Why Attendance Policies Are So Important

I have a problem with employees calling in to say they are not coming into work once they’ve reached 40 hours. We have a lot of overtime available, so it’s easy to have worked 40 hours by Thursday. People then call to say they are not coming in on Friday and don’t want to use their paid time off to cover the time, since they’re already getting paid for 40 hours (plus more, because of California overtime laws). It’s really causing problems with scheduling. What can I do?​

To read my answer, click here: Why Attendance Policies Are So Important

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7 thoughts on “Why Attendance Policies Are So Important

  1. Ooooo, I disagree on requiring a doctor’s note after 3 days. I’m an adult, I know when I’m to sick to go to work. Sometimes colds or rumbly tummies just take awhile to settle down. I really don’t want to drag myself to the doctor, pay for a visit only to be told it’s a virus and you’ll be done with it in 7-10 days and oh by the way, it’s ripping around the county and is very contagious.

    Now, if you have something that’s going to impact your ability to do your job a doctor’s note is a good thing for both sides.

    Also, if your company can’t get through the week without requiring employees to work overtime maybe you need to hire more people? Temps? Floaters? On call?

    Full disclosure: I can work from home if I’m just feeling peaky but if I’m too sick to go into the office I’m usually too sick to work at all.

    As always, thanks for a good read!

    1. With you on the doc’s note. At my old job, I had the high-deductible insurance. I would have had to pay to get a note. And I don’t know how much it would have cost, as getting pricing info from a hospital or doc is pretty much impossible. What does an office visit cost? I have asked this question many times and all I get back is an “it depends.” $10? $100? $200? I would go to work sick before I would go to the doc and wait for a surprise bill.

  2. Me too on the doctor’s note. A flu (which I get sometimes even with immunization) often lays me out for a week. When I’m feverish I make stupid decisions, so it’s not in my employer’s interest for me to be at my desk or even working from home if I’m sick, never mind how many days it’s been. There’s no reason to delay my recovery at the three day mark to have me scrape myself out of bed and drive to the doctor’s, expose everyone in the waiting room, expose the staff, and pay the (American) costs for an emergency visit when there’s no emergency, only to justify doing what I knew I should do anyway: stay home until I’m fit to work again. Employers’ lack of trust on this matter is harming not just employees but doctors, their staffs, and their real patients as well.

  3. It sounds like there are two potential problems here:

    1) Lack of staff. If your staff are working more than their scheduled hours, you need more people to get the work done. Otherwise you’re asking your staff to burn out, which they’re obviously not going to do. If it’s an occasional thing maybe some temporary help from another department could come in. If it’s every week, you may need to hire someone part-time or full-time. It’ll cost more, but likely less than the cost of losing clients due to work not being completed.

    2) Lack of taking ownership. It sounds like your staff are working the clock, not the job. Are they given enough autonomy? Are they given enough support? Are they seeing projects through to the end, or just seeing individual components? If they aren’t given authority they’ll treat the job as just something to do to fill their time card, and you’ll get less work out of them.

    If I’m already burned out and feel like a very small cog in a machine rather than someone making a difference, being required to get a doctor’s note for illness–ESPECIALLY during a pandemic!–will not go over well. It sends the signal that not only do you not value your employees, you also don’t trust them.

  4. I am going to come at this article from another view not taken by the previous two commenters. It sounds like the questionnaire is asking for guidance in how to deal with someone who is not sick, who “claims” they worked their required 40 hours somehow by Thursday, and constantly wants the last dayod the scheduled workweek off. Yes, I know that a salaried employee doesn’t really clock in ( punch a time clock, but they are scheduled to be available for any work assignments for the hours of the business. (I gather this business is a Monday to Friday business, and not a retail setting) Even so, work is carried on every minute of the time the business is operational. With those points in mind, it seems all employees have to work their schedule hours, regardless of the claim they finished their work, which does include Friday.
    In answer to this person, who is not sick, but wants to only work Monday-Thursday, the employer has to have a sitdaown discussion on their changed availability which may actually effect their paycheck, if the company isn’t able to accomodate the person working their 40 hours in a 4 day-10 hour shift because of the type of business. This is something that should have been discussed upfront at hire. (the need to not work Friday-Sunday) and only available to work Monday-Thursday).
    I think this employer just needs to directly deal with this person and find a solution that works best for both. I feel the employee has been taking advantage of the employer and probably the other employees who do work every Friday, by not being more transparent on what exactly is their availability to the business needs. The employer hasto make the decision as to whether they can do without this person on Fridays permanently, however efficient they are in their job.`No business should consider Friday or any day they are open, a day to short-staff the number of employees because one employee thinks that they are “entitled” to be off. I believe that days off requests are usually granted with no problems and work schedules are made based on business needs and known staff availability. This incident that the article is referring to has nothing to do with what I call emergency time off requests which occur in any place of work. This constant request to take the same day off, last minute, is not good for team morale if only this person gets to take advantage.

    1. I do think it’s worth the manager taking a HARD look at their scheduling, though. If you’re in an office setting and requiring people to work 50 hours a week, you are likely short-staffed. There are some jobs that require such hours (I work one), but such jobs make the requirement pretty obvious. And obviously there are times when 50 hours a week or more is expected–say, CPAs during tax season. But in general, if you’ve got so much work that employees (multiple according to the letter) are working such hours routinely, you’ve got enough work for another staff member or two.

  5. Add to the fact that now in NYC, if you require a doctor’s note after 3 days absence under the paid sick leave, the company is responsible to reimburse the cost.

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