We’ve all been there; that time when your alarm mysteriously didn’t go off; keys go missing or getting stuck in the morning traffic. It happens to the best of us and when it does, it makes for a stress-filled morning. However, working with someone who is persistently late is one of the most infuriating and unfortunately most common aspect of work life, so how, as an employer, can you deal with this?

  • Clearly Outline Expectations – if your employees know what to expect, then there is no argument to be had.

Ensure that your employee handbook outlines the required standards of timekeeping; any consequences of persistent lateness and who (and when) they should report lateness to if they know that they are going to be late.

  • Speak to the Employee – Nip the issue in the bud!

Have an honest conversation with your employee – there could be a genuine reason for the lateness or it could be poor time management. This will allow you to consider supporting your employees and consider flexible working arrangements if needed. By taking the time to check in, you give both the employee – and yourself – a chance to explain. While people may not always have a good excuse, they will appreciate you giving them the benefit of the doubt, rather than just a slap on the wrist.

  • Don’t be afraid to Discipline – However, if you have done all of the above or if there appears to be no reason for the persistent lateness; you should handle the issue in a firm and concise manner. You may need to consider disciplining your employee if it continues. Lateness itself is almost certainly not serious enough to be gross misconduct, although lying about the reason could be. Always follow a fair disciplinary procedure – if you are unsure, we are here to help.

Laura Townsend – Director Horizon HR Solutions Ltd


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