Employee attendance write up sample

Writing up employees is one of the worst parts of management, but sometimes it is necessary to improve performance. Employee attendance is one of the most common performance issues leading to write-ups in workplaces. Employees who come in late constantly or have excessive absences can bring down your team’s productivity and increase other workers’ workloads.

It’s an issue that often must be addressed, but writing employees up for attendance does require clear communication and a fair, consistent processes. Find out when to take action on attendance issues and explore how to best approach attendance write-ups. Plus, explore samples and templates for writing up employees for poor performance in different areas of attendance.

When to Write Employees up for Attendance Issues

A little sick leave or a personal day is fine, but when does absenteeism or tardiness become a bigger problem? Find out when to write up employees for their chronic attendance issues.

When Previous Verbal Warnings Have Not Worked

The best approach to employee attendance issues is typically a more progressive disciplinary approach, starting with informal discussions or formal verbal warnings prior to providing a written warning or taking other measures such as probation or a performance improvement plan. If an employee has received prior coaching and warnings for their attendance issues and you have not seen an improvement in their tardiness or poor attendance, it’s time for an official write-up.

When an Employee Does a No Call No Show

No-call no-shows, or instances where an employee is absent from work and does not call out or otherwise contact the employer to let them know that they will not be coming in, are one instance where you may want to skip the verbal warnings and go right to a write-up. These absences are particularly disruptive to the team and manager’s workflows as the manager does not immediately know whether or not the employee is just running late or will be absent and thus cannot properly reassign tasks or cancel meetings at the start of the work day. A lot of time is often wasted attempting to reach out to the absent team member to get an answer, and managers often worry that something terrible has happened.

It’s also an unprofessional thing to do and a more overt disregard of the attendance policy compared to other unexcused absences. Unless a no-call no-show is the result of a true emergency, such as a major car accident on the way to work or a medical crisis that requires immediate care, most employers will give employees a written reprimand the first time it happens rather than providing an informal or verbal warning.

When Tardiness or Absenteeism Is Impacting the Business

Sometimes, an employee’s poor attendance can cause serious problems for the business. Some positions just don’t allow for a lot of work schedule flexibility and require greater punctuality.

If an employee is frequently arriving late in a role where a co-worker needs to wait for them to arrive to be relieved to clock out, tardiness can cause the company to rack up overtime expenses or meal time penalties while also creating a major inconvenience for that other employee. Similarly, employees in customer-facing roles who arrive late or call out last minute can hurt customer satisfaction by causing clients to wait or have to reschedule appointments or meetings unexpectedly.

How to Write Employees Up for Attendance Issues

Before we jump into the employee attendance write up sample templates, explore the process of disciplining an employee for attendance matters.

Review the Company Policy

Disciplinary measures, such as a written warning for attendance or an attendance-related performance improvement plan, should be designed to uphold the company’s established policies. As such, it’s very important that your company has a clear, written employee attendance policy in place and that you are reviewing it to verify that a policy violation has taken place before proceeding to an employee warning letter or write-up.

Document Attendance Issues

Document employee absences and lateness consistently. It’s helpful to be able to point to specific instances of misconduct or to be able to quantify the number of unexcused absences or late arrivals when writing an employee up. The easiest way to maintain detailed attendance records is to use a time clock or time-tracking software.

If your business is using manually entered time sheets or you are not requiring salaried staff to account for their hours, it can be hard to stay on top of employee attendance and timeliness. Managers can still document instances of attendance issues, but it may be less consistent and reliable.

Speak With The Employee

Having an informal conversation is a good first step before moving up to formal warnings or disciplinary action. Find out what’s going on and if there is anything that the management or human resources team can do to help. Are they calling out more because they feel burned out from an overly strenuous workload? Does their current work start time not work well with their child’s school start time? Did they just find out their mom has cancer? Give employees an opportunity to ask for help or schedule adjustments before moving on to disciplinary action.

