Correction of tardiness and absenteeism is one of the most complex and frustrating areas of Employee & Labor Relations for supervisors. Dealing with tardiness is an ongoing concern for supervisors and managers. If not dealt with promptly, excessive tardiness can adversely impact service to the public. If infrequent instances of minor tardiness are dealt with in an overly rigid and uncompassionate manner, employee morale can suffer.

This is the area in which a supervisor will have the greatest day-to-day involvement. It is also the area of Employee Relations where supervisors are most likely to ignore problems until they become chronic, but is truly an area where prevention and early intervention is required.

There are many myths and misunderstandings about the rights and responsibilities of employees and supervisors regarding leave and it is essential that supervisors and managers clearly understand what these rights and responsibilities actually are.

Legislation such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) have increased the complexity and confusion of leave administration. The County’s FMLA Policy can be accessed at

Like all other conduct issues, the key to avoiding problems is to set clear expectations and to address infractions firmly and fairly when they first occur. Tardiness and excessive absenteeism do not self-correct. If these problems are not addressed early on, they become ingrained behaviors and are viewed by employees as the accepted norm.

Any probationary employee exhibiting tardiness and/or absenteeism problems should be seriously considered for probationary rejection. Please contact your Employee & Labor Relations representative to discuss this option.

In this Section, we will try to provide practical advice on dealing with this complex issue in a direct and common sense manner.