How to Manage an Employee Who’s Always Late

New employees always agree that it is important to be on time.  So what happens when they stop believing in that principle? Your leadership and management skills have to kick in and the process must begin.  I’ll be interested to hear if you have other techniques that work.wp8r5qep

While coming in late once in a while may be unavoidable, continued tardiness must be dealt with in-person, immediately, professionally and firmly.

  1. Use a Disciplinary Action Form
    1. If you don’t have one, Inc. Magazine does.
    2. Put a copy in the employees personnel file and give a copy to them.
    3. Call the employee to a private one-on-one meeting. Have all documentation ready to share with them.
      1. Ask what is preventing them from reporting to work on time.
      2. Review company’s personnel policies regarding tardiness and working hours.
      3. Let them know you expect all employees to arrive on time.


Language: “I understand that we all have emergencies. Of course the expectation is this not become ongoing behavior.  You have been tardy four times in the last month.  This is unacceptable. I need everyone to be here in the office and ready to begin work at 8:00 am.  That has not been the case with you. We have a couple choices here. We can change your hours to begin at 8:30 and leave accordingly. Or you can diligently make sure you are here on time every day. Which one of those two will work for you? Which one do you want to take personal responsibility for?” (They will answer.)

“This will be written up and put in your personnel file if this continues. If there is not improvement, your tardiness may be grounds for termination. Is there anything I’ve covered that is not understood? What questions do you have?”

wpfr72hrYou might also consider writing up a list of escalating consequences for tardiness. And of course, this should be applied to all employees. For example: If they are late less than 15 minutes, they should stay an extra 15 minutes. If this happens three times, they will receive a written warning. And again, this can be grounds for termination.

There are too many excellent people out of work right now to put up with someone that is “not a morning person.” If they have childcare issues, this can be accomplished by flexing their schedule.

What are your thoughts? Any other ideas besides leaping into a wrongful termination lawsuit?

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *