NASE Blogs

Employee Tardiness

Oct 14, 2009
Q: I own a sub shop and have problems with employees not being ready to work at their shift start time.  In my employee handbook can I state that employees must arrive at least five minutes before their start time?

A: While you can require employees to arrive at least five minutes early, you would likely have to pay them, since that would be their required starting time. 

While states differ in their specific regulations, it's just good practice to pay an employee from the moment they start performing on behalf of the business.  As a general statement, what you may want in your employee manual is something similar to the following:

ABC Company depends on all employees to be at their designated work areas or stations at their scheduled start times fully prepared to begin their job duties.  Absenteeism and tardiness create serious problems for the company as well as for fellow employees.  ABC Company considers unexcused absences and tardiness serious infractions of each employee's responsibility to the company. 

If an employee is unable to show up for work at their designated start time they must notify management as early as possible.  Any employee with unexcused absences or tardiness will be subject to disciplinary action and employees with continued absenteeism or tardiness will be subject to dismissal.

The key is to be realistic and fair about what you require of your employees.  And be consistent with maintaining the rules that you set.