Dealing with staff who are persistently late


There can be potential time and cost implications for employers where staff are persistently late. These implications can arise as a result of employees missing deadlines and/or overtime having to be worked to meet the deadline. Therefore it is recommended that employers have a robust lateness policy and procedure in place to restrict any adverse implications on their business as a result of lateness.

Employers should set out in the lateness policy clear guidance on what employees should do in the event that they are running late for work. The policy should clearly state the required standards of timekeeping, how it is monitored, who to report lateness to and by when, and whether they need to make up for the missed time. The policy should also clearly state the consequences of persistent lateness issues and whether disciplinary action will be taken in those circumstances. Having a robust lateness policy in place can assist employers in ensuring that their employees observe good time keeping practices.

The lateness policy should incorporate an investigatory stage which requires employers to establish the underlying reasons for lateness with the employee to see whether there is any justification for it or whether they need to initiate the disciplinary procedure. By addressing an employee’s lateness with them at an early stage, it can indicate and highlight to the employer what the issues are surrounding the employees lateness and whether the employer can resolve these issues for the employee – for example, offering flexible working, change of shift pattern or maybe even requesting a medical opinion on the matter should the employee’s reasons require an employer too.  Whether or not reasons for lateness are justifiable are dependent on each individual employee’s circumstances and therefore it is important here for employers to contact Avensure for further guidance on this.

Where an employee is persistently late, and the reasons for their lateness are determined to be unjustified then the employer can initiate disciplinary proceedings and look to issue the employee with a formal warning. If the employee has less than 2 year service, the employer may look to do a short service dismissal with notice providing the employee’s terms and conditions of employment allow for this. Again, employers should obtain further advice from Avensure before taking any such steps to ensure that the process is not flawed.