An attendance policy is a document that defines company rules of employee attendance, to reduce absences and encourage a productive work environment. 

An attendance policy should include:

  • Work schedule and attendance expectations
  • Attendance tracking method
  • Procedure for excused absences 
  • Procedure for unexcused absences
  • Tardiness and early departure
  • Explanation of disciplinary measures and when they apply

Why should HR leaders care about an attendance policy?

Attendance is a basic, essential component of employee success. Providing employees with attendance rules emphasizes the importance of punctuality and presence in the workplace. It also enables businesses to function smoothly and efficiently; employees are aware of the work schedule and managers know when to expect employees to be at work. Moreover, an attendance policy can support equal treatment of employees, as managers can hold them all to the same standards.

What can HR leaders do to implement an effective attendance policy?

HR leaders can:

  • Draft a user-friendly policy. The guidelines should specify attendance rules and procedures for employee absences so that managers and employees can be aware of their responsibilities.   
  • Request manager feedback. HR leaders can submit the policy for managers to review. Involving managers in the revision process can promote fair and realistic employee guidelines. For example, a workforce composed of many young parents may need flexible morning work hours so they can take their kids to school and still arrive to work at an acceptable time.  
  • Get managers on board. HR leaders can educate managers about attendance procedures to ensure consistency and equal treatment of employees. While some managers may find it challenging to maintain compliance among employees, it’s important to adhere to the policy to support equal treatment of employees and maintain order within the company. 
  • Explain the policy to employees. HR leaders and managers can discuss the attendance policy with new hires to clarify the expectations and make sure that the employees can follow the guidelines.  
  • Align the attendance policy with company culture. Employees are likely to accept an attendance policy that meshes with company practices and values. A reasonable policy that encourages employee autonomy while maintaining a steady work schedule can promote employee engagement and productivity.

How can an effective attendance policy improve company culture?

When the employer and employee comply with an attendance policy, it promotes order and equal employee treatment in the workplace. It also provides a framework for a balanced relationship between employer and employee, a key component of a healthy company culture.