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Employee Attendance Policy: Free Template + How to Write It

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You may have come across different names for it: employee attendance policy, attendance management policy, absenteeism policy, or tardiness policy. All of these terms refer to the same thing - an internal document whose purpose is to maintain regular attendance, punctuality, and, ultimately: the Company's efficiency. 

Life is unpredictable and unforeseen situations will happen: a last-minute family emergency is just one example. Therefore, you want to be flexible when your employees are late or absent. But for this to be an exception and not a rule, your team needs to 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.

If you're looking to give your business a leg up and encourage both accountability in your staff and productivity - the attendance policy is a foundation. In this article, we'll not only give you actionable advice on how to write it properly, but we'll also give you a free employee attendance policy in pdf format. 

To learn more about best GPS employee tracker apps, read our article.


What Is the Attendance Policy?

This term describes a document containing a set of company rules about employee attendance. In other words, it defines a number of leaves allowed by a certain company. It includes, but isn't limited to sick leaves, vacation leaves, maternity leaves, and other types of leaves a company authorizes.

The goal of this document is to reduce absenteeism and encourage productivity in the workplace. 

Perhaps a more important question is what Is a reasonable attendance policy? To promote a healthy workplace environment, it should aim at maintaining a steady work schedule while encouraging employee autonomy at the same time. 

Should You Have an Employee Attendance Policy?

The answer is simple yet effective: every business owner or manager wants smooth and efficient processes. One of its main pillars is punctuality and presence at work. It also helps organizations treat their workers equally and set clear expectations. 

Having an effective attendance policy promotes order and when it's aligned with the company culture and both parties comply with it, it also helps in maintaining a healthy employer-employee relationship. 

And if this didn't convince you, maybe the numbers will. The productivity that gets lost due to absenteeism equals an astonishing $1,685 per employee each year or $225.8 billion each year, according to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). 

How Do You Write an Employee Attendance Policy?

Establishing clear expectations is the key. You want your attendance policy to contain a clear set of guidelines on attendance management issues. The next important question is: what exactly should you include in the employee attendance policy? What's an essential part of it, and what's optional?

The Building Blocks: Policy Elements

In the next few sections we'll cover essential components your time and attendance Policy should include. And after we're done with explanations, we'll finish off this article with an attendance policy pdf, so you have a template you can tailor according to your business's specific needs.

What Are Key Points Of a Comprehensive Attendance Policy?

  • Work schedule and expectations regarding attendance.

  • Definitions: absence, tardiness, early departure, and job abandonment. Not all time and attendance policies contain definitions, but it's a more straightforward approach. You want to ensure your employees understand what is expected of them and, more specifically, what behavior is considered tardy or absent. And don't forget to clarify what qualifies as 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. 
  • Good attendance.
  • Procedure for approved absences. In addition to explaining your Company's procedures clearly (for example, if the employees are required to provide specific documentation to verify their absence, who they report to, and in what timeframe), this section should also cite what is considered to be excused absence.
  • Procedure for unexcused absences. A fair and effective employee attendance policy will explain what is considered an unexcused absence.
  • Procedure for requesting time off. 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.
  • Sick leave and medical leave policy.
  • How the Company supports its employees: policy exceptions and flexibility
  • Including incentives to encourage attendance 
  • Disciplinary measures that will be taken if the standards aren't met. This part of the Policy will describe in detail what are the consequences if the employees fail to follow its rules. 
  • Time and attendance tracking method. 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. In today's digital day of age, it's common to move away from paper timesheets and adopt modern GPS tracker for employees.


Ensure Compliance: Which Laws Should You Consider?

Now that you know the key elements of a comprehensive attendance policy, it's time to introduce legal considerations you need to 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:

  • Equal employment opportunity laws - federal and state legislation
  • Regulations related to wages, hours, and overtime
  • Paid sick leave laws - both state and local

Ultimately: Make Sure to Give Your Employees Flexibility Along With a Set of Guidelines

Structure and clear rules are essential for all of us - it helps us navigate our daily lives and know what to expect. The same goes for the work environment and your employees. When they know what's expected of them and what's 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 important for your employee attendance policy to not just outline the guidelines but to be fair as well. 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 they usually would. 

For example, you may opt to grant 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 absent due to unforeseen circumstances. Instead of disciplinary action, you'll allow them a bit of wiggle room.

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 that you are willing to be flexible as long as they have a good attendance record.

Time and Attendance Software: Encourage a Productive Work Environment

An important factor of a healthy work environment is equal treatment of every employee. When it comes to time attendance, your safest bet is to go with software built exactly for that purpose. Buddy punching is a frequent issue employers deal with. 

Timeero will let you have a clear overview of time tracking data and much more! Our GPS time clock will prevent mistakes and work as your team's ally. And as a bonus, time cards and detailed reports are generated in just a few clicks! 

And remember: a fair work environment is a healthy and productive work environment! 

Grab Your Free Attendance Policy Template

To give you a headstart, we've created an employee attendance policy pdf that 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 it 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.

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