An effective attendance policy is essential to the productivity of your small business. But before you develop one, consider the structure and culture of your organization. Even if attendance isn’t a problem at your company, a defined policy can keep your business organized and improve communication with your employees. You want to create an employee attendance policy that employees adapt to naturally and that serves your purposes as a business owner. That means finding a policy that works best for everyone.
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What is an attendance policy?
An attendance policy defines when employees should arrive and leave throughout your defined workweek. It explains clear violations – like arriving late, being absent or leaving early – and provides the logic and reasoning behind the development and enforcement of the policy. Specifically, it should define when employees need to be at work and how they should report their arrival and departure. This can apply to typical 9-to-5 Monday-Friday jobs as well as shift-based employment, for which rotating schedules are more common.
After defining the details, outline the disciplinary system behind the policy. Some companies operate on a warning system, in which employees are given one or two warnings before having a discussion with a manager about attendance. Others use a point-based system, in which workers accrue points if they are absent without approval, if they arrive late or if they leave early. When the point limit is reached, the employee is terminated or suspended, or another disciplinary action is taken.
How to write an attendance policy
Writing a good attendance policy starts with evaluating your organization’s culture and needs. Consider your employees and the type of business environment you’ve created. By defining your overall culture, you can make better decisions as you flesh out a full-fledged attendance policy. Follow these steps to ensure your policy is comprehensive and effective.
1. Create relevant definitions.
Start by defining the following terms relative to your business’s situation: tardiness, unexcused absence, excused absence, sick leave and paid time off. For example, tardiness could mean clocking in more than 10 minutes late.
2. Create employee protocols.
You need standard processes in place that apply to all of your workers when they are requesting time off, sick, or going to be late. Create a fair policy that outlines how employees should alert managers and states what happens if employees fail to show up for work without warning.
3. Draft your plan.
Once you’ve outlined the important definitions and protocols, draft your attendance policy. Create multiple sections to address potential scenarios. Add distinctions for workers and managers, if necessary. Also consider exemptions, like absences for jury duty or related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While a defined policy is important, it shouldn’t be weaponized against your employees but rather used to protect them.
4. Collaborate with employees.
Depending on your situation, when your plan is done, you may want to send it to employees and provide a grace period for them to review it. Set a meeting to discuss any concerns or requests. You want to create a policy that fits your business, not one that causes workers to quit.
5. Enact the plan.
Once your workers have had a chance to review and respond to your new policy, enact your plan. Make sure both new and existing workers have access to it. If there are violations, enforce the policy fairly and consistently among your entire staff.
What is a “no-fault” attendance policy?
With a no-fault policy, employees are granted a certain amount of leave and they accumulate points each time they use it. When the points limit has been reached, the employee either has no leave left or must be terminated if he or she continues to be absent.
What is the purpose of an attendance policy?
The purpose of an attendance policy is to highlight the importance of employees being present for work on time, every day. Employees must be aware that regular attendance and punctuality optimizes productivity and any deviation will result in lower productivity levels that will cost the company money.
What is an attendance occurrence?
An attendance occurrence is any documented instance when an employee was either late or absent for a scheduled shift.
How many absences are considered excessive?
If an employee has three or more unexcused absences in any 90 day period, this is seen as excessive absenteeism.
By creating a defined attendance policy, you can hold employees accountable and reduce problems within your business. It’s also just good business practice. By being transparent about employee attendance, lateness and other time and attendance protocols, you’re getting ahead of problems and setting important standards early on. Additionally, the policy tells employees how and who to notify if they are going to be tardy or absent.
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