Lateness Policy Advice

At its best, regular lateness is an irritation. At its worst, it can be the symptom of a serious problem. So, how do you stop if from scuppering your business’ performance and profits? You team up with us.

How to deal with lateness

Having the right policies and procedures in place will help to prevent lateness from getting the better of your business. Whether it’s one employee or the entire team, one-off or regular, because of demotivation or personal problems, our common-sense approach will help you to get to the root of the issue, overcome it, and prevent it from recurring.

We understand that, sometimes, not even watertight policies and procedures can iron out every issue though. So, if an employee continues to roll into work late, we’ll take you through a fair disciplinary process – from start to finish.

And if lateness stems from your business’ culture, we’ll help you to pull together effective communication strategies to re-engage demotivated employees.

To get a step closer to making lateness a thing of the past, simply fill in the form below.

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What should a lateness policy include?

An effective lateness policy plays a pivotal part in nipping lateness in the bud – which is why it’s so important that it’s clearly communicated, read and understood. Your lateness policy – which will sit within your Employee Handbook – should include information like:

  • Your statement reminding employees that they’re expected to turn up to work in sufficient time to begin work at their contracted start time;
  • Who employees should report to if they’re going to be late; and
  • What action will be taken if employees are frequently late – i.e. your disciplinary procedure.

Not an expert when it comes to handbooks and policies? Not a problem. Our industry-leading experts know them like the back of their hand. To see what we can do for you, get in touch with the team on 0345 844 1111 or

Timekeeping at work

To know if an employee’s late, both you and they need to have a clear understanding of what hours they’re expected to work. It’s therefore essential that employees’ working hours are clearly communicated to them from the get-go – usually, this will be included in their contract of employment.

If employees’ working hours regularly change – because they work day and night shifts or various shift patterns, for example – their working hours should be clearly set out within a rota.

The impact of lateness

Whether it’s an alarm that failed to go off, a missed bus or gridlocked traffic, lateness isn’t just a nuisance, it can soon start to affect both you, the employer, and the employee too.

Employer impact Employee impact
Disruption to work Inefficient start to the day
Customer/client dissatisfaction Colleague resentment
Reduction in productivity and profits Feelings of stress and/or guilt

Remember though, from time-to-time, lateness is legitimate and unavoidable. It’s all about gauging how much lateness is too much.

For example, it wouldn’t be appropriate to have a formal word with an employee if they’re 10 minutes late on one occasion. However, if they start rocking up to work 10 minutes late once a week, every week, it’d be reasonable to pull the employee to one side and begin a fair and consistent disciplinary process.

How to reduce lateness

There are a number of steps you can take to reduce lateness within your business, like:

  • Ensuring your lateness policy is read and understood by all employees;
  • Making sure managers are consistent with their approach and asking employees why they’re late;
  • Introducing a clocking-in or signing-in procedure;
  • Requiring employees to make up lost time or docking wages for time lost due to lateness; and
  • Taking formal (and fair!) disciplinary action when employees are persistently late.

How Atlas can help

As well as the knowledge and experience of our HR & Employment Law specialists, with us, you’ll also benefit from access to our complementary online platform, Atlas.

So, how does this help with managing lateness, we hear you wonder? Well, it allows you to easily log any lateness instances, along with the date, how late they were and the reason behind it.

Then, you can easily download and export reports to help identify any trends, patterns or problem points.

Need a hand?

If you’re ready to start getting the better of lateness, then we’re ready to hear from you. To get in touch with our experts, just drop us a line on or give us a call on 0345 844 1111.

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Free Resources

Browse our series of free guides and resources on common issues our clients face, prepared by our in-house Employment Law consultants.

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