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
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