4 Hallmarks of an Effective Attendance Policy

Posted on

November 16th, 2020


Employers have several expectations of their employees, but they aren’t always as clear as they could be. For example, employers expect their employees to show up to work on time, but does this mean they need to be in the building, clocked in, or actively working by a designated time? Developing a clear attendance policy isn’t as straight forward of a process as employers may believe, which can create confusion and anxiety for employees.

If HR notices troubling attendance trends across all departments, it may be time to update the organization’s attendance policy. The following insights can help businesses create effective attendance policies:

  1. Reporting for work. How employers track attendance matters. For example, traditional card punching systems are easy to trick as employees can clock in for each other whether they are there or not (AKA buddy punching). Online attendance systems may pose issues, too. For example, employees may clock in when they’re running late to sidestep the rules.
  2. Tardiness Grace Period. Some businesses allow a small window for late arrivals. This is typically around five minutes to account for unexpected traffic, public transportation delays, or unexpected childcare emergencies. However, there is a difference between an employee who is late on occasion and one who arrives late more often than not. Businesses that allow grace periods need to include how many times an employee can arrive late before receiving a warning. Organizations will need to look at their employee demographics to decide if a grace period aligns with their employees’ needs and how often to allow it.
  3. Flexible work hours. Flextime is a popular benefit because not everybody’s lifestyle fits into a traditional 9-5 job. Some employees may prefer to start work early if they’re more productive in the morning, while others may need to begin later in the day to coordinate with their children’s school schedules. Businesses that allow flexible schedules need to set clear expectations for start times and work hours to prevent scheduling conflicts. For example, if one employee works from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., it may be difficult for them to collaborate with a team member who works from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  4. Acceptable Work Breaks. Businesses can’t treat their employees like emotionless worker bees. People need breaks to refresh their brains and refuel. However, companies need to set clear limits for breaks to prevent time theft and productivity loss. While a five-minute break in the coffee room to grab a drink or snack isn’t likely a cause for concern, it can become an issue if employees stretch it to fifteen minutes or make hourly trips. As for allotted lunch breaks, businesses need to make it clear this break includes travel time if employees decide to go out for lunch. Employers also need to make it clear employees need to keep personal calls, social media, and non-work-related conversations to a minimum while on the clock.

Having a clear attendance policy is essential in the workplace, but businesses need a way to track attendance and absences. Actec’s absence tracking mobile app allows you to capture all attendance data to identify trends, comply with labor laws, and streamline absence management. Contact us to learn how we can help curtail absenteeism and time theft in your organization.

Finding Fault with No-Fault Attendance Policies

Posted on

October 11th, 2017


shutterstock_227384539 - CopyNo-fault attendance policies are a popular method of absence management. Employers assign points to various attendance infractions: half a point for tardiness, half a point for leaving work early, and a whole point for absences. Once an employee reaches a certain number of points, the employer can discipline or fire the employee without investigating the reasons behind the attendance infringements. However, such uncompromising policies can backfire and create headaches for employers.

Discrimination Issues Regarding No-Fault Policies

The biggest issue facing no-fault policies is point implementation. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protect absences related to serious health conditions. If a manager is unfamiliar with these acts, he or she may assign points to an employee by mistake. If a company then terminates that employee, the company is open to a discrimination lawsuit.
This exact scenario ended poorly for Verizon. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) launched a national class action lawsuit against Verizon for violating the ADA. Verizon failed to provide reasonable accommodations as laid out by the ADA and terminated a disabled employee based on their no-fault policy. Verizon settled for $20 million.

Avoiding No-Fault Pitfalls

The best way to avoid discrimination lawsuits related to no-fault policies is to shift point assessment from supervisors to Human Resources (HR). HR employees receive training regarding FMLA and ADA so they know which absences cannot receive points. Employers should also include a caveat in their handbook detailing that employees will not receive points for FMLA or ADA-protected absences.
Actec understands the intricacies of managing employee attendance. That is why we strive to help employers simplify absence reporting and management. To learn more about tracking and reducing employee absences, contact us today.