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Yes, and agreed with, and supported by the union and the workforce.
Is this specified in your contracts of employment?
Steve, there’s no getting away from the fact that it works! We allow 3 minutes “grace” per day, which is 13 hours a year. If the person has not “clocked on” by then, there is a 15 minute deduction. The usual reasons are “overslept”, “missed the alarm”, “stuck in traffic”. Funnily enough, those like myself who travel the furthest are rarely late (for me, 3 times in 4 years, each time due to a lorry spilling its load, and blocking both carriage ways).
We have a “bell to bell” policy in that employees are ready to work at the start of the shift rather than drifting in dead on 7.00 then spending the next 10 minutes making a drink and having a chat. They then have a “washing up” allowance to wash hands before/at the end of breaks and at the end of the day.
No draconian measures, just good effective management which works. We have a very tiny staff turnover, low absence rate and are a very successful company who never seem to struggle to get people to work for us. So it can’t be too bad working here!
I wonder if those policing the 3 minute rule walk around with a whip to chastise anyone talking?
After all time is money and all that!
Timeously, and further to my previous comment, ACAS have published a guide re Mental Health at work: http://www.acas.org.uk/media/pdf/j/i/Promoting_positive_mental_health_at_work_JAN_2012.pdf
It addresses (briefly) the issue of timekeeping as a potential sign of a mental health issue. ACAS guidance, of course, is not legally binding but an ET may take a dim view of an employer that does not follow it as good practice. This is particularly important because a significant proportion of people with mental health issues feel unable to disclose this to the employer. Draconian management of timekeeping problems, without a sensitive initial chat, will hardly encourage an anxious employee to disclose these issues.
If your contract states 40 hours and you only work 39 hours and 56 mins you are in breach of your contract. Our contracts state the 3 min rule (loose 15 mins per 1/4 hour), and I find that those who fall foul of this generally clock in 2 or 3 minutes late several times a week. Three minutes a day is 15 mins a week or 13 hours a year per employee. We deal with continual lateness (3 mins +) using the disciplinary procedure which may eventually result in dismissal. So if we scrap the 3 min rule more of our employees will have to disciplined as clocking in 1 minute late would have to be a breach of contract.
Seriously; how can you justify deducting 15 minutes for being three minutes late! That supposed to be an incentive to get to work on time? I know that a good majority of people would clock in and do not a scrap of work until they started to get "paid" for it. Your system promotes low moral, bodies in bulidings waiting for paid work to start does not mean your productive. These systems are flawed and do nothing but make people work to rule.
Sorry but since I work as part of a multi national company in 11 countries employing 6000 people we use what we are provided with by the IT department, not an “off the shelf” product from PC world and due to the company size do require a payroll department.
We have never had an argument about this as it is agreed with the union, it works for us, worked for my previous employer, and works for countless others, so I don't see a problem.
Gareth, my payroll system cost £99 from PC World and calculates pay using exactly what hours and minutes I enter into a simple box on the system - no payroll clerk required!
Can't really get much simpler than that.
At least that way - no side can have an argument about being paid for time they either are or are not at work.
Think about the poor wages clerks who have to settle wages! Our system permits increments of 0.25 of an hour, so someone who turns up 7 minutes late gets paid what?
By deducting 15 minutes, they get paid 7.75 hours instead of 8 hours, what could be more simple? Much easier than working out what to pay someone who has an hourly rate of £11.23 and has worked 7 hours and 53 minutes, when the system recognises 8 hours, or 7.75 hours but not 7.8833333r hours!
Not sure why everyone seems to be making the situation complicated. Why not pay them from the moment they clock on to the moment they clock off. It is possible to divide wages by 60!
As to lateness, then simply follow the disciplinary procedures in your hand book.
Is this the middle ages?????
I appreciate it might add a complication, and only occasionally will it apply to this particular issue. However, it would be foolhardy for an employer not to ensure they have considered/addressed such a potential cause, given that disability discrimination awards are among the highest of successful ET claims.
At the very least, a manager could take a sympathetic approach at a first informal meeting with an employer where you ask whether there is a health or personal matter that might be affecting their timekeeping. If not, by all means proceed as suggested. If there is, then it's sensible to involve OH.
Some statistics to bear in mind:
Mixed anxiety & depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain, with almost 9% of people meeting criteria for diagnosis. (The Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity report, 2001)
Between 8-12% of the population experience depression in any year. (The Office for National Statistics Psychiatric Morbidity report, 2001)
The Mental Health Foundation’s Sleep Matters report revealed that over 30% of the population currently suffers from insomnia or another sleep disorder. The report identified that sleep disorders put sufferers at significantly greater risk of health problems ranging from depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder to immune deficiency and heart disease.
Conversely, many people with mental illnesses, notably depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and panic attacks, develop profound sleep disturbances. Insomnia is a common symptom in many people with these problems.
While half of people with common mental health problems are no longer affected after 18 months, someone only needs to meet (or be likely to meet) the definition of 'disability' under the Equality Act for a period of 12 months or more.
