An employee attendance policy is a company document, often part of your handbook, that clearly defines general attendance and related matters at your company. These should also indicate how employees may be disciplined for violations of the policy.
If you are looking for an attendance policy example, download our free template and customize it based on your business’s needs.
Sections To Include in an Employee Attendance Policy
When creating an employee attendance policy, it’s important to define the terms at the beginning of each section. This will help ensure everyone agrees to it and that there’s no ambiguity about what these terms mean. Ambiguity leads to confusion, which can leave employees frustrated and unsure of when they violate a policy.
To make sure you have an effective, fair, and legally compliant attendance policy, here are the most important sections to include.
Creating a structured and clear attendance policy is part of employee management. By setting proper expectations for attendance, arriving on time, and the disciplinary measures for failing to meet those requirements, you can properly instill discipline and a healthy respect for your company in your employees.
Tips for Creating a Fair Attendance Policy
You know the big pieces of your employee attendance policy—but now you want to ensure it’s fair. The best way to approach this is to customize it to your specific business needs and culture.
For an easy time setting expectations and creating a fair setup, we recommend talking to your managers and supervisors to get them on board. By getting them on the same page, you can ensure fair enforcement of the attendance policy. This is key to making sure employees receive equal treatment and that your company avoids legal headaches.
Set Reasonable Expectations
When it comes to enforcing disciplinary actions, it’s important to be reasonable. If you decide to terminate employees after one unexcused absence, then that sends the wrong message. Being too strict can appear as micromanagement and trying to control an employee’s personal time. This could drive employees to seek jobs elsewhere.
Having more reasonable expectations shows your team that you understand that sometimes, life gets in the way and, when it does, they won’t suffer serious job-related consequences.
Compliance is often seen as a roadblock to company growth—but in reality, it’s showing you where the boundaries are to help your company grow while not triggering costly investigations from the Department of Labor or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). There are many areas of employment law you need to pay attention to when creating an attendance policy, including the difference between employee classifications.
Nonexempt, usually hourly employees, must receive overtime pay for any hours worked over 40 in a single workweek. You must pay them at least the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour and time and a half for overtime.
Some states have higher minimum wages and require daily overtime pay. Check your state’s department of labor or employment website to ensure you’re paying nonexempt employees correctly.
To qualify as exempt, employees must meet certain criteria, like having specific job duties and making a salary of at least $684 per week. You can find all the requirements in the Department of Labor (DOL) Fact Sheet #17A.
According to the DOL Fact Sheet #17G, any salaried employee who works any part of a workweek must be paid the full salary for the week, regardless of how many hours the employee worked. If you decide to deduct pay, you may convert the employee to a nonexempt employee and be subject to back overtime pay in perpetuity.
Ensuring compliance with the law can be difficult without structured procedures. When it comes to time tracking, make sure you have a proper process for tracking your employees hours in place.
You expect employees to show up on time. When they don’t, that creates problems for the business and other employees. Emergencies happen, and companies should be flexible—but within reason. Having a clear attendance policy will help you hold employees accountable for their actions while treating everyone fairly and avoiding costly employee lawsuits and government fines.