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How much is lateness costing your business?

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Staff lateness is a problem that costs UK plc £66 million a year according to employment law consultants Peninsula BusinessWise.

And that doesn’t include the more serious problems related to long-term absenteeism.

Research from Peninsula reveals that the average amount of time by which someone is late is 10 minutes – and Monday is the day on which 65 per cent of people are late.

The research also found that 77 per cent of people had lied about the reason for their lateness with the top three excuses being:


  • Public transport

  • Heavy traffic

  • Faking illness.

More unusual excuses include:


  • The dog ate my car keys

  • I can’t drive because I’m still drunk from last night

  • I didn’t sleep last night because my wife locked me out.

Peninsula’s senior employment law specialist Mike Huss said: “It is worrying to note that bosses are not taking the issue of lateness seriously in the workplace. For it does not matter how capable the employee is, if they are not in the workplace they are no use to the employer, and thus have a negative impact on productivity.

“It is no surprise that so many people lie and make up excuses as to why they were late, as members off staff do not want to tell their boss than they had a lie in. However this is not to say that reasons for lateness are always fabricated, employers are sympathetic to genuine reasons even though they still cause problems.

“Bosses should have systems in place enabling them to monitor the punctuality of the employees, in order to highlight any patterns such as particular days or certain times of the month. This therefore allows the employer to take any relevant action towards any individual who shows an unacceptable lack of punctuality.”

But it’s important to consider other issues when it comes to determining what is an ‘unacceptable’ level of punctuality – for instance, is it worth taking action against a member of staff who is regularly ten minutes late in the morning but equally regularly stays 20 minutes late to finish a task?

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