Overview: Employers should institute policies and practices to monitor employee attendance and keep track of employee work time.
An effective attendance policy should track employee absences as well as explain employee discipline procedures for excessive absenteeism or tardiness.
However, employers should be careful not to violate the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), or any other federal, state or local law that provides individuals with protection for related absences Employers should make sure that the attendance policy is adequately communicated to all employees and that they understand their obligations to the employer.
Employers should also implement strategies for dealing with habitually absent or habitually late employees.
Trends: Employers should avoid no-fault employee attendance policies which charge an absence against an employee regardless of the reason for the absence as such policies fail to recognize absences under the ADA, FMLA or related federal, state or local laws.
Further, employers should avoid language in any attendance policies that mandate termination of an employee if the employee does not return to work within a specific period of time.
The EEOC has shown that it is willing to pursue employers for no-fault and inflexible attendance and leave policies that violate the ADA and FMLA by penalizing employees for covered absences.
Author: Beth P. Zoller, JD, Legal Editor
Updated to reflect legal developments regarding the Seattle Hotel Employees Health and Safety Initiative.
Updated to reflect the forthcoming state Paid Medical Leave Act.
Updated to reflect the Illinois Service Member Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, effective January 1, 2019.
Updated to include information regarding the forthcoming effective date for the retaliation and notice-posting provisions of the paid family and medical leave law.
Updated to reflect legal developments regarding the forthcoming Austin paid sick leave law.
Updated to include the state paid sick leave law and to remove the preempted local paid sick leave laws, effective October 29, 2018.
Updated to reflect a forthcoming amendment to the state paid family leave law.
Updated to reflect amendments to the Military Code of Alaska, effective September 21, 2018.
Updated to reflect the forthcoming Duluth paid sick leave law.
HR guidance regarding creating and implementing effective policies to manage employee attendance.