Employers should include clear codes of practice regarding lateness in work in the employee handbook and this should be given to each employee on commencement of their employment.

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Timekeeping is very important, particularly when it comes to punctuality and reliability in work related activities.   

The employee’s working hours should be specified prior to the start of the employment relationship and he or she should ensure to be ready to start work (not just arrive) at the appointed time.

Employers should attach great importance to consistent punctuality as clients and other key stakeholders rely on the availability of the employees at particular times.

If an employee is going to be late for work he or she should contact their manager immediately giving the reason and their approximate time of arrival. Notification should be made personally. Notification by text message or email is not professional and should be discouraged.

Employers should not hesitate to take disciplinary action against those that are late to work – in fact, rather than ignore it or “let it go”, the best thing to do is to raise the topic with the employee to make them conscious that you are aware of the punctuality issues and to show your dissatisfaction with the behaviour – this will usually nip it in the bud before it becomes a habit that is difficult to shake.

One way to deal with lateness is to withhold payment for the period that the employee was not present and available to work. A disciplinary procedure can also be initiated, up to and including dismissal, if there is constant lateness or non-attendance as this is a serious offense that disturbs other colleagues, management and clients.

If the tardiness is recurring employers should reach out to the employee, particularly if this behaviour is out of character. There may be an issue that the employer should be made aware of. If the employee is experiencing personal problems he or she should be encouraged to utilise the services of the employee assistance program, should this be available in the company.

If there is a need to adjust the required hours of work of an employee due to changing market and business requirements as much notice as possible should be given to the employee.

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