Wood Words

Employees Calling in Sick

Too Many Employees Calling in Sick? Your Guide to Dealing with Attendance Problems

They run late.

They call off last-minute.

They always seem to suffer from a mysterious “illness” the day after a holiday.

And their chronic attendance problems are driving you nuts.

Frequent absences negatively impact your team’s productivity, efficiency and morale. Regardless of the size of your organization, responsible employees become annoyed when they have to repeatedly “pick up the slack” for unreliable, inconsiderate workers.

As an employer, it’s important for you to give your team time away from work when they really need it. But if employees are taking advantage of your good nature, it may be time to address time and attendance issues head-on. Here are a few practical tips from our Nashville staffing agency to get you started:

Create a written policy.

If it doesn’t already, update your employee handbook so that it includes clear time and attendance policy verbiage. At a minimum, your policy should include:

  • An overview of allowed vacation time, personal and/or sick time, paid/unpaid leave, etc., in accordance with laws like the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
  • Guidelines and timelines for requesting time off.
  • Consequences and protocols for addressing non-compliance. Explain in plain language how first-time and repeat policy violations will be handled.

Communicate clearly.

To be effective, your time and attendance policy must be clearly and frequently explained to your entire team. Be sure to review the policy with each new hire, and send periodic reminders to all employees in emails, meetings, your company newsletter and even check stub memos. By repeating your message, you eliminate the “I wasn’t aware of our policy” excuse.

Document issues.

Record each employee’s absences in an attendance write up to see if any noticeable trends become apparent. Create charts or graphs to help identify patterns of lateness and/or absence. If you notice that an employee regularly calls off on the same days of the week or in conjunction with holidays, determine how long the behavior has been occurring. This will provide the supporting evidence you need when you approach the employee.

Address problems directly.

The best time to talk about an employee attendance issues is when you first notice it. Schedule time for a private meeting with the offender and let him know what you plan to discuss. During the meeting:

  • Share the evidence of his chronic lateness/absence.
  • Explain the effects his poor reliability has on his team and the entire organization.
  • Find out if there is a reasonable explanation for the behavior. There might be! For example, an employee might be chronically late because he has to regularly transport a sick or disabled relative to a medical facility¬† for treatment. If his reason is one protected by FMLA or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), evaluate your options for accommodating his scheduling needs.
  • Move toward resolution. If his reason for time/attendance problems is not justified or protected, explain the consequences (refer to the policy in your employee handbook). Clearly explain how he must change his behavior and when you will meet again to review his progress and compliance.
  • Be sure he understands the consequences. Write up what you discussed in the meeting, and then require the employee to provide written acknowledgement.

Accentuate the positive.

If a chronically late employee starts consistently arriving on time, acknowledge it! Make sure you tell the individual how much you appreciate the effort, and explain the positive impact his improved attendance has on the entire organization.

Need reliable workers – without the employment hassles?

Trust our Lebanon staffing agency to deliver dependable, hard-working people who hit the ground running. As their employer of record, Wood Personnel is responsible for addressing time and attendance issues with temporary employees – which means fewer headaches for you!