Home Business ManagementHuman Resources Employee Attendance – Problems and Policies

Employee Attendance – Problems and Policies

by Peggy Emch
Paper attendance chart

Attendance policies vary from one company to the next. Some are strict, some are lenient and, some are non-existent. But no matter which kind of attendance policy you have (or don’t have), employee attendance is important because you can’t run a business without people.

The need for a strict attendance policy depends on the nature of the business, the employee’s position, and on their shift. There is no one size fits all attendance policy and so businesses should take the time to familiarize themselves with the options. The following are some different types of policies as well as how some companies go about disciplining their employees for attendance problems.

Types of Attendance Problems

Absence with notification

When employees are absent, they must inform their employers of the absence. Employers have different requirements for an acceptable time frame for that notification, ranging from 30 minutes before a shift to the day before the shift is scheduled. Whatever the period is, it should be clearly defined and presented.


The point at which an employee is considered tardy varies by employer. Some employers or, more specifically, some departments, consider employees tardy if they are late even a minute. Although, most probably don’t consider employees to be late until five to ten minutes after their scheduled shift. Some employers are less strict about tardiness altogether. They feel more strongly that employees just show up and get their work done at whatever time is convenient for them. This kind of lenient policy, obviously, depends on the nature of the business or department.


When employers don’t hear from an absent employee, the absence is a no-call/no-show. This is the worst type of absence and employers may have stricter consequences regarding these types of absences, including termination. Many employers simply consider no-call/no-show voluntary resignation under most circumstances, save severe injury or something extreme like that.

Types of Attendance Policies

Point system

The point system attendance policy takes away points when employees are absent, tardy, or leave early. Once employees get to zero, they can be terminated. This is a common policy among employers. Most companies that use this policy allow employees to earn back points after some period with no attendance infractions.

Rolling attendance

Rolling attendance allows for an automatic clearing of points after a period of six months or a year for employees who are not habitually late or absent. For those that are, the benefit may not apply.

No fault attendance

In many policies, the reason for the absence is not a factor in dealing with it. So there is no difference between an absence for being extremely ill or taking off to go skiing.

Reward system

A good way to get employees to show up regularly is to offer a bonus for perfect or near-perfect attendance. The reward system encourages employees to have good attendance habits.

Probationary period

A stricter attendance policy might be enforced for an employee’s first 30 to 90 days. During this time, employees may not take any time off at all except in case of real emergencies.

Attendance Tracking

This summarizes the types of policies found in employee handbooks. There are lots of sample policies online that an employer could use to draw up a custom policy. Employers that use a strict attendance policy should also track time to verify time in and time out. Online time tracking is the simplest and most inexpensive way to keep accurate record of employee’s time on the clock. It’s also the best method for enforcing attendance policies.

Start tracking time with Timesheets.com

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D. Nicola February 25, 2021 - 7:31 pm

Question-If you are given 10 days of paid sick time per year, how can you acquire a point every time you use a sick day. After 10 points you are potentially fired. Does this make sense?

Lindsay Sommers March 3, 2021 - 1:33 pm

Hi, I seem to be a bit confused by your question. Can you please phrase it in a different way? Normally point systems don’t apply when your company has a standing sick time policy. If they allow you a certain amount of sick hours, you can use those hours when ill and it shouldn’t affect your employment status. However, if you need to use more sick time than you earn, you may need to speak to your employer about how you can use sick time that you didn’t earn. They may offer you the option to borrow someone else’s hours, or just may make your sick accrual balance to a negative amount. That is something you may have to earn back in the future. Still, you’ll want to speak with your employer about how that works.


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