Male in shirt

How to handle staff that are constantly late

In order to be an effective HR professional, it is important to understand that your workforce consists of imperfect humans, not super efficient robots. In light of this, things can happen from time to time in a human’s life that would disrupt the morning routine and cause them to be late for work. However, when you have a team member that is constantly late to your office or to their shift it can start to cause problems, and steps should be made to deal with the situation.

IQ:timecard is an automated, app based time and attendance solution that logs the arrival and departure patterns for every member of staff. If you notice a team member that is consistently late, try taking these steps to prevent it from happening again:

Make your policy clear

All companies are different, and while turning up a few minutes late may not disrupt the workflow of one business, if you are running an organisation that relies on remote employees meeting your clients at an expected time, consistent lateness can start to have a negative impact. Before taking any disciplinary action, re-iterate your policy to all of your staff – many may not realise that you regard them being late as an issue, and with this small push this could help to get them returning to work in a timely manner.

Find out what the cause is

Some members of your team may simply just need to set their alarm slightly earlier or hit the road sooner in order to beat the rush hour traffic, but if an employee suddenly starts to consistently turn up to work late then there may be some other external factors causing this change in routine. Call a casual, but private meeting with this member of staff to find out if there is anything happening in their personal life that could be affecting their professional responsibilities. Situations such as family issues, illnesses or other problems that would cause emotional strain could be the reason for them being late to work. If this is the case, work with them to create a temporary flexible schedule that can help them to manage their additional pressures, without them risking their professional status.


If a member of staff is aware of your policy and has no valid reason for turning up late, then it is time to take action. Follow the disciplinary procedures within your company to formally file this concern, informing higher management. Although this may seem unpleasant, some members of staff may not see that their lateness is causing a problem within your company until steps like this are taken.