In the past few years, there’s been a trend of companies throwing out some key policies, including things like dress code and attendance policies. Some of it stems from decision makers feeling like the policies are outdated and no longer necessary, but are they really thinking through why the policies exist?
For companies who’ve tossed out such policies, their new thinking is that people know they’re supposed to be at work or people should know how to dress appropriately. It sounds great in theory, but it’s much more complicated in practice.
Not having a policy leaves attendance open to interpretation, and that’s a dangerous thing. As soon as a disconnect occurs and someone gets in trouble for their actions, it becomes pretty obvious that there is actually a policy in play, even if it’s not written down for everyone to see.
Here are a few key things to consider for attendance policies.
Exempt versus non-exempt employees
Your exempt employees are paid a set salary, and as long as they work at least some time during that pay period, they’re going to get paid for the full amount. For non-exempt employees who are paid hourly, they have to complete timesheets to adhere to the wage and hour laws set forth by the Department of Labor. If your company is ever audited, those timesheets are critical to have.
Many employers have some sort of time tracking or reporting in place for exempt employees or at least track project status so they know things are moving along. If exempt employees are the majority of your workforce and your internal metrics show that projects are progressing as expected, you may not need a very strict attendance policy. But if you have a lot of non-exempt employees, you may need more structure around attendance expectations.
Impact on culture
If people on your team regularly show up late or leave early, whether exempt or non-exempt, it can start to erode your company culture. It’s even worse if you have an attendance policy in place but aren’t enforcing it. The team members who are working a full day and getting their job done can start to resent those employees who don’t put in the same effort. Before you know it, you might be losing good employees who are frustrated by the company culture you’ve created.
Creating the right policy
Ultimately, an attendance policy isn’t about clocking in and clocking out. It’s about respecting each other’s time, setting shared expectations, and clearly outlining the communication channels tied to attendance. What are the shared expectations for working hours at the company? What’s the call-in policy if an employee is going to be late or absent?
As we’ve discussed regarding many other policies, consistency is key. You need a policy that clearly outlines the expectations and then need to hold all employees accountable to that policy, regardless of what position they hold in your company.
Need help creating an attendance policy that works for your business? Contact Why HR today to discuss your needs.