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Standards for Attendance in Business

Roll call

Attendance policies vary greatly from one company to the next. Some are strict, some are lenient and, within some companies, attendance policies are altogether non-existent. The need for a strict attendance policy depends on the nature of the business, on the position of the employee, and on the shift during business hours. There is no one size fits all attendance policy. That being said, it’s nice to know what types of policies are out there and how lenient or strict other companies are. The following are some of the policies I’ve heard of and 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, but 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 and 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 employee that is absent, the absence is considered 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 how it is dealt with. 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 be allowed to take any time off at all except in case of real emergencies.

Attendance Tracking

This summarizes the types of policies that might be found in employee handbooks. There are lots of sample policies online that an employer could use to draw up a custom policy. If one is to use a strict attendance policy, there should be in place a tracking system to verify time in and time out. Online time tracking is the simplest and most inexpensive way these days to keep accurate record to employee’s time on the clock and the best method for enforcing attendance policies.

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