25 Apr 2014  •  Practice Management  •  4min read By  • Peninsula Business Services

Are You Suffering With Employee Lateness?

Fear not! Peninsula Business Services are on hand to offer some sound advice on the policies and procedures to look at taking when dealing with regular and repeat offenders of lateness.

For many employers, promptness and reliability are the two key attributes that are looked for when choosing their staff. Often, the odd two minutes here and there are easily forgiven, but actually these couple of minutes can gradually mount up to quite a significant amount of time.

So, how do I go about raising lateness with my staff?

You don’t have to be hasty. By following the right procedures and making sure you know your rights when approaching staff you should be able to resolve your issues in just a few simple steps.

Something small, but a key consideration before taking any action, is to make note of the amount of time your employee has worked for you. Once they have served for a required period of time, they’re protected by the unfair dismissal legislation.

Where to start…

First, it’s important to maintain consistency in your treatment of employees. Have a look at how you have dealt with similar occurrences in the past and aim to treat everyone the same unless there are extreme circumstances which warrant different treatment.  If this is the first time you are dealing with this issue, remember that how you deal with this one sets a precedent for the future.

Invite your employee for an informal chat, but remember that you’re still yet to start any kind of formal procedure so you need to treat the meeting as though it’s the first time they’ve been late, even if your employee is a repeat offender. Part of the chat should be to discuss whether there are any real reasons behind why your employee’s consistently late and whether there are any measures that could be taken to help ensure they’re not late again.

Once you’ve had the informal chat, give things a little time to improve, but if they don’t and your employee is still consistently late then it’s time to decide whether you’re going to take further action.

Should you decide that taking disciplinary action is the right road to go down, then there are a series of warnings that an employee should receive, which in each instance should increase in severity.

Procedures and sanctions may well vary depending on the circumstances, but here is an example of a standard disciplinary procedure:

  • Verbal warning ─ records of this conversation should be made and a performance note handed to the employee.
  • Written warning – if the lateness continues to persist following a verbal warning then a written warning is required
  • Final written warning – this should include a warning that explains if the lateness continues it may result in dismissal.
  • Dismissal – should your employee continue to be late regardless of their final warning, dismissal is required as the ultimate sanction.

How can I support my decision to take disciplinary action?

If you find that a member of your staff is a repeat offender of being late, begin keeping accurate records of their misconduct. This makes it easy for an employer to view their employee’s conduct without difficulty and also provides sound evidence should you have no option but to take disciplinary steps.

How long should employers keep the misconduct on file?

It’s recommended that warnings remain on employee files for a prescribed amount of time and should only be built upon if further instances of misconduct appear within this time.  There are no laws that dictate what period of time this should be, it is the employer’s responsibility to make it clear in the employee’s contract of employment how long that the warnings are carried for.

Should you have any doubts about your next steps in your situation, we always recommend that you seek the advice and support of legal and employment law specialists.

If you’re intrigued by this article and what to see more which focus on how to effectively manage your team and keep up to date with current employment law issues, why not head on over to our Resource Library?

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