Time and attendance policy: making yours airtight

Why is a clear time and attendance policy is so crucial?

Because it sets clear expectations for your staff and helps management take action when employees are pushing the boundaries.

Here are some ways you can clearly define the dos and don’ts of your time and attendance policy, so that everyone in the company is on the same page.

1. Set clear expectations

If you’re fine with people leaving the office when their work for the day is done, say so. However, if your staff needs to be in the office for a certain length of time each day, then you’ll need to set specific work hours and inform your entire workforce.

“Examine the culture of your workplace, what makes sense for the business,” says Emily Dusablon, HR advisor for Insperity. “Do you have hours that your business is open to the public? Or are you the type of company that allows employees to determine when and where they perform work?”

Let your employees know how much leeway they have before you consider them late – and at what point you consider them absent. Do you expect them to contact you if they’ll be late? Tell them.

2. Define paid vs. unpaid time off

If your company offers employee paid sick or vacation days, explain your policy for requesting time off, including any deadlines or restrictions.

“For example, if your busy season is December, it is important that employees know this up front so they can manage their time off,” Dusablon says.

You should also define the terms and conditions for paid holidays, as well as military, religious, jury duty, and family and medical leave.

3. Create a disciplinary policy and stick to it

Your policy should be documented in your employee handbook, so that every employee is fully aware of the rules. In addition to documenting the policy, be sure to explain disciplinary procedures when employees violate the policy.

After your employees have received the policy, ask them to sign an acknowledgment document indicating that they read and understood the policies. Should you end up in court, this can protect your company from charges of favoritism or discrimination.

If your time and attendance policy is being put into place to curb an existing problem, enforcing it may temporarily harm employee morale and even employee performance. However, in the long run, the majority of employees will appreciate having the boundaries laid out, knowing that the consequences will apply to everyone, and your bottom line should benefit.

4. Get your employees on board

Your employees will be less likely to feel singled out and resent your time and attendance policy if it’s consistent company-wide.

“Treating your employees fairly and consistently in all aspects of employment will help you build a trusting environment where employees feel respected and motivated,” says Dusablon.

Take the time to talk to your employees about the importance of an attendance policy. Many times employees are so caught up in their own personal issues they don’t see their tardiness and absenteeism from the business leader’s perspective. Explaining how their absence affects productivity and objectives can help them understand where you’re coming from.

5. Lead by example

If you’re late every day, leave early once or twice a week and play hooky regularly, you’re giving unspoken permission to your staff to do the same. Not acceptable? Then it’s time you consider creating a written time and attendance policy that all employees – including management – are expected to adhere to.

The takeaway

Tracking employee attendance is important to your business. A well-developed time and attendance policy can help you get back to the business of business, instead of constantly addressing issues of tardiness and absenteeism.

Managing your employees’ work hours doesn’t have to be such a hassle. With Insperity TimeStar™ time-tracking software, you can easily monitor employee attendance and adjust work schedules with just a few clicks.

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