If you are going to implement a policy you must consistently enforce that policy. Legally, it is worse if you enforce a policy occasionally rather than not at all. You must also clearly document all infractions of a policy. This is not more important, and more difficult to do, in any area than absenteeism.
Every time an employee is late for work or misses work that fact must be documented, either manually with a paper copy or on a software program, but it must be documented. The reason must be documented if you vary your policies based on the reason. If you do not differentiate between excused and unexcused absences then the reason cannot be documented. Be sure the dates are clearly marked because you will be asked to show this as documentation for your actions in unemployment and labor disputes.
If you are a very small company (less than 5 employees), and do not have software to track absences, you can simply use a yearly calendar and write the names on the dates for employees who are tardy or absent. Using this system does make it difficult to stay on top of the total number of tardys and absences an employee has had year to date for timely disciplinary actions. Using an individual tracking sheet for each employee, with all of the dates for the year on one sheet, is the most efficient way to track absences. Our tracking sheet includes no dates, you will fill them in, so it can be reused each year by simply putting in the new dates.
Be sure to have your tracking sheet match your policies. If you do not differentiate between excused and unexcused absences you do not want anything more than absent or tardy on the tracking sheet. If you do differentiate between excused an unexcused you will want a code on your tracking sheet that includes reasons for absence. i.e. E=excused U=unexcused I=Illness F=funeral Dr=Doctor Appointment If someone was absent due to a funeral that you preapproved the code would be EF. If someone is absent for a Doctor’s appointment but you did not approve it the code would be UDr Be very careful with excused and unexcused absences. You need to treat all reasons the same with all employees.