Is it Time to Update Your Time & Attendance Policy?

Issues with employee time & attendance can show up in any number of ways. Employees might become inflexible about their scheduling, or reluctant to work specific shifts. You might notice a spike in unscheduled absences, especially among certain workgroups. Or, managers might suspect that time fraud is taking place.

When there are time & attendance issues, many HR professionals find themselves needing to take the lead in order to solve them. That includes reviewing your time & attendance policies.

Your Time & Attendance Policies

Time & attendance policies help workers know what your organization expects when it comes to things like scheduling, absences, and time on the clock. And, your time & attendance policies can provide specific guidelines and expectations to help ensure that managers are acting fairly and consistently when issues come up.

  • Having written time & attendance policies can make it easier for workers to refer to them if they have questions, rather than needing to check with managers.
  • When time & attendance policies are clearly communicated—and when managers follow through on policies—workers can see that your organization is committed to treating employees equally, regardless of department or title.
  • Time & attendance policies also provide your organization, and its leaders, with support in cases where an employee is disciplined because of persistent issues. In other words, when a manager can refer to a policy, an employee is less likely to feel singled out.

Have you reviewed your time & attendance policy lately? Or, have you recently discovered that your organization hasn’t clearly written out its time & attendance policy? Now might be the time to get to work on updating or creating new policies. Keep reading to uncover a few helpful tips to support your process.

Things like unscheduled absences and scheduling issues can impact organizations of all sizes, and might even lead to time fraud. Are these issues happening in your workplace? Take our interactive Time Theft Test, to explore the latest industry data, quiz your knowledge on time & attendance, and more.

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Building a Time & Attendance Framework

 Certain time & attendance policies might seem pretty baked in as part of the normal work day. For instance:

  • If your organization has defined hours of operation, you might require employees to be onsite when the workday starts. This is especially true in retail, hospitality, and medical environments, where customers have certain expectations based on the hours posted on your door or website.
  • In cases when certain employees work different shifts, or work remotely, you might expect them to be punched in, and at their job station when their shift starts.

However, the modern workday doesn’t always jibe with what the clock says:

  • In some environments, members of different departments keep different hours.
  • Some managers are laid back about when their workers show up, and are more focused on making sure they get their work done by the expected deadlines, without too much concern for working hours.

How can you align time & attendance policies with things like company culture, customer expectations, and workflow requirements? Here are a few key tips related to creating effective time & attendance policies:

  1. Start with a framework that will help you write your policy.

Before you launch into writing time & attendance policies, it can be helpful to generate a purpose statement that outlines why your organization needs time & attendance policies to begin with. Some questions to consider as you build your framework:

  • Has your employee population grown to the point where having unspoken workplace norms no longer suffice?
  • Are scheduling issues getting out of hand?
  • Have certain departments or workgroups gone rogue where time & attendance is concerned?
  • Has there been a case of time theft?

Use this exercise to define the challenges or issues that apply, and explain how your policies will help correct them.

  1. Gain support from stakeholders throughout the organization.

With your policy framework ready, connect with managers and senior leaders for their buy-in, and to discuss other details you may have overlooked before you commit to writing the time & attendance policy.

  • Doing so now can support you as you finalize the actual language.
  • During the buy-in phase, you can determine the best way to communicate policies to existing employees, including why the policies matter, and when they’ll be implemented.
  • You can finalize how the language will read in the employee handbook, and how hiring managers might include mention of the policies as part of recruiting messages.

At the same time, this is an opportunity to ensure that your time & attendance policies will be compliant with applicable wage & hour, discrimination and leave laws. Employees may be covered under laws that would allow time off from work and/or a specific schedule.  For example:

  • They may be a new parent, or dealing with a loved one’s major health issue, and therefore cannot work certain mornings. They may in fact be covered under an applicable leave law .
  • An employee may not be able to work certain days or hours due to religious practices and may be entitled to an accommodation in their schedule.
  1. Consider time & attendance software that supports your policies and workforce management needs.

There are times in almost everyone’s life where they need to be extra-protective of their schedules—or when they need their employers to be more flexible than usual.

A time & attendance solution such as stratustime helps workers and managers achieve greater scheduling flexibility.

This can be especially helpful in cases where scheduling concerns are driving changes to your time & attendance policies.

  • With stratustime, managers can set up schedule templates for employees to follow. These templates can align with time & attendance policies related to things like shift-swapping.
  • Meanwhile, employees can check schedules and PTO accruals, request time off, and swap shifts from their computers, tablets, or mobile phones. This can help minimize issues when someone can’t take a shift, but doesn’t want to run afoul of policies related to scheduling or absences.

When you’re updating your time & attendance policies, make sure your workforce management software is in sync with what your managers and workers need. Doing so can help you avoid scheduling issues, and create new cohesion when it comes to managing your workforce.


Spelling out your time & attendance policies can help you solve workforce management issues. At the same time, you want to rely on a time & attendance software that aligns with your policies, and gives workers more control over managing their schedules. Give us a call today, and find out how we can put stratustime to work for you.

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