Time & Attendance

I am having issues with 1 particular employee constantly coming in late for one reason or another, child care issues (10 yr old late for the bus, traffic, etc..).

This person is an invaluable employee and is good at assignments, and knows the job well... Once you get the person on task.

The time missed can happen randomly-any time of the day-late for work, late from lunch..sudden things that take them out of the office.  It does affect other employees morale who feel this person doesn't seem to have to follow the rule, but I do. 

Said person has had a history as there are prior notes substantiating late arrivals etc

I am new the organization (3 months in current role) & trying to get a handle on the situation.  I thought it would be a good idea to incentivize being on time by creating "earned time off". Essentially employees are able to earn a day off by being on time for work over a 4 month period..The year is divided into three periods, each four months; in order to be eligible an employee needs to have of perfect attendance in a given period.

I thought it was a great idea but the owners of the company feel "we are doing this for one employee and it may be sending out the wrong message to the other assistants."

My rebuttal was how can it be the wrong message when everyone has an equal opportunity to get the same benefit.

I have spoken one on one with other ass't involved and they seem to have no problem with the idea (as they are on time and always ready to work). However, I feel I may still get resistance from my upper management.

At this point I am looking for professional advice from other HR professionals.  Am I doing the right thing or is my logic flawed..is there another avenue of approach?

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  • I would first ask if flexible attendance is an option. Does it matter if someone comes and goes with some flexibility if they get their work done? In many environments, the answer is yes. If it attendance does matter, I would address the problem with the one employee -- When you are late, others have to cover for you, you miss the morning meeting, etc... Establish clear expectations in writing for work hours and attendance and sign the document after the conversation. Hopefully the expectations in writing will make the employee more aware of the impact of their attendance/punctuality and improve it.

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  • If flexibility is not an option you need to address this with progressive discipline.  If the employee knows that they are invaluable, they will not change.  Start some cross training with others on key items and they may just get the message.

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  • thanks. Ironically, Bonita, we had a conversation almost by script of what you typed- we did offer flexible attendance and it was declined w a promise of reform and the person was late again the very AM-LOL.

    If anything job performance is tantamount to the attendance issue (which is outstanding by the way). and if anything as an ops mngr I am learning flexibility and to learn to look at the big picture. I have been told "we literally can't afford to lose this employee".

    Down deep tho I hate when an employee feels that they can perform a job exceptionally well, and then "ad lib" the rest.  That said, perhaps it is not intentional.

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  • Why reward the inability to meet expectations of the job? If the business need is to be at their work station at the appointed time then they need to be held accountable to the standard.  Offerring a flex schedule for this individual due to their tardiness is wrong; offerring flexible schedules for the entire department/company is positive employee relations and is the best approach. Do not get the two confused.

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  • I have to agree with Bonita here.  If the job doesn't require this employee to be at the workspace at a prescribed for precise time (to answer customer calls, operate a machine, you name it) then the focus should be more on performance and work completion than actual time in the office. 

    Handling the other employees who are bothered by this can be tricky but as long as they are also afforded the flexibility to tend to personal needs in the same manner, perhaps a lesson in compassion is warranted.  It's easy for us all to pass judgment from the outside but none of us knows what it's like to live in someone else's shoes.  They too may find themselves in need of extra flexibility some day.

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