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What is an attendance point system? (free template included)

Want to know how to use the attendance point system

When employees start missing work more frequently than usual, it can quickly spiral out of control. 

In addition to draining the morale of coworkers, excessive absenteeism makes meeting business and department goals difficult. 

One effective method for improving employee attendance is by implementing an employee attendance policy.

While there are many different policies available, we’ll focus on the attendance point system

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look into the attendance point system, including its benefits and a free template to help you get started.

Table of Contents

Let’s get started.

What is an attendance point system?

Simply put, the point system attendance policy requires you to add points to an employee’s record if they are absent, tardy, or leave early. 

Employees are subjected to progressive discipline for repeated infractions, and usually, the business terminates a worker once they rack up a certain number of points. 

How does the point system work?

If your employee clocks-in late or leaves early, you give them points based on how late or early they are.

If they miss several hours of work, they’re assigned specific points. 

And if they miss an entire day of work, they accumulate even more points!

If your employee wants to get fewer points, they can call up their supervisor ahead of time and inform them that they’ll be late.

After accumulating a certain number of points, your employees are subject to disciplinary action.

New hires may be subject to stricter measures — they may be terminated for fewer points than employees who have worked for the company longer. 

Additionally, points may be reduced from an employee’s record after several months of perfect attendance. It ultimately depends on how the company sets up the points-based parameters.

Benefits of an attendance point system

Implementing an attendance point system comes with several benefits, such as:

1. Reduced absenteeism

An employee point system can help you monitor every attendance issue within the organization.

With attendance tracking, you can record regular attendance activity — helping you identify attendance trends by teams, groups, and departments.

With this data, you’ll be able to correct existing attendance problems and even anticipate future problems before they happen. 

And when your employees know that their attendance is being closely monitored, they might think twice about skipping work.

Your point system can help you track and build an attendance history for each employee. This information can be useful when it’s time for performance reviews.

2. Increases transparency

Your employees need to know why your management team makes certain decisions when it comes to tracking attendance.

Encourage employees to keep an eye on rules related to excessive absenteeism, tardiness, and other requirements outlined in your employee handbook. This way, they’ll be aware of any disciplinary actions.

Additionally, a point system can help level the playing field when it comes to performance reviews. 


Employees will know that managers are rewarding or disciplining them according to a written attendance policy and not personal preference.

This can prevent issues like favoritism, which, in turn, improves employee morale and productivity.

3. Improves communication

When employees are aware that supervisors monitor absenteeism or tardiness, they are more likely to communicate with their managers about their circumstances.

This helps managers understand why certain employees are consistently absent, which could improve the relationship between the two.

For example, if the employee is always late because they need to drop their kids at school, the manager can allow them to start their shift an hour later than usual.

The 5 main categories in the point system

While there are several point-based attendance policies, the logic is essentially the same across most companies. 

In general, employees rack up points for:

1. Leaving early

Some employers may grant employees a grace period at the end of each shift, allowing employees to leave a few minutes early or late. 

Alternatively, employers may grant fewer points if there’s a proven emergency or if employees notify the supervisor ahead of time. 

2. Tardiness

What’s considered tardy differs from company to company. 

Some businesses may consider being a minute late as tardy, while others may grant employees five to ten minutes before marking them for tardiness.

Some employers are more lenient, allowing employees to work at whatever time is convenient for them, provided they accomplish all their tasks on time.

Regardless of the way your organization operates, employees need to understand what behavior is considered tardy. 

3. Excused absence

An excused absence is when the employee notifies the employer about an absence ahead of time. 

Different employers may have different standards for when it’s acceptable to be informed, but generally, an excused absence warrants less severe consequences. 

The policy should state what is considered an excused absence and what isn’t. Additionally, employees must be aware of the correct procedure for informing their supervisors. 

4. Unexcused absence

An unscheduled absence is one where an employee is absent without first being authorized by their supervisor.

Different employers have different requirements for sufficient time to be informed. 

Some may require a warning a day in advance, while others may be happy with a notice 30 minutes before starting a shift. 

The absenteeism policy should clearly define several essential criteria, like:

  • Appropriate timeframe to be notified.
  • Definition of an unplanned absence.
  • Ramifications for not showing up to work.

Here is a list of attendance tracking software you can use for your team.

5. No-call, no-show

If an employee is absent for an extended period of time without informing their employer, it’s considered a no-call, no-show.

No-call, no-show is the most severe type of absence and may result in harsher consequences, including termination. 

Aside from unavoidable circumstances like severe injury, a few employers might consider not showing up for work as a voluntary resignation. 

And in the case of a no fault attendance policy, points are added to the record regardless of whether the employee is injured or not.

A free attendance point system template

Now that we’ve explained what to include, here’s a sample template to get you started. 

You might need to modify certain parts to meet your organization’s needs:

A. Objective

Regular punctuality is expected from employees at [company name] to ensure achieving department and company goals. Arriving late or being tardy leads to disruptions that negatively affect productivity.

However, we acknowledge that there may be unavoidable reasons for staff to miss work or arrive late. 

This policy’s objective is to ensure employees understand the process of notifying their supervisors of their absence.

B. Attendance and punctuality

An employee will receive points for tardiness, late arrivals, leaving early, and unauthorized absences. 

Note that an unauthorized absence occurs when an employee fails to inform their department of their absence. 

