February 2016

What Supervisors Should Know About Absenteeism and Lateness

Being a Supervisor can be tough when you have to meet deadlines and ensure that your team is performing at its best.  Dealing with absenteeism and lateness is a complex issue that can affect your company’s bottom line through decreased productivity and low morale.

If your position requires that you monitor or manage employee attendance, below are some tips that you may find useful.

  • Clearly address performance management issues in a timely manner and maintain documentation.
  • Where expectations are not written, consider implementing a policy aligned with company practices.
  • A good policy should provide a reporting procedure if an employee is going to be absent or late for work.  In addition, it should outline specific hours of work, and the length of breaks for employees.
  • Provide Supervisors with disciplinary action protocol when employees do not follow the company policy.
  • If circumstances warrant employee assistance, provide the employee information where they can seek help.  Talk about the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) if your company provides this added benefit.
  • A policy may also help reduce potential legal costs if sued by an employee who has been terminated.

Why have policies in place?

While most Supervisors don’t like being perceived as the “attendance police”, they are still responsible for enforcing company policy.  Here are some of the negative effects of employee absenteeism:

  • Deadlines are missed when employees are not on time.  Just one missed deadline can cause a ripple effect that can impact many results.
  • Resentment can grow and morale can drop when co-workers have to perform the work of a habitually absent team member.
  • There are additional costs to a company, such as the overtime work done by other staff members to make up for the incomplete work.
  • In some cases, employees with good attendance records may start coming in late or decide to take time off work in reaction to their co-worker’s excessive absenteeism.
  • In stressful environments, ROI will decrease when absenteeism, lateness, and turnover becomes a prevalent problem.

Romance In The Workplace

Romance among co-workers does create complications; and it is in the employer’s right and, in some cases, obligation to ensure that these relationships don’t harm the workplace environment or the company, especially when those relationships end.  Managing the potential consequences requires subtlety, caution and above all sense of reality.  The key to success is to refrain from trying to stop the romance and concentrate your efforts on ensuring that both parties involved understand and remain within their professional limits in the way they conduct it.

Unless one employee leaves the company, it could lead to a poisoned work environment, sexual harassment and in some cases, even violence.   That is when it becomes an employer’s business and sometimes even legally gets the employer into trouble if no action is taken.

If an employer attempts to prohibit workplace romances, this could lead to human rights complaints or claims of constructive dismissal by employees.  It is impractical and difficult to enforce and could lead to breeding resentment, harming morale and forcing employees to conduct their affairs on the sly.

What Can Employer Do To Reduce Liability?

Establish a policy that should a romantic relationship occur, both parties are responsible for informing the employer of the relationship to make sure there is no conflicts of interest.

It should spell out the behavior and actions associated with romantic relationships and what may be constituted as a conflict of interest and provide guidelines of where this may occur.   It should also state the consequences for not following to the policy.  The policy should be clearly communicated to all employees and documented that that communication occurred.

In addition, a policy for sexual harassment should be implemented and training given to all employees as required by law. It should be made clear to management and supervisors that if it’s heard through the grapevine, the employer must look into it. Gossip is recognized by the courts as a means of information to the employer. If he knew of some behavior, or should have known because it was all over as gossip, the employer could be liable.

On a final note, any policy implemented in the workplace should be reviewed by legal experts familiar with local, provincial and federal laws and recent court cases.


Lock Out Tag Out

Lockout-Tagout (LOTO) is a safety procedure which is used to make sure that dangerous machines are properly shut off and not started up again until maintenance is complete.  It requires that hazardous power sources be “isolated and rendered inoperative” before any repair procedure is started.  “Lock and Tag” works in conjunction with a lock usually locking the device or the power source and placing it in such a position that no hazardous power sources can be turned on.  This procedure requires that a tag be affixed to the locked device indicating that it should not be turned on.

To determine if lockout is necessary, inspect the location where the work will be done and ask:

1.  What would be the result if any of the energy sources were released?

2.  Would the release of energy or an inadvertent movement be hazardous to a worker/self?

Note:  If there is a hazard to workers, lockout is required

Why do I need Lockout/Tagout?

Safeguard employees, and comply with the Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA):

  • Lockout / Tagout is one of the most cited violation for the general industry
  • Lockout / Tagout is being adopted on a global scale across all industries as a best practice for increasing safety
  • It is estimated that by Controlling Hazardous Energy prevents 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries annually. The Lockout/ Tagout procedure is designed for employee safety
  • Lockout / Tagout can significantly cut costs by minimizing lost time and insurance costs.  If the bottom line is important to your business, then keep your machines safely maintained to cut more than just operating costs
  • Lockout / Tagout can improve productivity by minimizing equipment downtime while streamlining an effective maintenance program.  With safety first, you can improve workplace productivity.