Written warning for attendance

by Andy Nguyen
sample warning letter for irregular attendance1

Writing a warning letter to an employee for irregular attendance can be uncomfortable, but it’s an essential step in enforcing your attendance policy. 

How you communicate and enforce your company policy has a massive influence on employee conduct. And the goal of your warning letter is to shake them out of their pattern of poor behavior, which can be a real challenge. 

Don’t worry.

In this article, we’ll share a customizable sample warning letter to employee for irregular attendance. We’ll also explore five best practices for your warning letter and take a closer look at various ways to reduce employee absenteeism.

This article contains:

(Click on the links below to jump to a specific section)

 Let’s get started. 

A sample warning letter to employee for irregular attendance

Here’s a sample warning letter you can use to write your own warning letter for poor attendance: 


Subject: Warning for irregular attendance 

Dear [Employee’s name]

This letter is to inform you that your work attendance has repeatedly been unsatisfactory despite receiving a verbal warning from your supervisor. The records clearly show that since ________, you have been absent/tardy on _________ occasions without prior intimation.

Poor attendance and frequent lateness impede other employees’ workflow and affect our capacity to run operations smoothly. This written warning serves to emphasize how serious an issue this is at [Company name] and is an infraction of our company policy.

Please note that your performance evaluations will make mention of your frequent absenteeism, and pay deductions may be enforced accordingly. A copy of this letter will also be added to your personnel file. If this attendance issue continues to be a concern and there appears to be no effort to improve on your part, we will have to take further disciplinary action, which could result in your termination of employment at [Company name].  

We strongly urge that you take no more leave days for the next _______ months unless it is for truly extenuating circumstances. In the event that you absolutely must take an additional leave day, please provide prior notice to your supervisor at least _______ days in advance. This request may be approved or denied at your supervisor’s discretion. 

We would also like to remind you that your health and wellbeing are paramount to us at [Company name]. Should you feel the need to explain any personal or professional issues you’re currently facing, please do not hesitate to contact your supervisor or our human resource officials, and we can explore possible solutions. 

[Authorised signatory

Next, let’s explore the best practices to adopt when writing a formal warning letter. 

5 best practices when writing an employee warning letter

Here are five best practices for an effective employee warning letter.

1. Directly state infraction

Your employee warning letter should begin with a description of the circumstances that resulted in the warning. Make sure to clearly state how the employee’s actions violate the company policy. 

Your written reprimand must include all evidence and relevant details like the date of the infraction or any previous warnings the employee has received. This helps establish credibility and transparency. 

However, you should make sure to not to get too long-winded – be as brief and to-the-point as possible.  

2. Clearly mention consequences 

An important aspect of the warning letter is emphasizing all potential consequences that the employee may be subject to if their poor performance continues. 

Clearly mention what disciplinary action the employee will face now and how it may escalate to employment termination if the absenteeism continues. 

Properly communicating the consequences is crucial for the employee to understand the severity of their conduct and can nudge them to correct their course. 

3. Avoid getting personal

A solid warning letter communicates the severity of the employee’s behavior without getting personal or emotional about it. 

Your letter shouldn’t seek to offend or highlight how you were personally inconvenienced or offended by their insubordination. 

Instead, ensure that you maintain focus on the employee’s attendance record, how it fails to meet company standards, and why this is detrimental to the company’s overall performance. 

4. Offer solutions

Besides highlighting the issue of repeated absences or poor punctuality, the warning letter should provide a clear path for an employee to get back on course. 

You can suggest they take no more leaves unless it’s for a legitimate emergency or reiterate the need to get leave approvals in advance. When you do this, you communicate to employees that they’re being given a fair shot and aren’t being treated unjustly. 

This is also an effective way to establish that the point isn’t to criticize them but to encourage regular attendance for the benefit of everyone involved. 

5. Allow employees to respond

Finally, be sure to give employees a chance to respond by sending a show cause notice, seeking an explanation for their frequent absence from work. 

You can also just have a manager or HR official approach the employee for an informal one-on-one conversation. This is a good way to resolve any miscommunications and hear out any explanations the employee may have for their conduct. 

Things may not always be as simple as they seem, and there may be mitigating factors affecting the employee’s conduct. 

To help account for such factors, you can create a channel for employees to submit a complaint letter for serious workplace problems like harassment or gross negligence. This can then be thoroughly investigated accordingly. 

Moreover, there are several things that are outside an employee’s control. Given the complications of the current pandemic situation, it’s even more important that employees are allowed to give context and reasoning for their excessive absences. 

Now that we’ve established everything that makes a solid warning letter, let’s look at some ways to improve attendance at your company. 

5 practical tips to tackle poor attendance 

Here are five constructive strategies you can use to counter attendance problems at your organization. 

1. Create a clear attendance policy

A great way to address poor attendance is by making sure company rules and expectations are clear to all your employees. 

Writing an attendance policy codifies your expectations from employees instead of having it be informal and assumed to be understood. 

