Have you ever considered the annual costs of absenteeism and tardiness to your company? A study by Circadian reveals that unplanned absences might cost businesses up to $3,600 for each hourly employee and $2,650 for every salaried worker yearly.
These numbers don’t show how harmful absenteeism can be to team morale, productivity, or customer satisfaction.
If you’re looking to give your business a leg up and encourage both accountability in your staff and productivity - the employee attendance policy is a foundation.
In this article, we’ll give you actionable advice on writing it properly and share a free employee attendance policy in PDF format.
If you’re considering taking your employee attendance management to the next level, we’ll introduce you to some of the best GPS employee tracker apps to help you monitor and improve your team’s performance.
So, let’s get started!
Employee attendance policy is a document that outlines the company’s rules and expectations about employee attendance to reduce absenteeism and increase productivity in the workplace.
However, not all attendance policies are effective or fair. Some policies may be too strict, lenient, unclear, inconsistent, or incompatible with the company’s culture or goals.
Some may wonder: What is a good attendance policy?
A well-written attendance management policy:
Besides setting the company’s expectations, the employee attendance policy makes scheduling, tracking, recording, and enforcing employee attendance transparent.
By having a good attendance policy, the company can ensure compliance with labor laws, maintain fairness and consistency, and treat its employees equally. It can also improve employee morale, engagement, and performance in the workplace.
It’s the policy that sets clear standards but, at the same time, offers some flexibility when the employees are late or absent.
Let’s face it - life is unpredictable, and unforeseen situations happen. A last-minute family emergency is just one example.
But for this to be an exception and not a rule, your team must be on the same page regarding absenteeism and tardiness.
In all honesty, being late, tardy, or absent frequently puts co-workers under pressure and causes disruptions in work.
To promote a healthy workplace environment, the company attendance policy should aim at maintaining a steady work schedule while encouraging employee autonomy at the same time.
Before we get to the most important part - how to write an employee attendance policy that works, let’s quickly go over why it matters and what benefits it brings to your company.
In short, a good employee attendance policy is not just about keeping track of time - it’s about creating a positive, efficient, and profitable work environment.
If you want to ensure that your company runs smoothly and maintains a professional atmosphere, crafting an effective employee attendance policy is vital.
Here’s a concise guide to help you draft a transparent and fair tardiness policy that aligns seamlessly with your company’s culture and objectives.
Who’s Affected? Start by pinning down which members of your workforce the policy pertains to. Is it designed exclusively for nonexempt employees? Are specific positions or types of employment exempt from this policy? Be explicit in your criteria.
Set Clear Expectations: Clearly articulate what’s expected regarding attendance. This includes punctuality, adhering to schedules, and the repercussions of frequent tardiness or absenteeism.
Excused Absences: Offer a comprehensive list detailing circumstances that qualify as excused absences. This might include grave accidents, pressing family matters, or sudden medical emergencies. Remember to mention the type of documentation or proof required to validate such absences, such as a doctor’s note.
Unexcused Absences: Provide a roster of reasons that won’t be accepted as valid excuses for unexcused or unreported absences.
When it comes to the reporting process, clarity is the key.
Elaborate on how employees should communicate their absences or lateness. Who should they reach out to? How should they log their absence in the company’s official timekeeping platform?
Every step should be transparent.
Accountability in the workplace is crucial. Be explicit about the ramifications of not sticking to the attendance policy.
If an employee consistently sidesteps the policy, what are the consequences? This might range from a verbal warning, a progressive disciplinary approach, and a written warning to deeming the act job abandonment.
For more details, check our comprehensive guide on creating an employee attendance policy.
If you don’t allow flexible hours at your workplace, define working hours and the scheduling procedure in your company. If there are any differences depending on the type of work or locations, or remote or hybrid employees, include them in the policy, too.
In addition to describing the work schedule and attendance expectations, it’s also recommended to include the time and attendance tracking method your company implements.
Make your expectations about accurate timekeeping clear, and explain the importance of tracking their working hours and/or their breaks.
In today’s digital age, it’s common to move away from paper timesheets and adopt modern GPS trackers for employees. Such solutions are easy to implement and use and won’t put an additional burden on your employees’ shoulders.
To make the concept of employee attendance easy to understand, start by defining what is considered a good attendance. You can, for example, include that a good attendance record includes behaviors such as:
Not all time and attendance policies contain definitions, but it’s a more straightforward approach.
So, besides explaining the concept of regular attendance, define the most common attendance issues, such as being tardy or absent.
So make sure you clarify terms such as absence, tardiness, early departure, or no-show.
