Use of absenteeism policies in your organization

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An attendance policy is a document that explains to employees in detail how to deal with various problems such as delays, absences, early departure, on-call time and various types of leave. They also often describe a policy of progressive disciplining for attendance violations.

Absence" is defined as an employee's failure to report to work when he or she starts work. The two types of absences are defined below:
  • An excused absence exists if all of the following conditions are met
  • The employee informs his or her supervisor of the absence at least 48 hours in advance
  • The absence request is approved in advance by the employee's superior
  • The employee has sufficient paid time off (PTO) to cover the absence

An unexcused absence exists if one of the above conditions is not met. If an employee has to be absent or late due to illness or an emergency, he or she must inform his or her supervisor no later than the scheduled start time on the same day. If the employee is unable to call, he or she must call someone.

An unexcused absence is considered an occurrence for the purposes of disciplinary action under this policy.

Employees who have had three or more consecutive days of excused absence due to illness or accident must provide [company name] with proof of medical care and fitness to be absent from work before returning to work.

Employees must take an earned PTO for each absence, unless company policy provides otherwise (e.g. leave, bereavement, jury duty).

Here are some tips to help you create your workplace attendance policy:

1. Consider your current work culture

You will probably develop an attendance policy for employees to solve current attendance problems. Your employees may not show up on time, forget to call before their shift starts, or simply take the absence of an attendance policy for granted. It is important to remember, however, that an attendance policy does not change employee behavior overnight and may require a fundamental change in corporate culture.

It is true that employee attendance is part of the corporate culture. And it doesn't matter whether your company employs five or fifty people, the way you interact with each other will shape the culture and the way your team works. Your culture includes values, norms, systems, symbols, language, assumptions, beliefs and habits, such as how often your employees appear on time.

So before you start writing an attendance policy, talk to your managers and team leaders about their current approaches and expectations for employee attendance. If one team leader agrees with a slow start and another expects everyone to be on time, the message is mixed. Employees who clock in during slower working hours may not see the problem of a five-minute delay compared to employees who are all on deck in the morning when they arrive. Is there a current baseline or shared expectations, or does the approach to employee participation differ from team to team and manager to manager?

Behind the scenes, other cultural factors can also influence employee attendance: If many of your employees have families and young children, they may also have to juggle family emergencies or absences, and a zero-tolerance attendance policy would quickly put them out of work. Your new part-time summer shift may also arrive straight from school in the next few weeks and may not be able to cope with the up-to-the-minute traffic. Attendance may even be a symptom of your workplace planning habits.

Your corporate culture is as unique as your employees. And while no attendance policy can address every unique scenario, it must be based on reality and create realistic expectations for your employees.

2. Keep it simple

On paper, an attendance policy looks simple - not showing up for work is an absence, and everyone must be present at work to keep the business running. But is "absence" different from "no-show"? Is it different from "late"? What happens if an employee is an hour late instead of five minutes? Are they treated equally?

An employee absenteeism policy can quickly get out of control, resulting in a folder-sized document that is hard to read and even harder to remember. Instead of proceeding on a scenario-by-scenario basis, it's better to stick to general employee presence issues and express employee expectations in simple language that everyone can understand: absences, unplanned absences, delays, absences and sick leave.

Absences: the supervisor is informed by the employee X days/weeks in advance that the employee will be absent from work".

Unexpected absence: The supervisor is informed by the employee X hours in advance that the employee will be absent from his/her position due to an emergency or other unforeseen cause".

Delay: "The employee reports at least X minutes after the scheduled start of work".

No-show: the employee does not report for duty without informing the management".

Sick days: the employee is absent from his work place due to illness or a medical certificate".

Whichever attendance categories you choose, their definitions must have the same meaning for all employees and be as objective as possible. A manager must be able to distinguish absence from tardiness when he or she sees it, and employees must be able to easily understand where their behavior falls within the scope of the attendance policy.

