to office morale. Punctual employees may feel resentment if employees who frequently show up late aren't reprimanded or penalized for their tardiness.

Given the importance of an effective time and attendance policy to a business, how can you enforce these procedures?

time policies

Create concrete attendance rules.

Employers often find that it’s effective to institute a formal attendance policy as part of their overall HR guidelines for employees. Such a policy should address:

  • Disciplinary practices for chronic absenteeism
  • How and whom to notify in advance of not showing up for work
  • Documentation required to give to employer (i.e., a doctor’s note)

At the same time, don't expect employees to remember every facet of the attendance policy. Take time to communicate frequently, and in detail, the need to adhere to this policy for the good of the business and one's fellow employees, and to make sure people understand the consequences of poor behavior.

Having established procedures in place can help managers enforce attendance rules while reducing the odds that employees will feel attendance issues are handled inconsistently or unfairly.

Address problematic employees quickly.

Depending on your business, employees who show up late for work occasionally may not cause a big strain on your operations. However, they very well could be hurting your workplace morale more than you realize.

Address attendance problems quickly so they don't turn into long-term problems. Remain professional when confronting a late employee about their tardiness. If it stems from an issue such as child care responsibilities, which may cause ongoing timeliness problems, consider offering that employee a different work schedule that they can adhere to better.

Implement an automated time and attendance solution.

Manually tracking employee time on paper time sheets is one way to track employee attendance, but many employers find an integrated time and attendance solution to be far more effective. This technology enables you to closely monitor attendance, requests for time off, and schedule adjustments.

Most of today's time and attendance solutions are software-based and allow employees to clock in and out electronically via computers, mobile devices, and phones. The data can be seamlessly imported to your payroll solution as well.

Beyond acting as a time clock, the solution can give you real-time data on which employees are working and when, who showed up late, and who is nearing overtime.

Ensuring your employees are working the hours they're scheduled to should be a key business objective; late and absentee employees can cost you money and hurt office morale. It's important to consider how you can prevent attendance problems before they occur.

This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. Paychex is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, Paychex. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant.
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