The point system is explained below:

Explanation Absence Points
Early departure Leaving more than 30 minutes early ½ 
Tardy 1-19 minutes 1
Late 20 – 2 hours 3
Absent More than 3 hours 5
  • Early departure: leaving more than 30 minutes before the end of the scheduled departure time.
  • Tardiness: arriving up to 20 minutes after the start of the scheduled shift.
  • Late: arriving between 20 minutes and two hours later than the scheduled shift.
  • Absent: missing one or more workdays or arriving more than three hours later than the scheduled shift.

C. Overview of disciplinary action

Repeated attendance issues over 12 months will result in increasingly severe corrective action leading to and including termination. 

Employees will be subject to disciplinary action when their total point allocation reaches the following levels: 

  • 10 points: verbal warning.
  • 15 points: written warning. 
  • 20 points: termination. 

If an employee is absent for three or more consecutive days, they must provide documentation excusing the absence, such as a doctor’s note. 

All employees are expected to inform their supervisor or department of their absence whenever possible.

Any employee who fails to notify their supervisor or department of their absence following [company name]’s policy will be subject to the following disciplinary measures: 

  • First failure to notify of absence: verbal warning. 
  • Second failure to notify of absence:  written warning. 
  • Third failure to notify of absence: termination. 

Employees are considered to have abandoned their position if they’re absent for 3-4 consecutive days without notifying their supervisor or department. Job abandonment will result in termination without notice on the third day of absence. 

D. Absences excused from disciplinary action

[Company name] will authorize unpaid absences without disciplinary action for the following cases: 

  • Funerals
  • Jury duty
  • Bereavement 
  • Medical appointment 
  • Car accident
  • Childbirth
  • Military duty
  • Extremely bad weather
  • FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) related absences.
  • ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) related absences.

However, bereavement, jury duty, and military duty require proper documentation to be given to the employee’s supervisor at least two days ahead of the absence. 

Supervisors will excuse a personal vacation day or sick day from disciplinary action, provided the employee has notified the department or supervisor. In that case, the Human Resource department will update an employee’s attendance record.

Disclaimer: This policy template is meant as a general guide and should only be used as a reference. This policy template may not account for state, local, or federal laws and other relevant laws and shouldn’t be considered a legal document. Neither the author nor Time Doctor will assume any legal liability that may arise from using this sample Attendance Point System policy. 

5 practical tips to improve employee attendance

Implementing an attendance point system can be extremely useful in improving employee attendance. 

However, besides that, you can take several other steps to improve employee attendance.

Here are a few tips to help you out:

1. Communicate

When noticing an increase in an employee’s absenteeism, have a supervisor sit down with them, and offer a chance to talk about it. 

Allowing the employee to explain the situation before warning of disciplinary action can go a long way in building trust. 

It’s important to note that the employee may be reluctant to share details about specific health or family issues, so don’t pry. 

2. Reward good attendance

Instead of structuring the attendance point system as a punitive measure for being late, use it to reward good employees who are consistently on time. 

It’s a great way of recognizing dedicated employees. It can also be useful for encouraging employees to work toward something positive. 

Recognition could be in the form of gift cards, vouchers, or a gift. Alternatively, employees could be rewarded with an extra day of leave or being given the day off. 

3. Train supervisors

Implementing absence policies and initiatives won’t do much good unless supervisors are aware of them.

Supervisors have to be up to date with the company’s attendance practices.

Here are a few things they should know about:

  • Attendance logging methods.
  • Current attendance and absenteeism policies.
  • Identifying common attendance problems.
  • How to encourage punctuality.
  • Knowing how and when to apply disciplinary action.

4. Set clear expectations

Employees must be aware of their attendance expectations. 

These can include:

  • Documentation required before requesting a leave. 
  • How to request time off.
  • How and when to inform supervisors of absence.

The employee handbook should contain all this information and should be easily accessible to all employees. 

5. Follow up with the employee when they return to work

Conducting a follow-up session once the employee has returned from leave provides an opportunity to enquire about the employee’s health. 

This is also a good way of seeing if the employee can resume their regular duties. 

If not, it’s an opportunity to discuss changes that can help them work better. It also shows you’re concerned about their well-being. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is an example of a point-based attendance policy?

A point-based attendance policy assigns points for each instance of tardiness, unexcused absence, or early departure. For example, an employee might receive 1 point for being late and 2 points for an unexcused absence. Accumulating a certain number of points within a specific timeframe can lead to disciplinary actions, such as a warning, suspension, or termination.

2. What is the rolling attendance point system?

A rolling attendance point system resets points after a defined period. For instance, points might roll off after 12 months, meaning if an employee received a point in January, it would be removed the following January if no further attendance issues occurred.

3. What is the point system at Walmart?

Walmart uses a point system where employees receive points for various attendance infractions, such as being late or missing a shift without notice. Accumulating too many points within a set period can lead to disciplinary actions, including termination. The specifics of this system can vary and should be reviewed in the company’s official attendance policy.

4. What is the employee point tracking system?

An employee point tracking system is a method used by employers to monitor and record attendance-related infractions. Points are assigned based on the severity of the infraction, and the system helps in consistently applying attendance policies. This system can be managed manually or through automated HR software.

5. How can an attendance point system impact absenteeism?

An attendance point system can help reduce absenteeism by providing clear consequences for unexcused absences and tardiness. By making employees aware of the potential penalties, they may be more likely to adhere to attendance policies, thus improving overall attendance and productivity.

Wrapping up

Improving employee attendance can seem like an immense task. 

With so many factors to consider, it can be difficult to judge when employee absenteeism starts becoming a problem and determining the best course of action. 

One of the most effective methods for monitoring employee absence is implementing a work attendance policy like the attendance point system.

To help you implement an attendance point system, use the free template included in this guide. 

Once your employees are aware of this system, their attendance will improve in no time!