And remember to define what type of behavior will be considered job abandonment. For instance, failure to show up for work for a specific number of days in a row without notifying the company can be cause for termination.
Excused absences include paid time off (PTO), time off in lieu (TOIL), maternity and paternity leave, public holidays, and work-from-home workdays scheduled and agreed in advance.
So, It’s common for this procedure to define who your workers should submit their time off request to and how far in advance it needs to be submitted.
Some of the excused absences are not and can’t be scheduled. Define what is considered excused absence in your company, procedures for taking such leaves, and requirements: if the employees must provide specific documentation to verify their absence, who they report to, and in what timeframe.
Sick days are the most obvious of such absences, where employees must inform their managers as soon as possible and, most commonly, also provide a doctor’s note.
Check out our article on the Vacation and Sick Leave Policy article, or download a template that you can easily adjust to your needs.
A fair and effective employee attendance policy will explain what is considered an unexcused absence.
To learn more about this issue, check out our piece on the no-call/ no-show policy.
Your employee attendance policy should also define the procedure if employees have a problem recording a clock-in or clock-out time -who to inform, and in what timeframe.
It should also address the situation when an employee repeatedly forgets to clock in or out - whether it will be considered a violation and a subject of disciplinary action.
Most employers resort to disciplinary measures to discourage poor attendance, from verbal and written warnings to disciplinary meetings, suspension, or termination.
Creating an attendance point system is an easy way to track infractions and apply actions progressively.
It’s also a great way to identify the employees with perfect attendance and reward them. A day off, Perfect Attendance Bonus, or Employee of a Month Award are just some ideas you can consider.
Employee acknowledgments are essential to corporate policies, even though they are often overlooked. Including it in your policy is advisable, as it provides evidence that an employee has reviewed it and consented to its terms.
If the policy needs to be enforced, having their signed acknowledgment in their personnel file strengthens your position. Although the law does not mandate signing a policy or an employee handbook, it is a wise business practice.
Structure and clear rules are essential for us all. They help us navigate our daily lives and know what to expect. The same goes for the work environment and your employees. When they see what’s expected of them and your company’s culture, it will be easier for them to follow it and organize their workdays accordingly.
However, we all know how unpredictable life can be, so it’s essential for your employee attendance policy to outline the guidelines and be fair.
Make sure to allow some room for issues that can emerge at the last minute and prevent your team from fulfilling their work responsibilities as usual.
For example, you may grant a Mental Health Day or a one-time excuse (without a penalty) for an absence that’s not scheduled or tardiness. Even the best of your employees, with spotless attendance records, may sometimes be late or have an unscheduled absence due to unforeseen circumstances.
Instead of disciplinary action, you’ll allow them some wiggle room; for example, a one to five-minute grace period before being late is considered tardiness.
This type of flexibility is an optional part of your policy. Still, it’s a great way to show your employees you appreciate their effort and are willing to be flexible as long as they have a good attendance record.
Now that you know the key elements of a comprehensive attendance policy, it’s time to introduce legal considerations you must be mindful of when creating your guidelines.
Take a look at relevant laws in the context of time and attendance policy writing:
Aside from these laws, there are a few more regulations to take into account:
An important factor of a healthy work environment is the equal treatment of every employee. Regarding time and attendance, your safest bet is to use software built precisely for that purpose.
Timeero is a reliable partner on this journey. Here is a brief why:
The app will log their hours accurately, including any overtime. The app will automatically create their time cards with all the needed information.
Just activate the Facial Recognition feature to prevent buddy punching and have the employees clock in with their selfies.
You can even combine it with geofencing to restrict employees from clocking in when offsite, from a cafe nearby, or during a commute. Or you can just let the app flag their timecards in such situations.
When creating a shift, managers can also allow employees to accept or deny it, preventing future problems.
Timeero has numerous safeguards against scheduling conflicts.
When you define types of leave in the system, employees can request a day off right from the app, and managers can approve or deny it easily in the same way.
Or, you can use geofencing and set up clock in/out notifications when an employee arrives or leaves the job site.
Employees can set their own clock-in and out reminders according to their schedules and working hours.
You can read our detailed Timeeeo review to learn about other great features besides attendance and time tracking that might benefit your business.
To give you a headstart, we’ve created an employee attendance policy pdf you can download, print, and use as a guide. This document will help you tailor a policy that will suit your business’s needs in no time!
Disclaimer: The purpose of this policy is to serve you as a general guideline, so use it as a reference. It is not a legal document and may not consider all relevant local, state, or federal laws. Therefore, before implementing it, consult your legal counsel and review this policy for compliance with applicable law on all levels. Neither the author nor Timeero will assume any legal liability that may arise from using the template of the policy.