Here are a few essential things to keep in mind with your company’s attendance policy:

  • Communicate what disciplinary measure will be enforced if employees have a poor attendance record. It would be ideal to do this during the new employee onboarding process.
  • Establish the different types of employee absence: approved leave, unscheduled absence, late attendance, sick leave, etc. 
  • Clearly explain the procedure for requesting leaves, reporting unsanctioned absences, how many absences can be excused, etc. 

Presenting all this information formally can effectively convey how important good attendance is at your organization. 

For more information on creating an employee attendance policy, check out this insightful article.

2. Consider flexible work options

Attendance issues at work can be effectively addressed by providing flexible work options for employees. 

Allowing your employees to work remotely minimizes the effect of other factors that get in the way of work. For example, it eliminates the hassle of long commutes, thus removing a potential reason why people may decide to take a day off. 

Remote work also plays a crucial role in empowering employees to take more responsibility for their work conduct. It also has plenty of other notable benefits like reducing stress levels, increasing productivity, and improving employee retention.

Check out this informative article for an in-depth look at how to create a flexible work environment. 

3. Address workplace stress

Excessive absenteeism is sometimes associated with an unhealthy or stressful work environment. 

As an employer, it’s important to recognize signs that the workplace isn’t as healthy as it could be. This includes things like:

  • A pattern of unexcused absence. 
  • Frequent employee burn-out.
  • Low productivity and diminishing quality of work.

If you notice such indications at work, you should start exploring options to help ease the situation and keep absenteeism at a minimum.

For instance, if there are tools or equipment that are only adding to employee stress levels and not aiding the work process in any way, look into replacing them immediately. Listening to employee comments and feedback can really help identify these issues as soon as they arise.

Additionally, you can implement employee wellness programs for employee health and general wellbeing. This can include mental health awareness initiatives, physical exercise programs, etc. 

Wellness programs are a fantastic way to demonstrate to your employees that their well-being is a priority at your organization. 

A focus on your workforce’s physical and mental health can raise employee morale, reduce stress levels, and result in a substantial improvement in employee attendance.

4. Foster employee engagement 

A great way to reduce absenteeism is by ensuring that your employees are driven and have a sincere desire to come to work every day.

Implementing strategies to boost employee engagement can help you do just that. It makes employees more aware of how valued they are and so are more invested in the company’s performance.

 Here are some very feasible things you can do to foster engagement at work:

  • Have an effective internal communication system where employees are kept informed about company milestones, can share feedback, and have all their concerns addressed. 
  • Invest in training and development initiatives to enable employees to get involved in multiple aspects of the company’s activities.
  • Prioritize creating a sense of belonging so that employees feel like a valued part of the team.
  • Consider an Employee Assistance Program designed to assist employees with personal issues by offering counseling services, education, etc. 

These strategies can do wonders for an employee’s engagement levels and motivate them to be reliable, show up at work, and avoid taking any unplanned days off. 

If you’re looking for effective ways to measure and improve employee engagement, take a look at this informative article.

5. Use an attendance tracking tool

An attendance tracking tool is an excellent way to address any absenteeism concerns you have with your workforce. 

These tools allow companies to track and monitor employee time and attendance automatically. They also collate a great deal of useful employee data that can show you how severe an issue attendance really is at your organization. 

Implementing an attendance tracking tool sends a compelling message to your employees about how important the attendance policy is at your organization. It’s a great way to provide additional incentive to employees to take their attendance more seriously if they hadn’t already. 

While there are some great attendance tracking tools available today, Time Doctor stands out as being one of the best options. 

Check out how Time Doctor’s automatic attendance tracking and Work Schedules feature make attendance management effortless.

What is Time Doctor?

time doctor Time Tracking

Time Doctor is a robust attendance tracking and productivity management tool used by major companies, like Verizon and Ericsson, and by SMBs, like Thrive Market.

It has a wide range of powerful features that make it one of the best attendance tracking tools available today. 

With Time Doctor’s attendance reporting feature, you can easily monitor who in your team is absent, present, or late. All this data is automatically collected and can be accessed in real time. 

Having all attendance records available in such a hassle-free way allows HR managers to focus on the human aspect of absenteeism instead of manually scouring through records.

It’s also the best way to evaluate how successful your strategies have been in improving attendance. 

Time Doctor’s excellent work scheduling feature allows you to create effective schedules that can help manage your employees’ workloads and reduce stress levels. This is an excellent way to address poor attendance at your organization.

Wrapping up

Irregular attendance is costly for an organization, and how you deal with it is a critical factor in curbing it. To be effective, your warning letter must carefully maintain severity and directness without being harsh and berating. 

Customize the sample letter template we’ve shared as per your needs, and be sure to take note of the things to keep in mind for an effective warning letter. You can also use the handy tips and strategies we’ve outlined to reduce workplace absenteeism. 

Remember, be empathetic and keep your employees engaged and motivated so that they think twice about taking unscheduled leaves from work. 

View a free demo of Time Doctor

help managers focus on what matters most
time doctor ratings

Related Posts