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How to Write a Time and Attendance Policy [Free Template]

July 17, 2020

Written by CJ Maurer

Time and Attendance Policy


A time and attendance policy is a document for employees written by the company that outlines an employee’s responsibility in relation to work time and attendance. It often includes clear and consistent company expectations for employees, definitions of terms, and guidelines that explain how circumstances such as tardiness, no shows, failure to clock in or clock out, and excessive absenteeism will be disciplined or otherwise handled by the company.

Learn more about how to track employee attendance records to avoid excessive absenteeism by visiting Complete Payroll’s page Time and Attendance: A Complete Guide. It is a comprehensive resource for everything employers, human resource managers and payroll specialists should know about time and attendance matters. 

When writing a time and attendance policy, human resource professionals often take into account the company culture and preferred way of working, such as overall values like the importance of punctuality, beliefs and habits, cultural factors such as family-first priorities, shared expectations, and what constitutes zero tolerance.

Guidelines should be presented as clearly and in as straightforward a manner as possible, leaving no question in the employee’s mind what the company expects from them. Typical attendance categories that are defined may or may not include: 

  • Absence from work.
  • Unscheduled absence from work.
  • Tardiness.
  • No show (sometimes called ghosting).
  • Sick days.
  • Good attendance.
  • Failure to clock in or clock out.
  • Disciplinary action for attendance infractions.
  • Excused paid and unpaid absences.
  • Policy exceptions and flexibility.

A time and attendance policy also defines different types of leave, like vacation, sick days and paid time off.

Whatever attendance category configurations you choose, their definitions should mean the same and be understandable to all employees. Additionally, managers should be able to differentiate between types of absences, the difference between absence and tardiness, and so on.

Time and Attendance Policy Template

A time and attendance policy always explains the disciplinary actions for each infraction based on attendance averages for your industry, which are provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and how employee attendance infractions impact your type of business. 

A time and attendance policy is created to help your business run smoothly day to day. Some organizations will seek employee feedback, sharing an early draft with key employees for input. Their initial reactions and opinions about flexibility, proposed disciplinary measures and the overall tenor of the wording offer valuable insight for management and should not be ignored. Incorporating employee feedback into your time and attendance policy also increases its chances of success. 

Managers and employees alike appreciate a time and attendance policy that’s fair, flexible, easy to understand, and reflects the values and culture of their employer.

Time and Attendance Policy Template

A Time and Attendance Policy is Just the First Step

Your policy is only as good as your enforcement of it. After you’ve written your time and attendance policy, the next step is employee communication. Set up a way for employees to easily request shift changes and communicate their schedule with you. That way they can stay within company policy while also getting the time off they need. 

TimeSimplicity, Complete Payroll’s advanced employee scheduling solution, is a cloud-based system that manages the difficult challenges of team scheduling with ease. With a comprehensive centralized data component, all your company’s timekeeping data is collected into a single online account, making it easy to access, edit, approve and export everything you need. Your payroll staff never will have to manually collect information from individual supervisors. Think it may be right for your company? Request a demo of TimeSimplicity today.
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