How to create an hourly employee attendance policy (with sample template)

by Liam Martin
hourly employee attendance policy sample

Employees are every company’s greatest resource, and it’s essential to manage your staff members efficiently.

You’ll have to be wary of early departures, tardiness, and excessive absenteeism as it can affect your bottom line. And when some employees don’t do their daily tasks, it can add to your team member’s workload – leading to burnout, dampened team spirit, and lowered productivity.

That’s a no-go for everyone, right? 

That’s why we’ve created this ultimate guide for solving your employee attendance woes. 

This article will address all your questions on creating an hourly employee attendance policy. We’ve also drafted an hourly employee attendance policy sample that you can customize as per your requirements.

This article contains:

(Use the links below and jump to a specific section)

Let’s get started. 

What is an hourly employee attendance policy?

An hourly employee attendance policy is a detailed document about the company’s employee attendance rules. It outlines various parameters needed for a good attendance track record. 

Note: If you’re only looking for the sample template, skip ahead to that section.  

Usually a part of the employee handbook, the attendance policy:  

  • Highlights absenteeism, tardiness policy, and other attendance violation rules to your hourly employees. 
  • Helps the human resources team to manage absenteeism and the staff members to plan their work schedule and time offs.
  • Details the approval procedures, evaluations, and progressive discipline measures for excessive and unexcused absences.   

Why do you need an hourly employee attendance policy? 

Regular attendance and punctuality can boost your team’s performance. And hourly employees understand the value of time tracking, as most of what they do is time-sensitive. 

This is where an hourly attendance policy comes into play. 

Writing a fair attendance policy can be rewarding for both your business and staff members. It:

  • Removes ambiguities by clarifying all expectations, consequences, and rewards.
  • Discourages laziness and misconduct through effective disciplinary action. 
  • Provides a foolproof way to ensure that attendance rules are equal, holistic, and fair.

What goes into an attendance policy?

Here are a few things you need to keep in mind when drafting an hourly employee attendance policy: 

1. Absenteeism 

An employee who fails to report for work at the appointed time without approval is marked as absent. And absenteeism refers to a higher frequency of such absences. 

Here are the three types of absences your policy should cover:

A. Approved or excused absence

When the employee asks for time off, giving a notice of at least 48 hours, and gets the necessary approval, it’s considered as approved absence

B. Unexcused absence 

When the employee doesn’t give necessary notice or get approval for their time off, it falls under unexcused or unscheduled absence – also called a ‘no-show.’

C. Unforeseen absence

This occurs when an employee is absent when they’re having a sick day or an emergency

2. Tardiness 

An employee is marked as tardy when they show up late, take longer breaks, and sign out earlier without approval. 

3. Manager responsibilities

Every manager needs to monitor their team’s attendance record. Outline how a manager will handle scenarios of consistent rule-breaking.

4. Measuring and rewarding employee attendance 

Explain how you measure and track employee attendance. Include a section for the attendance bonus, if needed.

5. Disciplinary procedures

Coming across an employee with tardy behavior is not uncommon.

So you should establish procedures that help the supervisor correct the situation when an employee fails to meet various policy rules. This can be through training, support, or progressive discipline measures. 

6. Non-exempt employees 

Unlike an exempt employee, a non exempt employee is eligible for overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations. 

Hourly employee attendance policy sample template 

Here’s an employee attendance policy template for hourly employees that you can use today:

A. Overview 

[Company Name]’s hourly employee attendance policy outlines the various requirements for effective employee attendance in hourly shifts. 

Please note that:

  • ‘Timeliness’ is indispensable to hourly shifts. 
  • ‘Tardy’ behavior (coming late, taking longer breaks, or signing out early without approval) and other absences prevent our business operations from running smoothly. 

This attendance policy details various measures to counter such violations.

B. Purpose 

The purpose of this policy is to:

  • Establish a fair and effective policy for every non exempt employee working in various capacities.
  • Proactively manage hourly employee attendance, absence, and tardiness. 
  • Minimize absenteeism.
  • Promote higher productivity and a healthy work-life balance. 

