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My employee is constantly late. What should I do?

Updated: Oct 21, 2023

If someone is late once, it shouldn't be a big deal and get them in trouble. However, if they're frequently late, then it becomes a performance issue.


Sometimes, there's a valid reason behind the lateness, like an accident may have happened, family responsibilities took priority, etc. In those cases, it's important to have a conversation with the employee to understand what's going on.


Here's a checklist you can follow if an employee is consistently late:

  • Collect evidence of their lateness. Make sure you have proof of when they arrived late.

  • Sit down with the employee and talk about the lateness problem. Explain how it's affecting their work performance and productivity.

  • Give the employee a chance to explain the reasons for their lateness.

  • Discuss possible solutions to address the underlying causes, such as offering flexible working arrangements if their family or health is the issue.

  • Together, set a timeframe to overcome the lateness problem and come to an agreement on it.

  • Remember not to simply terminate their employment if they don't improve within the specified timeframe. Instead, consider a warning (verbal or written).

  • Document the conversation and provide the employee with a copy of the agreed-upon actions.

If the situation doesn't improve despite these efforts, you can take the following steps:

  1. Ask the employee to meet with you again.

  2. Encourage them to bring a support person along if they want.

  3. During the meeting, explain why you believe the lateness issue hasn't been resolved satisfactorily and why you're considering termination.

  4. Give the employee an opportunity to respond and share their reasons before deciding on dismissal.

  5. Before actually terminating their employment, you should carefully review all the evidence and consider if there might be an underlying reason for the lateness that needs further discussion and possible solutions.

Remember, it's always best to approach these situations with open communication and a willingness to understand the employee's perspective.


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