How to Deal With Employee Absenteeism & Tardiness

Waiting on a tardy employee is frustrating.

Waiting on a tardy employee is frustrating.

Everyone is late or out sick occasionally, but when an employee is chronically tardy or absent, the behavior affects the entire workplace. Other staff members must pick up the offender's workload; morale, productivity and team cohesion decline; and costs increase when you bring in temporary workers or move deadlines. Dealing swiftly and effectively with habitually late or absent employees is the key to avoiding further transgressions and to correcting any negative consequences this conduct produces.

Establish a clear attendance policy. Define business hours and work schedules, including breaks and lunches. Describe exactly what signifies being late, whether it is one minute past the employee's schedule time or 15 minutes. Research local, state and federal laws, such as FMLA and military leave, to which you must legally adhere. Include a specific course of action that tardy or absent employees will face.

Discover the details. Find out if the employee has a legitimate reason for missing work. Engage your Employee Assistance Program if the worker requires help with substance abuse, family and relationship problems or health issues.

Notify errant employees that they are not in compliance of the attendance policy. Distribute verbal and written warnings according to the policy. Warn them of subsequent consequences if they continue to miss work.

Reward positive behavior and motivate employees to improve attendance by offering benefits for doing so. Dole out incentives to staff members who are consistently on time and present, such as award certificates, fun outings or prime parking spots.

Terminate employees who fail to improve their conduct. If a staff member simply refuses to make progress toward being on time and improved attendance and you have met the terms of your attendance policy, firing the employee will display the importance of being present and on time and relieve industrious employees who have carried the extra workload.

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About the Author

Tricia Goss' credits include Fitness Plus, Good News Tucson and Layover Magazine. She is certified in Microsoft application and served as the newsletter editor for OfficeUsers.org. She has also contributed to The Dollar Stretcher, Life Tips and Childcare Magazine.

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