How to Handle an Employee's Attendance Problems

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One of the most difficult issues an employer has to deal with is how to handle an employee's attendance problem. Almost everyone is late at one time or another, but it becomes a problem when tardiness interferes with the normal flow of business. There are many reasons for truancy in the workplace -- illness, oversleeping, traffic delays or problems with working conditions on the job. In order to resolve this issue, you will need patience, compassion and a firm attitude. Address the attendance problem with the employee as soon as possible.

Meet with the employee privately, and give him the opportunity to discuss his reasons for the attendance problem. If the reason is medically based, you may need to be flexible in accommodating the employee.

Document any discussion with the employee regarding the attendance issue. Make a note of the times and dates of verbal warnings. Remind the employee of the company attendance policy.

Discuss a practical solution in resolving the attendance problem. You may give the employee a time frame in which to resolve the attendance issues. Be flexible and fair, giving the employee a chance to get his schedule in order.

Hold the employee to the agreement. Explain to the employee that you are willing to resolve the attendance issue, but the company could take action if he does not comply with the agreement.


  • Any agreement to address the problems should indicate what steps the employee will take to start work on time. It also should indicate what the results will be if the issue is not resolved by a certain date. Post this in the employee's personnel file.