Everyone can be late from time to time. Sometimes its out of our hands no matter how prepared we are. Reasons for lateness can vary from a delay in traffic, to sleeping through your alarm…Whatever the reason for lateness or absences, we’re here to help you manage employee attendance.
When looking for a new employee, punctuality is a key component. It’s an important quality for employees and prospective candidates to have, as it is key to productivity and highlights an employee’s drive and desire to succeed. One of the most common problems business owners and managers find impacts on the effectiveness and profitability of the company is employee lateness. Although it is human nature for some employees to be occasionally late but when this becomes a recurring pattern, it becomes an issue that needs to be resolved and further action to be taken. If no action is taken, the employee will assume their lateness is acceptable and it will continue.
Employers pay employees for their time especially when they have set contracted hours, so why would the employer continue to pay for an employee who is not present at work, essentially stealing time from the company?
So, if an employee starts to show a recurring pattern of lateness, deal with this appropriately and as soon as possible. Here’s how:
Ensure you have a well drafted policy
This policy sets out the rules surrounding lateness. It should include:
- The employees working hours and the requirements to meet these.
- The procedure to follow when reporting lateness.
- Details on the tracking and monitoring of working hours (e.g. timesheets or clocking in/out).
- How the employee can make up lost time, if required.
- Actions taken after continued lateness (e.g. disciplinary action).
It is important to communicate any new policies or policy updates to all employees. It is also important to ensure you implement these fairly throughout the organisation.
Monitor and Manage Tardiness
When issues of lateness begin to arise, it is important to manage and investigate the matter. A manager should schedule a meeting with the employee in question to discuss their lateness. In the interim, information should be collated regarding working times, instances of lateness and reasons etc. This will clarify why the lateness is occurring. It also highlights to all employees that their arrival times are being monitored and action will be taken.
In some cases, and employee and employer may be able to come to a mutual agreement for example, an employee may express their difficulty in being able to arrive on time due to personal reasons, such as balancing the school run. In this case their working hours may be able to be amended slightly to stop lateness from reoccurring, e.g., working hours of 9.15am to 5.15pm instead of 9am to 5pm. This proves why it is important to address the issue with the employee as soon as possible so changes can be put in place (if agreeable).
You can use these records as evidence when addressing the problem. They demonstrate the facts and not opinions. You can monitor and track attendance with sign in sheets or installing a clock in, clock out system to document employees working hours.
If the employee lateness persists, you must take further action. Deliver this action in a more formal manner. There are different actions that you can take in the disciplinary process depending on the severity of the lateness.
- Verbal warning
- Written warning
- Final written warning
Firstly, you can give a verbal or written warning; However, if the lateness continued this would escalate to a final written warning. You can dismiss the employee if there is no improvement. The Employment Rights Act 1996 documents an employer’s ability to dismiss a member of staff for poor conduct and failure to meet the requirements of their contract. However, it is unfair to immediately dismiss at the first hearing. This is because unacceptable time keeping doesn’t constitute gross misconduct. The employment tribunal would expected to see issues of previous formal warnings relating to lateness.
It is crucial for an employer to follow the correct disciplinary procedure to avoid any risks and/or employment tribunals.
How can we help you?
A valued member of the Wurkplace team providing administrative and coordinating skills for the HR department and also overseeing the accounts department of the business whilst carrying out key bookkeeping tasks and conducting payroll.
Georgia holds a level 3 in Business Administration and AAT level 2 whilst continuing to work towards gaining a diploma in AAT.