Every company needs an adequate time and attendance policy to inform employees about the expectations of the organization and the consequences of failing to meet them. Employee attendance is a critical factor in the overall performance of an organization, and if not kept under check, it can lead to significant problems.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), productivity losses resulting from employee absenteeism cost employers $225.8 billion annually, or $1,685 per employee. When your workers are aware of the attendance policy in place, it helps boost the productivity of your business.
HR managers must remember that unexpected absence once in a while is alright, but regular absenteeism can severely impact the bottom line. Even if your company does not have an attendance problem, an effective attendance policy can help keep things organized.
It communicates the attendance requirements to the employees. Here in this guide, we will explore the attendance policy in detail.
Let’s start with the basics.
Table of Contents
What is an attendance policy?
An employee attendance policy is a document that defines the set of rules to reduce absenteeism, improve employee productivity and clearly explain expectations for employees in a consistent language.
An employee attendance policy indicates the time to arrive and leave throughout the defined workweek. Furthermore, it clearly explains the violations such as arriving late, leaving early and being absent. It should also contain information on how employees should report their arrival and departure.
The policy should help employees distinguish between acceptable and unacceptable absences. A comprehensive attendance policy also provides the logic and reason behind the creation and enforcement of the policy.
Why does an organization need an attendance policy?
As mentioned above, an attendance policy is essential to establish professional expectations from your staff. Still, most importantly, it provides a formal structure for reprimanding repeated non-compliance to the guidelines. Here are other benefits of implementing a well-defined attendance policy in your organization.
1. HR Management
When there is an attendance policy to instruct employees, it becomes easier to allocate your human resources, such as employees, efficiently. For instance, a policy can include specific instructions for the workforce to report on the floor 10 minutes before a shift change to ensure that the assembly line runs smoothly.
You can also have a specific notice period before taking a leave to allow enough time for HR managers to bring in replacement staff. An attendance policy can help efficiently use the workforce and distribute workloads to keep the operations up unabated.
2. Cost Control
Employee absenteeism or lateness cost companies revenue which is why it is essential to keep a check on it. For example, suppose a staffer who is expected to open the business at a particular time is regularly late; it can tarnish the reputation of your business and make customers think of it as unreliable.
With a strict attendance policy, you can modify such behavior and address it immediately to resolve the issue from becoming a problem.
3. Maintaining Transparency
When the managers do not handle employees who are not punctual and take too many off, it demoralizes other staffers who come to work on time. It is also unfair to other employees to cover for regularly late staffers. With an attendance policy, you can prevent repeated absenteeism, eradicating any instance of infighting between staffers.
By implementing an attendance policy, you send a message that you don’t take frequent absenteeism lightly and always take a formal approach to deal with the attendance issues.
How to write an effective attendance policy?
A good attendance policy takes an organization’s culture and needs into consideration. Depending on the industry, the requirements of your employees can differ and soak in the business environment. While every business has its unique requirements, here are some tips for creating an attendance policy for employees that is comprehensive and effective.
1. Don't use ambiguous definitions
It is essential to have clear and concise definitions in an attendance policy so that employees can understand the requirements. Avoid using ambiguous terminologies at all costs. Clearly define tardiness, accused absence, unexcused absence, sick leave, paid time off, and half-day.
For instance, when you describe tardiness, explicitly inform employees how much late they can clock in, like recording the attendance of more than 10 minutes late will be tardiness.
2. Create employee protocols
There should be a clear protocol for all the workers when requesting leaves, time off, or going to be late. The attendance policy should fairly outline how an employee should alert managers and what actions will be taken if an employee does not show up without advance notice.
3. Don't publish a policy draft without collaborating with employees
Once the first draft of the attendance policy with all crucial definitions and protocols outlined is ready, it is time to explore all possible scenarios. Add multiple sections and distinctions for workers and managers wherever necessary. The policy must include medical emergencies, climatic obstructions, and other unforeseen circumstances.
