Attendance Guidelines for University Support Staff
Revised June 19, 2014 and December 1, 2014
Table of Contents
.030 Work Practices
.050 Corrective Action
.090 Presumed Resignation
An employee's work attendance has a direct effect on a unit's ability to provide intended services in support of the mission of the university. An employee's attendance record is a possible consideration which every supervisor may consider when selecting staff for initial hire, regular status, transfer or promotion. Misuse of leave privileges, excessive leave use, unexcused absences or a pattern of failure to report for or remain at work may be grounds for positive disciplinary action. University policies acknowledge that circumstances may necessitate recommendations for varying levels of corrective action. University units may also develop specific written procedures to implement these guidelines within the framework of their unit mission.
The following guidelines have been established to assure that:
- There is consistent attendance counseling and corrective action on a university-wide basis.
- There is appropriate corrective action at the lowest level which is sufficient to address attendance concerns.
- There are clear steps to follow so that supervisors and employees may discuss attendance problems affecting the work unit and its productivity and have adequate time for employees to correct attendance deficiencies.
As a condition of employment, employees are expected to report for duty at the assigned time and place and to remain on duty during scheduled work hours. Employees are also expected to accurately report hours worked and leave taken.
In any situation where an employee is unable to report or may be delayed in arriving for work at the assigned time and place, the employee must contact the immediate supervisor or other designated person prior to or at the start of the scheduled work shift. Except in the most unusual situations, the employee is expected to make the call personally, provide a projected length of absence, and explain reasons for the absence or lateness. When absence is necessary, the employee must contact the supervisor before each scheduled shift unless the absence is approved in advance by the supervisor. The employee must also obtain supervisory authorization to leave the work site during a scheduled shift.
Responsibility for excusing lateness or an unexpected absence rests with the immediate supervisor. In most situations, the supervisor will be expected to make the decision (whether lateness or an unexpected absence is excused) when the employee returns. The supervisor should visit with the employee and personally review the employee's request and reasons to determine whether the absence or lateness is appropriately excused. Supervisory discretion should be exercised depending on the severity of the violation. The supervisor should take any mitigating circumstances and the employee's attendance record into account when making the decision. Unexcused absence or lateness should be recorded as leave without pay at the discretion of the supervisor. In cases of absence or lateness for medical reasons, when circumstances warrant, the supervisor may request medical certification to justify excusing the absence or lateness, particularly if the employee has been absent three or more consecutive days.
There are several categories of attendance problems which represent misconduct. Appropriate responses to such problems will be determined based on the employee's record in all categories of attendance violations. Mitigating circumstances should be taken into account in determining appropriate responses. Incidents of attendance violations within one calendar year of the most recent violation may be considered when determining the appropriate response. Definitions of those categories are provided below.
- Failure to Report for Duty:
- Tardiness: Tardiness exists when an employee fails to report to work at the specified starting time. Corrective action may be taken if an employee is tardy. Repeated tardiness after verbal counseling is a pattern of tardiness.
- No-Call, No-Show: An incident of no-call, no-show occurs when an employee both fails to report for work at the start of a scheduled work shift and fails to notify the supervisor or designated person within 30 minutes of the start of the work shift of an intention to be absent.
- Unjustified Absence: An unjustified absence occurs when a supervisor does not accept as reasonable an employee's explanation for an absence or lateness. A supervisor may designate a medical-related absence as unjustified only after consulting Human Capital Services. The supervisor should notify the employee in writing that the absence was not excused because it was unjustified and that it will be submitted as unapproved leave without pay. A copy of that notification should be placed in the employee's official personnel file.
- Failure to Remain on Duty:
- Failure to Remain: An incident of failure to remain on duty occurs when an employee does not obtain permission to leave the work site during scheduled work time or takes or exceeds a break period without authorization.
- Excessive Absence: Excessive absence from work occurs when an employee is away from work to the extent that completion of normal work requirements is adversely affected. These absences may have been excused or unexcused and caused by medical or other reasons. An employee must be notified that absences are excessive before such incidents can be counted toward corrective action. A supervisor may designate medical-related absences as excessive only after consulting Human Capital Services. Absences that qualify under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) are generally not to be considered under this policy.
