8 Steps to Creating, Implementing and Enforcing an Effective Time and Attendance Policy

Poor attendance unnecessarily creates a negative work atmosphere. It puts pressure on other employees to make up for the late attendance of their team members. The attendance policy avoids such an eventuality.

The time and attendance policy is a collection of rules and laws for your workforce about the working hours of and timings to report to work. This type of policy is important to run the business successfully.

So, let us check out how to create a time and attendance policy, and what it should address.

  1. Hours of work

Your time and attendance policy should address your office hours. The official working hours is the duration of time in each working day of the week when you want your employees to come on time, be present at work, or be available to start work on time if the employee is working remotely.

This is significant if:

    • Your employees are involved in direct customer service
    • Your business remains open for all at particular times
    • Your company has certain work processes or business requirements, which need the employees to work together during a specific time

Also, if the office hours or timings are flexible, it is important to communicate it to your employees. Communicate if:

    • Employees have the permission to leave for the day, that is, if they have completed the specified assignment
    • Employees have permission to work from any location
    • Employees can set their personal schedules

If you need your employees to remain available via email, text or phone, outside of their working hours, then you must communicate it openly to them. It is especially important for employees who are required to stay available outside thor working hours.

  1. Tardiness

This section is about employees who report late to work despite the specified office hours, without any concrete reason for this behaviour. The policy should clarify:

    • Whether there is a grace period for reporting late to work. And, when is an employee considered late to work
    • The call-in process, i.e., what is the process to seek prior approval for a late remark in the case of an emergency or a pre-planned activity.
    • The disciplinary procedure
  1. Absenteeism

This section is about employees who regularly stay absent from work for no particular reason. Or, even while at the office, they take long breaks, which often exceeds the time limit. They are often not at their seat and sometimes leave the work premise during official hours without permission. They fail to log in and log out repeatedly during the office hours without good reason. You are usually unaware of their whereabouts or what work they do during their working hours.

Excessive absenteeism or unprofessional behaviour from an employee is among some very common problems for companies, one that makes the rest of the workforce unproductive. It kills the morale of the other employees and fosters negativity and resentment among the others who work diligently and sincerely. A strict code of conduct will help restore faith and confidence among the other team members.

Your absenteeism policy should include:

    • Definition of absenteeism
    • Duration and frequency of breaks
    • Proper procedure for logging in and logging out of work, or filling the log sheets correctly
    • The disciplinary procedure for unprofessional behaviour
  1. Paid leaves

You must explain to the employees about the number of paid leaves which they are entitled to get in one year. The paid leaves many include:

    • The number of days for sick leave
    • Number of days for vacation leave
    • Floating holidays
    • Holidays
    • Minimum annual paid leaves mandatory

A few companies club sick leaves with the vacation leaves to offer greater flexibility to their employees.

Also, explain about:

    • The rate of accrual for paid leaves
    • How much paid leaves get carried forward to the next year and how much should be redeemed compulsorily
    • The process of requesting for paid leaves, including the restrictions and deadlines, such as vacation leaves requests around the holidays
    • Additionally permitted leaves
    • Unpaid leaves
    • The required documentation procedure for request and grant of leaves

Remember that the overtime work done by the employees may increase the expected annual rate of accrual. So, communicate your rules about the overtime in the policy.

Moreover, check the laws of the states where you have your operations to ensure that it is compliant with the rules of law.

  1. Preferred method of communication

The document should include the policy about communication with the management. Your employees should know the proper method of communication to notify their reporting manager if they will be absent or late for work. You must precisely mention your preferred communication channel, whether it is email, phone and/or text message.

As discussed, in the previous subtopic, you should precisely mention the formal process to request for paid and/or vacation leaves. You must also mention the manner in which the employees have to request for leaves. Every request should be properly documented including the genuine reason for taking the leaves. Explain the process of leaving documentation, i.e., whether you want the request to be sent via email, or a verbal meeting.

  1. Disciplinary procedure

This section should clearly and precisely explain the disciplinary steps that the company would take when the employee violates the time and attendance policy. The main objective of highlighting this section is that your employees should never be shocked or surprised by the punitive action taken against them by the company.

A typical disciplinary process should include the following warnings in this exact order:

    • Verbal warning
    • Documented or Written warning
    • Last or Final warning
    • Finally, termination

You may opt to list the number of times the offence is committed before advancing to the next level. You may also opt not to do so. Sometimes, employees become too savvy to work around the rules and make a mockery of your disciplinary process.

Therefore, create the rules and the necessary disciplinary actions but do keep an element of surprise for the employees by catching them off guard.

Before you initiate the disciplinary action try to find out the reason for such behaviour. For instance, if the employee is coming late to work on more than 3 instances, speak with them and try to find their reason for such behaviour. This will help you identify the cause, and if it is in your purview and is genuine, you could try to introduce a solution rather than give the employee a warning.

You can take it on an individual case basis. Maintain clear and open dialogues with your employee, to let her or him know about their unprofessional behaviour. This is when you should attempt to find the reasons before deciding whether the problems can be solved or the employee should be put under disciplinary action.

It is also critical to document every disciplinary action.

  1. Policy documentation

A company’s time and attendance policy is a very important policy, which should be documented properly.

You should provide this policy to each of your employees in a written document — either electronically or through print. Plus, this policy should be covered in the employee handbook.

When you hand this policy to your employees, instruct them to read it, sign on it and return with the acknowledgement that they have read it thoroughly and understand it. The best time to undertake this activity is when onboarding new hires.

Demonstrating the time and attendance policy and its acceptance by your employees, by way of signing it, can and will protect you in case of a legal battle.

  1. Policy enforcement

A policy holds importance only if it is properly implemented within the organization. Therefore, set the right expectations from the beginning itself. Clearly communicate that all policies, including this one, apply to every employee regardless of their hierarchy. This will send a clear message that every employee despite their seniority is covered under the policy. It builds seriousness about the time and attendance policy.

    • Importance of creating time and attendance policy
    • Makes your employees punctual and regular at work
    • Increases employee productivity
    • Reduces absenteeism
    • Helps the management to take better labour-related decisions
    • Increases employee reputation and dependability
    • Major issues about attendance can be identified and solved
    • Helps employees get to a better position in their career
    • Increases the morale of the employees
    • Helps incentivize the rewards
    • Helps to make better decisions on improving employee attendance
    • Ensures full and better pay to employees

Poor attendance unnecessarily creates a negative work atmosphere. It puts pressure on other employees to make up for the late attendance of their team members. The attendance policy avoids such an eventuality.

This way, you can effectively create, and implement the time and attendance policy. Every company should possess an elaborate time and attendance policy to create a positive atmosphere at work and to enhance the overall productivity of the organization.

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