The excuses employees give when they’re late or don’t show up for work can be a little hard to believe sometimes. Hearing them again and again can be tiresome too. Nevertheless, you should treat each case individually and with care because sometimes absences happen for good reason. Create an attendance policy that deals with tardies, excessive absences, and the dreaded no call no show.
Start With an Attendance Policy
Every company should have a policy for absences, especially if there is an abuser within the company. Your attendance policy should address guidelines for requesting time off and how to handle last minute absences. Whether employees should get a warning for a no call no show or be fired on the spot is up to the company but employees should know what to expect.
Your policy should cover some of the following attendance issues:
Paid time off
Employees should have an easy way to request and document time off. Writing little notes and sticking them to the manager’s computer screen a week before vacation probably isn’t a great practice. A better method is to use an online system where employees can request time off online. This is the most convenient and accountable method and the one that helps prevent many issues with time off. For more information on creating a time off policy, check here.
Sick time use and abuse
When people get sick, there’s usually a little warning. We feel feverish the night before or wake up early feeling unsettled before heading back to bed. At the onset of sickness employees should inform employers, rather than wait until the start of their shift. This should be documented in the policy.
If you suspect employees are using sick time when they’re not sick, you should have a talk with the employee and start asking for doctor’s notes. If the behavior continues and the employee cannot produce doctor’s notes, it is grounds for discipline. These are the types of rules that need to be outlined in the attendance policy. Even if your staff is all exempt, you should still have a sick time policy.
What to do about a no call no show
It may be tempting to get angry when employees don’t show up for work, but a manager should always try to be sensitive in case of the occasional calamity. The manager should always call employees that don’t show up for work. Just leave a message to the effect of, “Hi, you didn’t make it in for your shift today. Is everything ok? Please call me back and let me know.”
With a policy, you can set the expectations and consequences. Your no call no show policy might look like this:
- The employer will call the employee and leave a message.
- If the employee responds with a documented, legitimate excuse such as a death or severe injury, there are no consequences and the employee may use time off allotment.
- If the employee has no documented, legitimate excuse, the employee is put on probation and the day is unpaid.
- After the second offense, the employee is terminated.
Taking sick leave when well, no call no shows, and exhausting all available leave every month are all examples of bad leave-time behaviors. Depending on what you have outlined in your policy, you should issue warnings, reduce benefits, terminate, etc. But make sure you actually do what your policy outlines. If you are lax about the rules, there will inevitably be an employee that abuses privileges.
Do Employers Need to Pay When Employees Don’t Show Up for Work?
Some instances of absenteeism must be paid by the employer. It depends on the type of absence and the classification of the employee. You can detail this in the attendance policy.
Hourly employees that don’t show up for work can either take their accrued sick time, their vacation time, or an unpaid day off. While employers don’t have to pay hourly employees for time they are not actually at work (except for sick time in some cities and states), it is customary to offer some kind of paid leave.
Rules for docking exempt employees’ pay can be complicated, like in natural disasters. For a personal day or a no call no show, employers can deduct the time from the employee’s leave balance. This is why having a time off policy is a good idea.
If an employee has jury duty and the papers to prove it, employers in some states must pay the employee. Many states only require that employees not be discharged because of jury duty. Despite the laws, the majority of employers do offer jury duty pay.