This works for us and has done for years. 25 years ago I worked for a company who used the same approach and it worked then as well. As long as it is an expressed term, or has been agreed to I don’t see a problem, I can’t recall anyone ever complaining.
I think only deducting for the time a person is late would not possibly work calculating how much do you should deduct for someone who turns up 11 minutes late is just a pain, especially when you know they will spend the next 4 minutes telling their work mates why they were late anyway.
I think you are just making the issue more complicated than it needs to be bringing issues of mental health in to the equasion!
Many thanks for all your comments and suggestions. I have adjusted our proposed contracts to include a 3 min grace. I have also changed the contract to say that if a clocking in goes over this then they are not to start until 15 min past and will lose 15mins money and then after 16mins late not to start until 30mins and lose 30 min money.
I think that’s fair in conjunction with the disciplinary systems which will kick in after 3 late occurrences in a 4 week period.
It is worth pointing out that this is only aimed at bringing those who we are finding continually abuse lateness and we currently have no documentation to bring to task.
Once again thanks to you all it’s a great help to have this forum and those who post.
Not paying an employee for the hours they have worked can be an unlawful deduction from wages (s.13 Emp Rights Act 1996), except in limited circumstances. Where the deduction is authorised by statute (tax, NI), by the contract of employmemnt of by written consent of the individual, it will not be unlawful.
In general, I would agree with Susan's stated approach. However, be aware that there may be a health/disability issue (specifically, I'm thinking of mental health) where a fixed start time may be difficult/impossible to achieve- if this is the case, it is sensible to consider whether reasonable adjustments might be appropriate. It is the employer's obligation to ensure compliance/acceptance of colleagues in such a case.
Hope that helps.
I don't think you can deduct more pay than that due for the time not worked.
But you can set starting time blocks so that anyone five miniuted late then has a starting time quarter of an hour after the original etc. If they choose to start before the later time that is up to them and you do not need to pay them for the quarter hour.
However the more mportant thing is to stop the behaviour, not try and live with it but with a penalty. It makes your business inefficient if people don't start when they are meant to, whether they get paid or not, and it causes resentment amongst those who can get to work on time. You need a permanent solution to the problem not a "sticking plaster" approach.
I would certainly sit anyone turning up late for work down with their manager, EVERY time it happened and document the reason. It may be outside their control like a bus arrival time etc, in which case you need to discuss their hours, it maybe sheer laziness or lack of commitment in which case it needs to become a disciplinary issue.
And what about the other side, where people working in shops are on contracted hours. My daughter for instance will work 2-10pm when they lock the doors, but then there is the extra 20 minutes sorting out takings, cleaning and securing premises. Does she get extra for this, dont think so. Add this up over a year and it is quite a significant time and monetary saving for the employer.
If you expressly state so in your contracts, then yes. If not, then no.
Employees who are paid by the hour have to be paid for the time that they work.
I think that on the basis of this principle it follows that you may not deduct 30 minutes pay for 15 minutes lateness.
As in my post (number 3) we deduct pay if the late attendance is over and above the 3 minute grace period.
Hourly paid people work overtime by prior agreement, staff do not get paid overtime but "bank" any extra time worked as "good will". If someone then needs to take a short period off for say a dental appointment, short notice time off for child issues etc, their "banked" "good will" is taken in to account and the time off is paid and not classed as an absence.
This works for us.
I have read the replies so far and thank all of you fro taking the time to reply.
One question that seems to remain unanswered is as a company are we legally allowed to deduct money from an employees wages if they are late and have not worked the hours as stated in their contract?
A company i once worked for stated that you needed to be onsite 10 mins before the start of your shift. You were aloud a 5 min grace period 3 times a month otherwise disciplinary action may be taken. Thhe thing i got most annoyed about was the fact if you have to stay late you dont get overtime until for the fist 30 mins you work extra! This seemed unfair, terms should be equal i think.
But then it also depends on the manager, when i was managing staff if they were late then it wouldnt matter as long as they worked there full hours it didnt matter to me, 5 mins is nothing unless people start taking the buscuit!
Carol makes an interesting point. As an employer you will do little for employee relations if you are inflexible and for example expect late finishes but penalise late starts. A bit of give and take leads to much better relations.
Having said that the people most likely to get annoyed by someone who turns up lates regularly but still gets paid - are their co-workers who can manage to get to work on time.
The policy one needs can depend on how many staff one has and how easy it is to keep an eye on someones habits and nip bad ones in the bud.
I think it perfectly reasonable to have a policy that says if you are more than 5 minutes late 3 times in 6 months, then your starting time in your contract will be altered to start 15 minutes later. If other workers can get to work on time, but not a specific individual then personally I would rather make a permament change to a contract so the individual was then arriving on time, than allow ongoing excuses which annoyed the rest of the staff.
Even if you deduct salary if someone is late co-workers still feel the person is not pulling their weight.
Just a very personal way of handling this situation.
This is an interseting issue for me - can I ask what anyone does conversely about a late finish? At the moment we have a policy that overtime is only paid after the first 30 mins.
We do not deduct for late arrival although if it is too often we do use the disciplinary procedure (if informal does not work) to try and get the required behaviour change.