Attendance Policy (Absence Policy)


The term attendance policy refers to a guideline that outlines the responsibilities of employees, including adhering to workday schedules, reporting on time, and remaining at work for the entire schedule.  Attendance policies allow companies to maintain productivity and control operating costs.


Also known as an absence policy, attendance policies are typically administered by local management and maintained by the company's human resources department.  The policy will outline the employee's responsibility to: attend work on their scheduled workday, show up to work on time, and work their entire shift.  The entire shift may be an eight hour workday and include overtime, if required.

Attendance policies will also outline when an employee is not required to work, including vacation days, regular days off (RDO), and company holidays. The policy will normally outline the employee's responsibilities when absent from a regularly scheduled workday.  For example, the employee may be required to notify their supervisor if they intend to use a sick day.  If the illness is prolonged, the company may require the employee to provide medical evidence to substantiate their absence.

The objective of these policies is to provide guidance to both employees and their supervisors.  The policy also acts as a guideline when factoring availability into the employee's performance rating, or when taking disciplinary action against the employee due to unavailability.  Time off from the workplace that is protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), or a state-level plan, is usually not counted against an employee's availability, which means it cannot be used as the basis for corrective or disciplinary action.

Related Terms

back pay, arbitration, excused absence