Issue a Verbal Warning

The next step may be a more serious verbal warning, though some employers skip this step and issue a written warning. Verbal warnings are more formal than the conversation approach detailed above. These warnings are added to the employee’s personnel file, and the employee should be made aware that further disciplinary action may follow if their attendance does not improve.

Issue an Employee Attendance Write-up

Provide a detailed write-up describing the employee’s behavior, your expectations of good attendance, and the current or potential consequences. It can be helpful to list out specific infractions and previous discussions regarding attendance with dates. This form should be reviewed by the HR Manager, presented to the employee with a copy for their record, and then placed in the employee’s file.

Be Consistent

Try to follow the same standards and processes for every employee within your team (unless there are extenuating circumstances such as intermittent FMLA leave or ADA accommodations on file that require more attendance flexibility). Writing up certain employees for tardiness or employee absenteeism while letting attendance issues slide for others can open you up to accusations of discrimination or favoritism.

There won’t always be absolute organization-wide consistency due to differences in departmental culture, management style, and business function. However, managers should strive to be as consistent as possible with their direct reports and departments.

Employee Attendance Write-Up Sample for Excessive Absenteeism

[Employee Name]

[Job Title]



This notice serves as an official warning regarding your excessive absenteeism over the past [time period of issue]. Your conduct has been in violation of the [company name] attendance policy, as detailed in our employee handbook.

You have exceeded the number of allowable unexcused absences for [time period]. The company recorded that you were absent on the following dates without providing advanced notice or following appropriate absence procedures.

On [Date] you were given a verbal warning from [Manager Name] regarding your ongoing attendance issues. Since then, you have accumulated three additional unexcused absences.

[Company Name] understands the need for sick time and personal days, but the company also relies on regular and reliable employee attendance to maintain business operations and best serve our clientele. Your excessive absenteeism has negatively impacted your team and our customers.

As a result, we are placing you on probation for a period of 30 days. During this time, you are expected to minimize unscheduled absences. If an unexpected absence cannot be avoided, you must alert your supervisor, [Manager Name], as soon as possible to minimize work disruption. At the end of the probationary period, [Company Name] will review your performance. If the attendance problem still persists, your probationary period may be extended, or your employment may be terminated.

Manager Name:

Manager Signature:

I acknowledge receipt of this document.

Employee Name:

Employee Signature:

Employee Attendance Write-Up Sample for Frequent Tardiness

[Employee Name]

[Job Title]



In line with the company’s attendance policy, [Company Name] expects employees to demonstrate punctuality by arriving on time for all scheduled work shifts. Frequent tardiness is disruptive to the workplace and can negatively impact your peers, managers, and clientele.

In the past 60 days, [Company Name] has noted that you have been ten or more minutes late to work on eight instances. The following instances of tardiness were recorded in our timekeeping software:

  • On 10/2/2023, you clocked in 23 minutes late for your scheduled shift.

  • On 10/5/2023, you clocked in 16 minutes late for your scheduled shift.

  • On 10/11/2023, you clocked in 35 minutes late for your scheduled shift, which caused you to miss the opening of our scheduled morning standup meeting.

  • On 10/20/2023, you clocked in 19 minutes late for your scheduled shift.

  • On 10/31/2023, you clocked in 25 minutes late for your scheduled shift.

  • On 11/7/2023, you clocked in 14 minutes late for your scheduled shift.

  • On 11/13/2023, you clocked in 17 minutes late for your scheduled shift.

  • On 11/27/2023, you clocked in 36 minutes late for your scheduled shift, resulting in a customer complaint regarding a delayed appointment start.

You were counseled regarding your recurring tardiness on 10/11/2023 and received a verbal warning on 10/31/2023. Following these conversations, your attendance has not sufficiently improved.

As a result of this conduct, [Company Name] will be placing you on a 30-day probationary period. This letter serves as your formal notice that beginning on 12/1/2023, you will be placed on formal work probation. If, during the 30-day probationary period, you do not improve your attendance and arrive on time for your scheduled shifts, your employment at [Company Name] may be terminated.

Manager Name:

Manager Signature:

I acknowledge that I have received a copy of this letter.

Employee Name:

Employee Signature: