How to Handle Employees Late For Work

Uncategorized Apr 04, 2019

Scenario: Employee comes late for work, missing the first few minutes of their shift

Solution: Make a note of the exact time the employee began working, check their schedule to verify their start time. In some cases, you may want to record information for more than one day to show the pattern of behavior.

  • If the employee is usually on time and this is their first day late... have a brief, informal conversation to find out how their day went and why they arrived late. For example:

"Hey Mary, I noticed that you were a few minutes late today, is everything ok?"

If the tardiness is a recurring behavior... pull the employee aside privately to discuss their pattern of behavior. For example:Listen, and then depending on their response take a moment to remind them about the attendance policy and why it is necessary to come to work on time.

John, you have been 10-15 minutes late 3 times this week. Here is a copy of our attendance policy, you can see that the expectation is for you to arrive with enough time to clock in by 9:00 o'clock when your shift starts. What is causing you to be late each day?"


Allowing them to explain the situation may provide information to correct the problem, although it is common for employees to simply come up with excuses, such as ‘I had to shave’, or ‘I had to take my brother to soccer practice’. Be firm, and tell them that excuses are not permissible and they are required to manage their time and be on time to work for every shift.  Let them know that if the problem happens again they will be written up according to the counseling policy.

Note: In order for an employee to understand the expectations for their work schedule, it is important that the manager takes a proactive approach in providing the schedule with plenty of advanced notice. Setup a system within your company so that they employees know when the new schedules are available, and be sure that they have sufficient time to plan accordingly. For example, you may choose to post the new schedule a week in advance so that everyone will see it regardless of the days they are working each week. It is important to communicate with them in order to let them know that it is their responsibility to check he schedule when it is posted and show up for each shift as scheduled. Also, if a shift change occurs, then the manager needs to have a specific process in place to notify the employees of the change in schedule.

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