This policy applies to: All Staff
Table of Contents
The University expects employees to be at work as scheduled and to avoid unapproved absences whenever possible. In an effort to provide advice to supervisors regarding absenteeism and to balance the staff member’s paid and unpaid leave protection against the University’s right to a reasonable standard of attendance, the following guidelines are provided.
A. Supervisor’s Responsibility
- Climate: Establish a favorable climate for good attendance. The key to the development of a favorable climate is in staff members’ understanding of why good attendance is important, that is, the ways in which absenteeism interferes with workflow and unfairly imposes on others. Generally, the supervisor who successfully conveys to each staff member that his/her work is important and appreciated contributes to motivating good attendance.
- Records: Ensure that all time worked for hourly employees are recorded in HRMS as well as all non-productive time (i.e. sick time, vacation, FMLA, etc.) for all exempt and non-exempt employees. Establish a system for tracking attendance to maintain awareness of attendance patterns. A simple chart, available from Human Resources, can be used to track attendance/absences for each employee. The data should be maintained consistently and accurately. This will enable the supervisor to work with the staff member as soon as problematic attendance is identified. NOTE: The attendance chart should be shared only with the employee whose attendance is problematic.
- Standards: Because the needs of each unit may vary, there is no set formula for establishing standards of attendance. The total number of unprotected days absent is not as significant as the frequency of incidents. For details related to protected leaves see Policy #267 Paid Family Leave (PFL), #339 Short-term Disability, #337 Sick Leave Plan, #357 Leaves of Absence, and Policy #358 Family Medical Leave.
- Communications: The system for reporting and recording attendance should be defined and communicated on a continuing basis to all staff members in the department. When frequency of unprotected absences become problematic, the issue should be addressed promptly with the employee, and appropriate action taken. (See Policy #154 Corrective Discipline.) Because of the protections available to employees under federal and state leave laws, managers should discuss any planned actions with their applicable HR Business Partner prior to discussions with employee.
- Health-Related Absences: If a staff member states their general health is causing frequent or regular absences, employees should be encouraged to work closely with their physician to try to correct their absenteeism. If an employee has physical limitations, these must be in writing from a physician and submitted to Human Resources for a review of a potential accommodation. The existence of an illness or injury may support the use of sick time/PTO, short term disability leave, a leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a leave without pay to provide time for rehabilitation if sick leave benefits are exhausted, or eligibility for long-term disability. However, if employees continue to be unavailable for work due to frequent and/or extended absences which are not protected, their employment may be terminated.
Supervisors and employees should contact their applicable Human Resources Business Partner for guidance.