C. Employee attendance

Everyday work time is important for hourly employees, as there are so many tasks involved in delivering a product or service.

At [Company Name], we’ve set up a fair policy that considers various circumstances and parameters to ensure a fulfilling time at work.

Every hourly employee is entitled to the following:

1. Personal time off or vacation

A maximum of [xxx hours] in a calendar year.

2. Emergency personal time

This is for last-minute contingencies such as illness, medical and legal appointments, accident, death, and other unavoidable emergencies. 

Employees must have an earned paid time off to use up for such absences.

Every hourly employee accrues [xx hours] in one month period, earning a total of [xx hours] per year. Accruals will not be carried over to the next calendar year. 

3. Sick leave  

Hourly employees can avail sick leave for a maximum of [xx hours] in a calendar year. 

Employees who need three or more consecutive days for medical reasons need a doctor’s note. For paid sick leave, this is proof of fitness to resume work.

4. Compassionate leave 

This refers to employee absence due to a serious accident or medical emergencies, where an eligible employee is unable to report right away. We may choose to ask for verification before approval.


The following will not fall under excused time off:

  • Waking up late.
  • Running personal errands.
  • Non-approved time-offs.
  • Bad weather, traffic, car trouble, or public transportation delays. Excuses during extreme weather conditions will be considered for approval.

D. Clocking in and out

We take clocking in/out at [company name] as an essential parameter to measure attendance and productivity. 

This facilitates an accurate recording of actual hours worked. Missing it will violate the work attendance policy. 

These scenarios include:

  1. Not swiping in/out at the designated time – viz., at shift start or end, during meal or coffee breaks.
  2. Clocking in late or clocking out earlier without approval.

Consistently failing to follow these rules will lead to disciplinary action. You must also report to the human resource manager if there are any glitches in the swipe machine.

E. Approval and notification procedure

We encourage a good and regular attendance track record for all hourly employees, enhancing their performance and growth. 

To have an optimum work-life balance, each department supervisor will approve time-off requests. This will depend on seasonal loads and employee availability on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

Here are the recommended timings for notifications:

1. Emergency notifications

  • An unplanned absence requires at least [xx hours] notice before the shift. 
    • For example, a medical emergency for a family member.
  • To leave earlier or in between shifts – inform as soon as you’re aware of the emergency. 
  • Delays during breaks – no later than the scheduled shift starting time, as it helps plan out replacement staff.

2. Planned notifications 

  • [xx hours] notice for [xx days] absence. 
  • A week’s notice for [xx days] absence.
  • A month’s notice for a long time off. 

3. Unexcused notifications

  • Not showing up for more than three consecutive shifts without approval or intimation is considered ‘job abandonment. 
  • The contract will either get terminated or be revised as per the progressive discipline policy.

F. Disciplinary action

Disciplinary protocols are one of the efficient ways to address attendance issues. 

Setting up clear expectations helps maintain a smooth workflow.

A well-laid-out policy boosts employee morale, and rewards incentivize consistent good behavior. So here’s what your policy should contain in this section:

1. Tardiness 

Not arriving at the scheduled shift time incurs a corresponding percentage cut in the accrued paid time off. If the accumulated balance is negative at the end of a pay period, the corresponding amount will be subtracted from the final paycheck. 

2. Absenteeism 

Not showing up on a workday incurs one infraction.

Two unexcused absences in a monthly pay period and three or more unexcused absences in a quarter will be flagged as excessive absenteeism.

3. Holidays 

If an employee asks for extra time off around their already approved holiday plan, the supervisor may review their request based on accrued balance and employee availability. 

If additional shift hours are missed without any previous intimation, the employee will be subjected to a written warning. 

4. New hires

A new employee still under probation will receive a written warning for more than two infractions. Any further violation will result in termination. 

5. Exemptions 

Time offs, including bereavement, jury duty, etc., are exempt from disciplinary action. But this is subject to documentation proof within [xx hours] for approval. 

6. Progressive discipline policy

Disciplinary action commences when an hourly employee gets past the accepted infraction levels for all or any of the categories. 

