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Justyna Wilner

Mitrefinch UK & Canada

Marketing Executive

Read more about Justyna Wilner

Blog: Three ways to deal with employee lateness


Employees’ lateness, when not measured and managed properly, can cause businesses thousands of pounds each year in lost productivity and profits.

In order to understand how lateness can affect organisation’s bottom line, let’s look at the example below:
  • Company X has 150 employees.
  • 10% of their workforce (15 employees) is persistently late to work by 10 min.
  • Their average hourly pay is £7.00 ph.
  • If we presume that there are 232 working days per year, multiply it by the number of late employees and their lateness time expressed in pounds the company could be losing £4043.76 per year!
Add to that the lost productivity, extra overtime costs occurred when covering workload and the order value of the contracts lost due to delays in delivery and you get a clear picture that lateness management procedures should be implemented by companies struggling in the era of cost reduction initiatives.
The Forum of Private Business proposes the below steps to avoid the issue:
1. Setting rules
Your staff needs to know what you expect from them, therefore a clear lateness policy should be introduced and well communicated to your workforce.
The policy should cover:
  • The required standards of timekeeping, i.e. working hours, shift patterns, any flexi-time or
    flexible working arrangements
  • Any consequences of persistent lateness
  • What disciplinary action will be taken under the disciplinary procedure
  • How your company will monitor time keeping, for example with a signing in sheet or clocking in machine
  • If and how your staff will have to make up any time they have missed
  • Who they should report lateness to if they know are going to be late and by when.
Many organisations stress that the simple fact of monitoring their employees’ lateness and absence patterns  increases the overall presence rate.
2. Creating a formal procedure
The Forum also suggests that persistent lateness can often be resolved informally and the employee may be given an opportunity to improve. This often proves to be a more effective way of resolving such an issue at an early stage. It can highlight any problems that could easily be resolved and negate the need for an investigation and disciplinary meeting.
If after the informal action lateness continues to occur, it may create grounds for a formal disciplinary procedure.
Even where there has been a full disciplinary process and the employee’s time keeping has not improved, the employer will usually have to give the employee notice (or pay in lieu) if they wish to dismiss them.
Employers can only dismiss employees without notice in cases of gross misconduct. Lateness itself is perceived as not serious enough to be gross misconduct, although lying about the reasons could be.
3. Being fair and flexible
Employers are being advised to be realistic and understanding about occasional unavoidable problems with getting to work. They should always listen to employee’s reason for lateness. It could actually indicate problems concerning management, working relationships and hours.
Where employees are finding it difficult to manage home and work responsibilities, introduction of flexible working arrangements should be considered. During various events, such as upcoming London Olympics travelling to work may be disrupted, therefore the companies should plan ahead as much as possible and be open to changing shift patterns or allowing temporary home-working, if appropriate.
Justyna Wilner is a marketing executive at time and attendance software provider, Mitrefinch UK & Canada.
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Justyna Wilner

Marketing Executive

Read more from Justyna Wilner

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