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Poor Employee Attendance: What to Do


Client Call to SpruceHR:

Teri, A new employee started working with us last month and has already missed eight days of work! I don’t understand why he misses so many days. Some of his reasons are that he’s sick or his aunt passed away. He has provided a couple of doctor’s excuses. We offer great benefits including three weeks off starting day one. At this rate, he is burning through his paid time off too quickly.


We like him. He is smart. He has great ideas and works well with the team but we need him to be at work. We are going to have a tough conversation with him to let him know that if he misses any more days that we’ll have to let him go. What else do you think we should do?


Also, we want to work with you all to put an employee handbook in place. Do you think establishing an employee handbook would help with this issue?


SpruceHR response from Teri:

Sue, It is very generous of your company to provide three weeks of paid time off (PTO) starting on the first day of employment. Sounds like you want to ensure that your employees have a healthy work-life balance and providing paid time off is one good way you can do that. You appreciate the hard work and dedication of your employees and believe that they deserve a chance to recharge and enjoy their time outside of work.


I understand your concern and agree that a conversation needs to take place. However, it’s important to point out that he has not yet exceeded the PTO benefits provided to him. Additionally, he has provided notes from the doctor that should be considered excused absences whether he has paid time off available or not. Let’s discuss this in more detail and I am happy to have a conversation with him for you as a neutral party. In this conversation I can relay your concern that he is using his time so quickly that you fear he will be out of PTO very soon with many months of no available PTO. I’ll ask him if there is something going on in his life that is preventing him from coming to work. If there is, maybe an accommodation can help his attendance. I can also find out his perceptions and satisfaction level of his employment. The information gathered in this conversation will allow you and I to determine the best path forward.


On another note, we can certainly create an employee handbook for you. I think that having an employee handbook in place can help mitigate issues like this one, and other areas. For example, we could add an accrual PTO policy. Employees earn five hours of PTO each paycheck. At the end of the year, each employee accrues three full weeks of PTO. This allows you to provide three weeks of PTO on day one. However, if a non-exempt employee’s employment ends during the year and the employee has a negative PTO balance, it can be deducted from their final paycheck. It works a little different for salaried employees but this policy can show employees that they need to budget their time off.


We are happy to have you as our client and look forward to working together to solve problems and achieve your goals.

 

Meet Teri Ramsey, Strategic Human Resources Vice President at SpruceHR. With years of top-level HR experience and an SPHR certification, she's a true HR ninja. When not kicking HR butt, Teri loves hanging with loved ones and exploring new places.


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