Specific corrective steps related to the number of attendance-related incidents, those which cannot be excused or are excessive, have been established to deal with attendance problems resulting in misconduct. Before corrective action may be taken, employees must have been a) informed of these written attendance guidelines, b) advised that attendance problems exist, and c) cautioned that there may be specific consequences of violating attendance guidelines. Positive discipline steps are outlined below. (Refer to Policy and Procedures Manual, Chapter 4020, "Disciplinary Action Procedures.")
Failure to Remain,
|1) Verbal Counseling||1-3||1||1-2|
|2) Written Reminder||4||2||2-3|
|3) Decision-Making Leave||5-6||3-4||3-5|
Supervisors and employees may consult Human Capital Services with questions related to the discipline process.
All attendance violations within one calendar year of the most recent violation may be considered in determining the appropriate level of subsequent disciplinary actions. In some cases, both attendance violations and other incidents of misconduct may be considered in making positive discipline determinations. When such combinations occur, the employee's entire disciplinary record will be considered to determine the appropriate level of disciplinary action for subsequent incidents of misconduct. (Refer to Policy and Procedures Manual, Chapter 4020, "Disciplinary Action Procedures.")
A chronic pattern of excessive or unjustified absences exists when an employee's absences from work--whether excused or not--have a serious negative effect on a unit's ability to provide service. These absences can be for medical or non-medical reasons. If the absences are for medical reasons, requirements under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may dictate that certain absences not count toward disciplinary action. Departments should consult Human Capital Services regarding such determinations. In cases where there is a chronic pattern of excessive or unjustified absence, notice will be given to the employee that his or her chronic absences are a hardship on the work unit and that additional requirements must be met in order to receive approved leave. These requirements include:
- two weeks notice for use of annual leave, discretionary day or compensatory time,
- documentation to support other paid leave (funeral leave, jury duty, etc.),
- a physician's statement verifying incapacitation, medical reasons for an absence, and the anticipated date of return when sick leave or leave without pay is requested.
After notice of a chronic pattern of absences has been given, another incident of unjustified or excessive absence should result in disciplinary action at the next higher step of positive discipline. If continuing absences result in leave without pay in two consecutive pay periods, even absences justified by physician's statements, may not be excused. In this case, the next higher step of positive discipline may be applied.
When an employee has been placed on "chronic absence" restrictions, a regular (at least every six months) review of an employee's attendance record should be completed by the supervisor. These restrictions may be lifted by the supervisor if the employee corrects the chronic pattern of absence. An employee may request a review of his or her status related to chronic absence restrictions, if one is not initiated by the supervisor. Employees should be notified in writing regarding their status following each regular review.
Time on leave (with or without pay) of more than thirty days shall not count toward total time on probationary status. The probationary period shall be continued effective with the employee's return from leave until the total probationary time has been served.
During the initial six-month probationary period, employees are expected to meet university attendance requirements. At least one oral counseling must be given before terminating an employee. The department must give the employee a chance to correct performance deficiencies. Prior to dismissal, the department must notify the Human Capital Services, Director of Employee Relations, (or designee) of their intent to dismiss, provide the record of counseling, and allow time for review of the case. Any pattern of absence, lateness, failure to report (excused or unexcused), or other work rule violations which might develop during the initial probationary period may result in a departmental recommendation for termination of the probationary appointment.
Five consecutive working days of unauthorized absence for which an employee is unable to provide an explanation is considered job abandonment and presumed resignation. A supervisor or designee should make reasonable attempts to contact the employee during this five-day period; however, failure to make contact with the employee does not excuse the absence.
The Human Capital Services, Director of Employee Relations must be contacted after the third consecutive day of unauthorized absence. After discussion with the Director of Employee Relations or (or designee) about attempts to contact the employee, the departmental supervisor will notify the employee in writing that the employee will be terminated unless the employee returns to work or provides a reasonable explanation for the absence by a specified date. Such notification must be pre-approved by the Human Capital Services, Director of Employee Relations (or designee).
Questions regarding these guidelines should be directed to Human Capital Services, Employee Relations & Engagement, 785-532-6277.
Questions pertaining to the impact of attendance upon an employee's right to benefits under programs, such as the Family Medical Leave Act or Shared Leave, should be directed to Human Capital Services.