How to create an employee attendance policy from scratch
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How to create an employee attendance policy from scratch

You’ve just realized that your company needs an official employee attendance policy and you’re looking for some tips. Or you’ve known for awhile that a written employee attendance policy would make your business life so much easier, but you don’t know where to begin. Either way, you need some ideas for must have’s for any official employee absenteeism or attendance policy.

The basics: What every employee attendance policy needs to cover

  1. Employee work hours

  2. Define what a work day includes at your business. Is there a specific stop and start time for all employees? Or a series of defined shifts that always start and stop at a given time (7-3, 3-11, 11-7, for example) or a set number of hours in a workday? If so, start by putting those in writing. If hours vary, as is typical for retail or food service, describe how and where hours will be posted. Also define the sign in/out procedure.
  3. Define late or missed work time

  4. What will constitute late for work ? Is there a buffer zone before an employee is officially late? At what point in the workday is an employee absent rather than just late? What is the procedure for calling off? Should someone be notified if an employee will be late? Are employees responsible for finding a replacement for unscheduled time off?
  5. What employee leave benefits are offered?

  6. Write a clear description of what paid and unpaid leave is available for employees, including when and how they qualify for leave and how much leave they accrue each week, pay period, month or year. Be sure to explain the policy for requesting leave, including any deadlines for vacation leave requests and any blackout periods.
  7. Holidays and other company leave

  8. If your business offers paid holidays, floating holidays or will be closed for certain holidays with or without employee pay, be sure your employee attendance policy covers that. Also include any religious leave policy.
  9. FMLA leave

  10. If your business meets the requirements for an FMLA-covered employer, list the process and qualifications for FMLA leave, including military FMLA leave as a part of your employee attendance policy. It’s also a good idea to designate a single employee to answer all FMLA-related questions.
  11. Military leave

  12. Since almost all businesses are covered by USERRA , make sure military leave policies, including reemployment, are covered in your employ attendance guide. As with FMLA, it’s a good idea to have one designated go-to person for questions, as USERRA can get confusing.
  13. Leave of absence

  14. If your business offers any other employee leave-of-absence options, be sure to include those in your policy as well.
  15. State and local laws

  16. Some states and local governments mandate allowable or protected leave for things such as attending school events, donating blood or volunteering. Research your local and state laws and include them in your employee attendance policy.
  17. Discipline and consequences

  18. The last part of your guide should be the process that will be followed for violations of employee attendance policies. Write down the steps that will be taken for various infractions, to protect your business from charges of favoritism or discrimination down the line.
While there are other things you may wish to include in your attendance policy, these basics will have you on the right track for a complete, legal and simple employee attendance guide for you and your employees.

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