How to Make an Absence Policy

There are times when employees cannot help but take some time off from work, but then there are those who tend to abuse this privilege. While some employees may inform their employers of their upcoming absence, there are still those who either forget or decide not to say anything. This can ruin the workflow of a company and it can also lead to a decrease in the productivity and performance of others. This is why there are company policies that directly deal with employee absences. This article is going to provide you with the help that you need to create your company’s own absence policy.

Employee Absence Tracking Template


Request for Leave of Absence Template


Staff Absence Template


How to create an absence policy

Every company is in need of an absence policy. This is because you want to make sure that your employees understand the importance of being reliable in the workplace. With the policy, you are also able to manage absenteeism within the workplace to ensure that employees understand that excessive absences will not be tolerated. So, to ensure that you are able to create an efficient absent policy for your company, follow these steps to help you out:

Explain the purpose of the policy

While it should be pretty obvious, you still have to explain the policy within the employee handbook or in any other document that you decide to to print it on. So, you have to outline your expectations about how you would like your employees to come to work. Explain that being punctual to work will help maintain the efficiency of the workplace and that being early will mean the employee will be more productive. By explaining the purpose of the policy, employees will better understand what it is for and you can also tell them that you expect them to arrive at an expected time as stated in their employment contract.

Explain the scope of the policy

When explaining your policy, share with your employees who will be affected by it. So, you can put in that the attendance policy will apply to all non-exempt employees regardless of their position or their type of employment. Although you can also state that exempt employees can be affected, it is ultimately your decision on just who will be exempted or not exempted from your company’s attendance policy. All you have to do is make sure that everyone understands and that there are no objections; otherwise, you will be hearing a lot of employee complaints regarding how unfair the policy is.

Explain absenteeism and tardiness

You need to clearly define these terms so that employees who are either late or absent will have no excuse if ever they have violated the policy. So, explain the following:

  • Absenteeism. This should refer to an employee’s frequent absence from his responsibilities as stated in his job description. So, this should include the employee not coming to work frequently or taking excessive sick leaves and not being able to provide substantial evidence such as doctors’ notes or medical certificates.
  • Presenteeism. Although this is not much of a problem, it still happens from time to time. This refers to an employee being present beyond his work schedule even when a company does not require him to work overtime. If an employee stays beyond office hours frequently, then that could cause more stress than intended and will have a direct negative impact on his performance and productivity. Point out that you want employees to meet expectations but, at the same time, you do not want them to overwork themselves as that will cause problems for them and the company.
  • Tardiness. Many employees are guilty of this one. Tardiness refers to an employee who continuously comes late to the office, takes longer breaks than he is entitled to, and constantly leaves work before the end of his shift without any reason whatsoever. You can be a bit lenient with this and state that you do not mind that the employee is a little bit late or leaves early on certain days, but you also have to remind them that they are generally meant to follow their schedule so that they do not cause any problems for others in the workplace.

Explain how unforeseen absences will be handled

State in your policy that in the event an employee cannot come in to work one day, he will have to report it immediately to either his direct supervisor, manager, or even Human Resources. Explain that unexcused or unreported absences for more than three days (or the number of days that you allow) will flag the employee as a person who has abandoned his job. If ever an employee has to leave work early, then he will have to explain it to his manager and provide a good reason.

If the reason for the leave or the absence is understandable, then the employee will not be reprimanded. However, your policy will have to state the reasons for tardiness or absences that are inexcusable. So, here are some examples of invalid reasons:

  • The employee waking up late and not coming on time for work
  • Stopping on the way to work for personal reasons
  • Bad weather (the only exceptions are severe storms, hurricanes, floods, or blizzards as these are weather conditions that will prevent any employee from getting to work)
  • Any holidays that have not been approved
  • Traffic situations unless it resulted in the closing of roads that lead to the company office

Explanation of rewards for good attendance

The policy should not just talk about how employees are absent; it should also state how employees will be rewarded should they incur less than three (or any number of your desire) absences within the working year. Your policy can state if they are rewarded with extra pay or even additional time off. Your policy can also state that employees have a good attendance record if they:

  • Consistently report to work on time
  • Always come to work at their scheduled shift time
  • Remain within the workplace during work hours (excluding lunch breaks or any of the employee’s scheduled breaks)
  • Take breaks that do not exceed their allotted break time
  • Leave work at the end of their shift on time
  • Are absent or late for good reasons only
  • Notify their managers or direct supervisors if ever they are late or absent on a particular day of the year

Explanation of the disciplinary action

If there is some suspicion that an employee is abusing his sick leaves, then he may be required by his direct supervisor or manager to provide a doctor’s note or a medical certificate. If the employee is tardy unintentionally, then he may be required to take part in corrective counseling as the first attempt at a solution. If the problem still persists, then the required disciplinary action will have to be taken depending on the severity of the situation

  • A verbal warning if the employee is late or absent a number of times
  • A written warning if the problem continues to persists or if it is discovered that the employee as been intentionally absent or tardy
  • A termination letter if the employee’s work has been severely affected because of continuously being late or absent

To help make the task of implementing an absence policy easier, you can make use of ready-made templates. You can also check out the other articles we have posted on this site that cover a wide array of business-related topics.

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