Smart Attendance Policies for the Hourly Workforce

9 minutes read

Developing a shrewd company attendance policy is particularly important when you manage an hourly workforce. Chronic absenteeism is a basic but very real problem for most employers—one that hurts productivity and the bottom line. In fact, companies who employ service workers lose $8.5 billion per year due to absenteeism, according to the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index.    

While common workplace attendance policies address tardiness and absenteeism—the most glaring attendance issues—truly smart company attendance policies do more. For example, they ensure managers take steps to enforce attendance policies in the workplace.

In addition, they also include specific procedures organized around use of the company’s biometric time clocks or time-tracking methods of choice. Beyond productivity, sloppy time and attendance records translate to wage and hour violations and lawsuits—another hazard for employers with an hourly workforce. Case in point: in 2016, the top 10 wage and hour class-action lawsuits cost employers $695.5 million.

In short, smart employers don’t take chances.     

If you’re interested in tightening up your company attendance policies, consider these suggestions, designed to meet the unique time and attendance challenges that come with managing an hourly workforce.

Create a Highly-detailed Company Attendance Policy—and Communicate It Clearly

Your company attendance policy should detail your expectations about tardiness, leaving early, taking breaks, and absenteeism—plus the consequences of failing to meet any and all of them, including a carefully-plotted progressive disciplinary response.   

Be sure to communicate your company attendance policy to employees orally and in writing throughout the year. Make it part of your onboarding process. Include it in your employee handbook, job descriptions and performance reviews.

Beyond common workplace attendance policies, you can also:

  • Specify how employees should advise managers when they need to deviate from their assigned work schedule.
  • Create an explicit overtime policy, prohibiting employees from working overtime unless they have prior manager approval.
  • Require employees to sign an attendance policy agreement.

Train Managers on Your Company Attendance Policies—and Provide Tools for Enforcement

To avoid charges of favoritism or discrimination, it’s key that your managers be 100% consistent when enforcing your attendance policies in the workplace.  

Don’t assume that managers know your attendance policies or how to enforce them. Provide training and a playbook outlining the appropriate progressive discipline responses.

In addition, you can also:

  • Direct managers to review time and attendance reports regularly (assuming your time-tracking system produces analytics).
  • Direct managers to activate useful real-time alerts (assuming your time-tracking system offers alert capabilities).
  • Train managers on when and how to make time card changes compliantly. Require that managers close open punches within a certain time frame; specify what changes they can and cannot make. (If your time-tracking system allows you to run reports detailing managers’ time card changes, running these reports regularly will ensure they’re doing things right.)

Ensure Your Company Attendance Policies Include Time Clock Procedures

When employees don’t clock in and out properly, it creates compliance problems and opportunities for time theft. In addition to common workplace attendance policies, consider these specific time clock procedures:

For Employees Who Punch Conventional or Biometric Time Clocks

  • Assign a designated time clock to each employee, ensuring employees are where they should be before punching the clock.
  • Make sure employees clock in before engaging in compensable activities like donning and doffing—otherwise, it’s a wage and hour violation.
  • Establish meal break procedures, including that mandated meal breaks are taken in full.
  • Require that employees sign off on their time sheets every pay period.
  • Treat missed punches as a serious occurrence. Without consequences, some employees may use missed punches to cover late arrivals and early departures.

For Employees Who Use a Mobile Time-tracking App 

  • Formally train employees to use the time-tracking app properly, regardless how self-explanatory it seems.
  • If your employees download your time-tracking app on their personal smartphones, obtain their signed consent.
  • Direct managers to review mobile time-tracking reports on a regular basis, ensuring employees are clocking in/out from approved GPS coordinates.
  • If your mobile time-tracking app offers geo-fencing and geo-tracking capabilities, direct your managers to use them.

Does Your Time-Tracking System Support a Rigorous Company Attendance Policy?

You can have the smartest attendance policies in the workplace, but they’re only as strong as your time and attendance system. It may seem counterintuitive, but very few time-tracking systems are specifically designed around the requirements of hourly employees.  

If your current time-tracking system doesn’t provide the capabilities or analytics you need to enforce rigorous attendance policies, don’t compromise your policies…get a smarter time and attendance solution, like EPAY’s.    

EPAY’s time and attendance system  is the leading choice of medium and large employers managing an hourly workforce. We offer a range of time collection methods and devices—including biometric time clocks and our advanced mobile time-tracking app—advanced analytics, real-time manager alerts and more. See what you may be missing: watch our quick video!

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