Employee lateness policy

09 July 2019

Defining a clear employee lateness policy is essential for business to monitor and maintain the productivity of their workforce. Most problems with employee punctuality arise when an employer has no clear policy on the issue. Absence management should form a key section of the employment contract so that the employee is aware of their responsibilities when they first join the company. If an employer notices one or more members staff consistently arriving late, it is their responsibility to remind these people that they are in breach of company policy.

What should an employee lateness policy include?

In addition to information on contracted working hours, an employee lateness policy should also include:  

  • Consequences and disciplinary action of persistent lateness
  • Details of who they should report lateness to in advance
  • How timekeeping will be monitored. For example – sign-in sheets or a clocking in system
  • Legal rights on flexible working hours – available for parents of young children and certain adult carers
  • Whether or not they are required to make up lost time


The law behind an employee lateness policy

The Employment Rights Act 1996 documents an employer’s ability to dismiss a member of staff for poor conduct and failure to meet the requirements of their contract.


  • All employers should define a clear lateness policy for their employers to monitor and maintain levels of productivity.
  • Absence management should form a key section of the employment contract so the employee is aware of their responsibility to be punctual from the moment they join the company.
  • For more information on the law behind punctuality and lateness, see The Employment Rights Act 1996.

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