The idea here is to create a fair attendance policy that managers should not use as a weapon against the employees; instead, it should protect their interests. To achieve this goal, you may want to share the draft with employees and seek their feedback within a limited time.
Set up open discussions with employees to address any concerns or requests. It is essential to ensure that the attendance policy does not alienate employees.
4. Enact the policy
After workers have reviewed the attendance policy draft, the final step is to enact a plan. You must ensure that both existing and new workers have access to the policy. It is also essential to train the HR managers to enforce the policy consistently and fairly for all employees if there are violations.
These are the basic steps to writing an attendance policy, and we have provided them as a general guideline. To guide you further, here is a sample attendance policy.
Attendance policy template
Add a logo of the company here
Introduction to Employee Attendance Policy:
At [NAME OF BUSINESS], good workplace attendance is one of the primary expectations from all employees. We expect every employee to take full responsibility for their attendance without compromising on the company’s policies. All employees are expected to arrive on time, be present, and work for the entire duration of all scheduled shifts. Any requirement for leaving work early, absences, and late arrivals must be arranged in advance by contacting prospective supervisors and managers. Placing “fill-ins” or coverage for missed shifts is the employee’s sole responsibility.
Absence: Supervisor must be notified by the employee at least [duration] in advance. The employee will be absent from the assigned shift if the employee fails to notify supervisors [duration].
Unscheduled absence: An employee informs the supervisor immediately before the shift starts that they will be absent from the shift due to an emergency or other unexpected causes. Failure to notify the supervisor can result in the absence being counted as a “no show” or result in [consequence].
[Number] unscheduled absences will result in [consequence].
Tardiness: When an employee arrives at work at least [duration] minutes after the scheduled shift start. If the employee shows up later than [duration] after shift start time, tardiness will be recorded as an absence.
After 20 tardies, the employee will be subject to [consequence].
No-show: If an employee fails to show up for a shift without notifying the supervisor, it will be a no-show.
After 20 no-show, the employee will be subject to [consequence].
After 20 consecutive no-shows, the employee will be terminated.
Sick days: Employee is absent from shift due to illness or doctor’s note. The employee’s sole responsibility is to notify the supervisor in case of illness or medical emergency. Otherwise, the absence will be counted as a “no-show.”
Include additional guidelines about your company’s visions, goals, and responsible management. Information can include why it is essential to enact this policy.
How to track employee time and attendance?
Drafting and enacting an attendance policy is just one part of the job. To fully benefit from the procedure, you should have measures in place to track the time and attendance of the employees. For this purpose, you can install an attendance system. However, before you choose a product, it is essential to:
1. Identify the tracking needs of your business
There is a significant difference in tracking the needs of businesses as their requirements differ. Several solutions are available to track employees’ time and attendance, but the choice depends on your requirement. For instance, if your company is in the IT industry, you will need an attendance system to track employee working hours and busy times on desktops.
If you are in a domain like manufacturing and mining, your workforce will be distributed over a large area, and a standard attendance system will not work. You will need an attendance system with GPS-enabled tracking that can be used with minimal hardware.
It will also help to choose a time and attendance management system that integrates with your accounting or payroll software to increase the productivity of the HR team. Such an attendance system will make dealing with time theft, absenteeism, and attendance regularization easier.
2. Choose the right time and attendance system
Depending on the requirements above, you must choose an attendance system that can handle the HR requirements.
Truein is a new-age face recognition attendance system that utilizes the power of AI to track and record attendance. The attendance system is cloud-based, enabling businesses to deploy its solutions for remote sites and field workers. It has GPS and geo-fencing features that track employees using their smartphones.
Furthermore, it offers features like mobile punching, leave management, the ability to create reports and set alerts, and easily integrates with accounting systems.
We hope this guide provides you with a proper guideline for writing an attendance policy for your business. Irrespective of your business nature, it is essential to create an approach that boosts productivity and helps employees understand the attendance expectations without making them susceptible to exploitation.