Attendance   ·  

How to Create an Employee Attendance Policy from Scratch

Learn what every employee attendance policy should contain, and why even small businesses need attendance tracking and policies for employee absenteeism.

You’ve just realized that your company needs an official employee attendance policy and you’re looking for some tips. Or you’ve known for a while that a written employee attendance policy would make your business life so much easier, but you don’t know where to begin. Either way, you need some ideas for must haves for any official employee absenteeism or attendance policy.

The Basics: What Every Employee Attendance Policy Needs to Cover

  1. Employee Work Hours

    Define what a workday encompasses at your business. Is there a specific stop and start time for all employees? Are there a set number of hours in a workday, or a series of defined shifts that start and stop at consistent times (7 am-3 pm, 3 pm-11 pm, 11 am-7 pm)? If so, start by putting those in writing. If hours vary, as is typical for retail or food service, describe how and where hours will be posted. Also, define the clock in/out procedure.
  2. Define Late or Missed Work Time

      • What will constitute late for work?
      • Is there a buffer zone before an employee is officially late?
      • At what point in the workday is an employee absent rather than just late?
      • What is the procedure for calling off?
      • Should someone be notified if an employee will be late?
      • Are employees responsible for finding a replacement for unscheduled time off?
  3. What Employee Leave Benefits are Offered?

    There are no federal laws requiring employers to provide paid sick or vacation leave to their employees. But there may be local laws that impact your business. Regardless, many employers combine vacation and sick leave into paid time off (PTO). Write a clear description of what paid and unpaid leave is available for employees, including when and how they qualify for leave and how much leave they accrue each week, pay period, month or year. Be sure to explain the policy for requesting leave, including any deadlines for vacation leave requests and any blackout periods.
    An example of an employee leave policy from SHRM includes:
    [Company Name] will pay its portion of the cost of the employee’s benefits, including health, dental, life and disability insurance benefits, while an employee is on LOA. The employee must continue to pay his or her portion of the benefits, which must be submitted to the HR department each pay period unless other arrangements have been made; payment may be made by payroll deductions (when applicable) or by check. If the employee doesn’t pay his or her portion of the benefits for more than 30 days, the employee’s coverage(s) will be terminated and he or she will be offered COBRA to continue benefits, excluding life and disability insurance.
  4. Holidays and Religious Leave

    If your business offers paid holidays, floating holidays or will be closed for certain holidays with or without employee pay, be sure your employee attendance policy covers that. Also include any religious leave policy.
  5. FMLA leave

    If your business meets the requirements for an FMLA-covered employer, list the process and qualifications for FMLA leave, including military FMLA leave as a part of your employee attendance policy.
  6. Military leave

    Since almost all businesses are covered by USERRA, make sure military leave policies, including reemployment, are covered in your employ attendance guide.
  7. Leave of Absence

    SHRM defines a leave of absence as an unpaid approved absence from work for a specified time period for medical, parental, military or personal reasons. If your business offers any other employee leave of absence options, be sure to include those in your policy as well. If you offer a leave of absence policy, this is one possibility: “Employees who have been employed for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the last consecutive 12 months are eligible for leave. Employees must submit a leave of absence request to their supervisor to begin the process.”
  8. State and Local Laws

    Some states and local governments mandate allowable or protected leave for things such as attending school events, donating blood or volunteering. Research your local and state laws and include them in your employee attendance policy.
  9. Department Notification Procedures

    Include procedures employees should follow when they’ll be late or absent from work unexpectedly, such as notifying their supervisor within a certain timeframe prior to their shift. Not following procedures may result in disciplinary action such as suspension or termination of employment.
  10. Discipline and Consequences

    The last part of your guide should be the process that will be followed for violations of. Write down the steps that will be taken for various infractions, to protect your business from charges of favoritism or discrimination down the line. For example:
      • An employee must provide evidence of their absence if they are unexpectedly absent for three or more consecutive days, such as a doctor’s note.
      • Employers can take away or suspend employee privileges due to poor attendance including: ineligible to apply internally for position, merit increases or voluntary overtime.
      • An employee who is a no call-no show for three or more consecutive days before the employee is considered a “voluntary quit” or “job abandonment.”

Though there are other things you may wish to include in your attendance policy, these basics will have you on the right track for a complete, legal and simple employee attendance guide for you and your employees. TrackSmart Attendance can help you enforce your attendance policy by allowing you to track employee attendance, manage time-off requests, run detailed reports and store employee records.

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