May 7, 2018

To Be or Not To Be–At Work Today That Is

By Paul Bieber

In the current times where there are more job openings than available people, where do you draw the line about disciplining an employee who decides what the work schedule should be?

First you need a schedule that is clear to all folks at your company. If work starts at 7 a.m., when is a person late? Is it 7:05, 7:15 or 7:01?

You actually have two decisions here. First is, when are they late? It’s not clocking in and then going to his locker to change into work gear, nor getting a cup of coffee in the office and then hitting a job. Being dressed in safety gear and ready to work at 7 a.m. should be your schedule. As most glaziers work in teams, when one person is late, they are holding up the other. That’s double the loss for you. So, what is late at your shop? You don’t have to pay for the time it takes to put on safety gear or other uniform items. If the person’s workstation is at a cutting table, then it is 7 a.m. sharp at the cutting table, ready to work. If it is going out in a truck for a home mirror job, it is starting to load the truck at 7 a.m., sharp.

If your policy says, work starts at 7 a.m., and at 7:05 a.m., you are considered late, then a write up goes into the person’s file for that day. Three write ups in a 12-month rolling period earns a day off, without pay. Don’t allow a person to use a vacation day for this infraction. There is no pain felt, and no improvement will be gained. After six write ups in a 12-month period, the employee earns three days off without pay. Any additional late times and the employee is out looking for a new job.

Sounds harsh, especially when it is hard to hire folks. But the rest of your team will appreciate this action. They show up on time and expect their co-workers do the same.

Yes, things happen. An accident on the highway stops traffic and your guy is late. A road is flooded out from an overnight storm. When this occurs the employee must call in before their shift starts, so that you can adjust your workforce. I’ll bet that most of your crew have cell phones, so there is no excuse for not calling in. You can decide not to write someone up if you feel the reason is proper. Also, if today an employee asks if it is OK to come in late on Friday, and you say OK, that is not a write up. As long as you can adjust your teams, then your customer service will not falter.

Now we address the second part of the equation. If a person is not at work at 7 a.m., they are late. But what happens when they get to work at 7:05 a.m.? How do you pay them? Do they get paid from 7 a.m. anyway because of your payroll software? You can change this easily in every software package I have ever seen. I would adjust it to three minutes after the due-in time and the quarter hour is not paid. You will get some arguments from the habitually late folks. Good. They get the message. If they can get to work at 7:03 a.m., they darn well can get to work at 6:58 a.m.

Even though getting good employees is hard now, your better employees will appreciate you teaching and improving the laggards.