When it goes beyond the threshold levels, it leads to:

  1. Verbal warning by the supervisor.
  2. Written warning by the manager. 
  3. Coaching or training to address a core issue. 
  4. Meeting and a possible suspension notice, as agreed by the HR and supervisor. 
  5. Contract termination. 

Note: Accrued ’emergency time off’ lapses during termination of a contract.

Here’s a visual representation of the disciplinary point system, which resets every year for hourly employees:

Early departureLeaving more than 30 minutes early0.5
Tardiness5 to 20 minutes late1
Late21 to 120 minutes late3
No showMore than 2 hours late5

Employees will face disciplinary action when their total points reach these levels: 

  • 10 points: Verbal warning.
  • 15 points: Written warning. 
  • 20 points: Corrective action.
  • 25 points: Suspension.
  • 30 points: Termination.

G. Attendance bonus

Unlike salaried employees, hourly employees may have some financial constraints.

We acknowledge their willingness to fulfill various company policies, balancing personal, work, and other events. 

In a bid to appreciate the sincerity and work ethic of our employees, we’ve set aside an attendance bonus if they have good attendance. 

If hourly employees have:

  • Availed no emergency personal time and haven’t been marked for any tardiness across a:
    • Month: Eligible for a cash award draw, with three lucky winners to receive a bonus of [$xxx]
    • Quarter: Receive a coupon or voucher to the tune of [$xxx]
    • Year: Receive a [xx percentage] bonus on all the unused hours.
  • Used up only a percentage of personal time off, with lesser than the following attendance infractions in a year: 
    • 1 tardy + 12 missed hours = [xx percentage] bonus
    • 2 tardy + 24 missed hours = [xx percentage] bonus 

Note: Specific absences covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are part of a separate policy.

H. Terms – acceptance

I have read and understood the terms of the attendance policy for hourly employees. 

I, _____________________ , agree to abide by these policy guidelines for my employment at [Company Name].

Read and agreed by:

Employee: ___________________________________

Signature: ___________________________________

Management: ________________________________

Signature: __________________________________

Date: _________________________

Disclaimer: This attendance policy template is only a general guideline for reference purposes. This is not a legal document and doesn’t consider all local, state, or federal laws. Neither the author nor Time Doctor will assume any legal liability that may arise from the use of this hourly employee attendance policy sample. 

You can also check out our free hourly schedule templates.

3 simple tips to create a fair employee attendance policy 

Whether you manage a startup or a large business, follow these tips to create a fair employee attendance policy:

1. Create an adaptable culture

Work-life balance, employee engagement, and company policies play a pivotal role in creating a work culture

Being an equal opportunity employer may require you to ask hard questions like: 

  • How does your team work together and communicate?
  • What value systems are your employees holding dear to them?
  • Does your business have a thriving and nurturing culture that will enthuse your workers to show up on time? 

Observe what works and doesn’t in your current system. Build a policy that shows both empathy and firmness. Such an approach can boost engagement as well as productivity.

2. Include realistic disciplinary actions

Ensure that disciplinary actions aren’t based on your personal beliefs or expectations. 

For example, you may feel that running ten minutes or an hour late deserves the same amount of disciplinary action. 

However, an employee running ten minutes late may not impact your business as much compared to an employee who shows up an hour late. 

That’s why you’ll have to do some research on the acceptable number of minutes an employee can miss – so you don’t penalize employees unfairly.

3. Ask your team for inputs

Nothing makes an employee feel more supported than a peer-motivated and inclusive working model.

Share initial policy drafts with the management and employees to get relevant on-the-ground inputs. Keeping them in the loop can help the business take flexible steps towards a fair policy. 

Wrapping up

If you have hourly employees, it’s essential to create a good attendance policy to ensure their absences don’t disrupt your business workflows. 

Use the tips we covered here to ensure you draft a policy that addresses both the management’s and the employees’ concerns. Take it a step ahead by tweaking our sample attendance policy to suit your business requirements. 
And once you have an excellent policy in place, attendance management for hourly employees will become a breeze. 

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