Ideas to tackle staff lateness

Ideas to tackle staff lateness

November 11, 2021

Repeated lateness by a staff member can be so disruptive to a setting and the functioning of the team.  It’s a good idea to address the issue before it continues, or worse, it starts to be seen as accepted behaviour, and others start to be late too.

Before you act, just take a moment to reflect on whether you have been clear about your expectations around punctuality.

Does your induction cover the need for punctuality at all times?

Are your Managers and supervisors punctual for work, and setting the right example to others?

If you are satisfied that expectations have been made clear, then gather or make a record of each occasion of lateness.

Informal response

When you are satisfied that expectations have been made clear, and the records show a pattern of lateness that is disruptive, then it’s time to arrange an informal meeting or raise the issue in a Supervision.

The Line Manager can:

  • Arrange to have the chat with the team member in a private space.
  • Describe the concern, and be prepared to refer to the records that show a pattern of lateness.
  • Critically, ask the team member why they have been late.  There may be genuine difficulties they are facing.
  • Lateness caused by caring responsibilities or health challenges may need to be carefully considered, and you may need to take HR advice in such cases.

Unless specific support is required, the Line Manager may then:

  • Describe the impact of their ongoing lateness on others and operations.
  • Stress that everyone who works in the setting is expected to report to work on time, and why this is.
  • Request that the team member should be on time for each shift going forward, and state that this will be monitored.

The meeting should be supportive in tone, and a record of it made for future reference.

Formal response

If the required improvement doesn’t happen, or isn’t maintained, then a more formal response can be taken.

Repeated lateness will often be dealt with as a formal misconduct issue.

Depending on the reasons for the lateness, the scheduling of a formal disciplinary hearing to consider an allegation of persistent lateness is likely to be the next step.  If the problem continues over a longer period of time, despite formal action being taken, then further disciplinary action may be appropriate.

If you need any assistance in tackling disruptive lateness, including managing this through a formal process, please contact us on 01527 909436


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