Dealing with late coming and absence from work without prior information is not easy. You have to figure out, how to catch them and prove it, how to deal with them and their peculiar situation? How much of their habits do you overlook? Do you punish or impose a fine on them each time or give occasional exceptions?
All these questions are hard and involve making important decision that do not only involve you and another person but can also have consequences on the productivity of your company. This is even important in a large workforce where workers can cover up for one another’s late coming or absence without the knowledge of their supervisors.
Everyone probably has a co-worker or subordinate who is always late to work. No matter what he is told, their behavior simply do not change. Some employers have taken to using video surveillance in the workplace to give sufficient proof to fire these consistently late employees. But is that actually right?
Should All Companies Worry About Latecomers?
Maybe it depends on the job. Some time-sensitive companies, such as food-service or delivery companies, need their employees to be punctual, or customers pay the price. I think it is fair for companies to use their cameras to prove this if necessary, as long as they warn the employee beforehand, and attempt to fix the behavior. Blindsiding the employee with video evidence and then not giving the employee a chance to change their habits is unfair.
However, with other companies, say, an engineering firm, where the time the employee arrives is relatively unimportant, I think it is silly to enforce this policy. After all, as long as the work gets done on time, and with precision, who really cares if the employee shows up at 4pm and stays past midnight?
Some may want to argue against this that it isn’t good for corporate reputation and culture. Again, it depends on the company. One of my friends working in Samsung once told me that at his branch office, it’s not important what time you arrive, what’s important is that you log in the correct number of work hours. So if your 8hrs work fits you well in the afternoon this week and next week, it’s morning, then so be it. You have great flexibility.
Again, it seems it’s up to the company, as long as they are up front about the issue and everyone knows the policy on showing up late, it is fair for employers to protect their interests with their cameras. Most employers hate to get rid of skilled employees, as it is difficult and costly to fire and recruit.
How Do You Deal With Latecomers?
These points listed below are not a hard and fast rule, rather they are ideas and steps that other companies have taken to stall the epidemic before the eats up the company.
Half Day Deduction and Full Day Deduction From Salary: When I was working with a bank, those who came late twice/thrice a week were charged a half-day pay. However, five non-consecutive lateness in a month results in extra one day pay deduction. Additionally, absence without prior notice (and sensible reasons) carries a memo and a full day pay deduction.
Axing the Habitual latecomer as Scapegoat: Some argue that imposing fine is not great for HR because employee may just take it for granted that “well, money will cover up all offenses.” Some think floating a good attendance policy and providing incentives to those who always arrive early may serve a good motivation.
Know Thy Worker (As Good Supervisor Would Do): In all, a good supervisor needs to understand his employees. Help them keep up a great work-life balance and weed out those with infectious bad attitude to work so that they do not affect other workers. Whatever your decision, it is not enough to use video surveillance in the workplace, be upfront about it and keep them in the know. Firings aren’t made lightly, and if they are, it hurts the company greatly. In the end, what comes around goes around.