Addressing Persistent Employee Lateness

Every once in awhile there will be a genuine reason for an employee to be late for
work; this could be due to poor weather conditions, traffic problems, or even honestly
sleeping in. If these occurrences are rare most employers can be understanding and
accommodations can be made.
However, persistent lateness is another matter. It is rude, unacceptable, and totally
disruptive to businesses and other employees.
The question is, how to manage it before the situation gets out of hand?
An Attendance & Punctuality Policy
Having a well drafted Attendance and Punctuality Policy as part of the staff
handbook will be key to effectively managing persistent lateness. Such a policy should:

  • ¬†Emphasize the importance of being punctual and having good time keeping.
  • Specifiy what an employee should do if they are going to be late, e.g. phone
    their line manager explaining the situation and giving an expected arrival time.
  • Clarify that employees will be expected to make up the lost working time at a
    time suitable to the Company.
  • Explain that where time cannot be made up, the Company will be entitled to
    deduct pay for the time not worked.
  • State the persistent lateness and/or failure to comply with the Company
    procedure will be addressed through the disciplinary procedure.

Employers are advised to review their staff handbooks to ensure it includes an up-to-date attendance policy and that it is fairly and consistently applied.
Laura Murphy MCIPD, HR Manager, Bright Contracts