3. Provide realistic disciplinary measures for each scenario

Now that you have defined your categories for the attendance policy, it's time to define what happens next. For attendance policies to be fair, it is important that discipline is not based solely on personal beliefs or individual expectations. It is not fair for good employees to have a zero-tolerance attendance policy "just because". And while you may personally think that five or thirty minutes is the same level of unacceptable behavior by employees, the actual impact on your business may not be the same.

Once you've done the benchmarking, you need to link the disciplinary elements of your attendance policy to the impact on your business. If every minute counts in a busy shift, 30 minutes could have the same impact as an absence. If an employee is unexpectedly absent from work and cannot find a replacement, their absence could have the same severity as a failure to show up.

In this case, your attendance policy may determine this:

Delay: The employee reports at least 5 minutes after the scheduled start of the service

If the employee arrives more than 30 minutes after the start time of the service, the delay is considered a "no-show".

After three delays, the employee is subject to disciplinary action.

Unplanned absence: The supervisor is informed by the employee X hours in advance that the employee will be absent from work due to an emergency or other unexpected cause

The employee is responsible for informing his or her supervisor and finding a replacement for the position. If the employee cannot find a replacement, the absence is considered a "no-show".

After three unplanned absences, the employee is subject to disciplinary action.

4. Obtaining the employee's signature

Once you have developed a first draft of your attendance policy, it is time to return to the first step: Share it with your staff and get them on board. Depending on the size of your team, you may want to loop it through completely or give all employees the opportunity to contribute. Even a simple gut check is enough - do your managers find something inappropriate? Does anyone feel that certain categories are unrealistic? Does this seem objective to you?

A presence policy should help to ensure that your business runs smoothly on a day-to-day basis and avoid creating even more chaos. Although there may be some resistance to change (especially if there is no formal policy in place), a good presence should give the impression of teamwork and allow everyone to work better. If your employees immediately react badly, feel challenged or feel that discipline is too aggressive, listen to their comments. Be aware of similar reactions - if several employees feel that you should be more flexible in certain areas, try to find a compromise and go back to square one together.

Most importantly, incorporating employee feedback into your attendance policy also increases their chances of success. When asked what motivates them to do more than this at work, employees mentioned "camaraderie and motivation from like-minded people" as their top priority. It was found that it is not money but like-minded people who are the main source of influence on employee performance and behavior. Knowledge of their employees, not just their managers, has contributed to the development of attendance policies and can be an important factor in gaining employee buy-in and accountability.

5. Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself

Finally, a fair attendance policy for employees should be a policy that you would simply implement yourself. Do not be afraid to ask the difficult questions: How often do you personally arrive at work later than expected? Can you always call in advance and inform your employees that you will not arrive on time as required by the policy? How many emergencies occur during the week that require you to stay away from work? Can you always tell your team a week in advance that you will be out of the office for a day?

When developing your new attendance policy, remember the most important factor: empathy. If you cannot follow your company's attendance policy, it is not fair to expect your employees to do the same. And while employee absences and recurring absences can be frustrating, emergencies cannot be predicted. Sometimes the unexpected happens, even if you plan well. The alarm clock doesn't go off. Traffic is worse than usual. The babysitter calls in sick. You can't find your keys. They're catching the virus circulating at work.

Ideally, a fair attendance policy of the employees gives you some leeway - without any reason. When developing your policy, you can set different levels of severity depending on your workplace culture and what makes sense for your company. Not all absences (and attendance policies) are created in the same way. On the contrary, a fair policy creates a standard for performance tracking and strengthens one of the most important workplace values: respect for others and everyone's time.

Are you looking for an easier way to ensure fairness for your employees?  An employee time clock eliminates rounding and human error, while at the same time providing a sense of fairness in the workplace.

If you’re looking for an automated Attendance Management system, we suggest you IceHrm which is one of the best HRIS systems which has so many HR functions automated into one system.

IceHrm is a Human resource management system for small and medium-sized organizations. This HRM software centralizes employee data and allows only one authorized person to access it, providing a high level of security. The presence module monitors employee time based on information about insertion and perforation. It covers all the basic HRM needs of a company such as Time Management, Training, and Development, Attendance Management, Expense management, leave management, Recruitment management and handling employee information.

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