WRITTEN EMPLOYEE ATTENDANCE POLICY « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


It would seem too obvious to have a policy that workers must show up in order to keep their jobs and to be paid.  Perhaps it is, but it’s still not a bad idea to issue clear written directives expecting attendance, specifying work days and working hours, and setting procedures for employees to notify the business when they are unable to keep the schedule.

The policy should provide examples of reasonable, legitimate circumstances for absences, including illness or family emergency.  Some companies also specify bonuses for wellness, i.e, consistent attendance and productivity.

Some basic elements are:

  • Employee work hours – Define a work day, including the times for start, meals, and ending work.  Define the schedules for each shift if the company has more than one. The policy should also inform workers of their rights to take paid breaks;
  • Define lateness – Be clear about what constitutes lateness (including any few “buffer zone” minutes) and the procedure for notifying a manager if one is going to be late;
  • Pregnancy Leave: A California business with five or more employees must provide unpaid leave benefits for pregnant women and new moms.  Written policy should describe the requirements and procedures compatible with the law;
  • Leave of absence – A company that chooses to provide unpaid leaves of absence should of course issue policy on the criteria and other rules;
  • Discipline and consequences – The policy should also specify the company’s ability to decide the consequences for attendance policy violations. The standard should not be set out in stone, i.e., a business should not specify some set discipline for an infraction since circumstances are almost always going to vary.  It is of course a given that an employer’s disciplinary actions cannot discriminate on the basis of gender, older age, and the host of other protected classifications.

For assistance in creating a workable, legally sound attendance policy, contact an employment law attorney.