I supervise a group of 5 employees and one of them is consistently late like 20 to 30 minutes. We are expected to arrive at 8am and don't have the option of working late to make up coming in late. I have spoken to this employee and asked what is the reason for his tardiness but he constantly comes up with different excuses. He does a really good job so I don't want to let him go. Any ideas?


You need to talk to your local HR about what options you as a manager have to deal with this. Policies will vary from company to company. When I worked for the federal government if you were late, you took an hour of vacation time. That will solve the issue very quickly for most people but it depends on your local labor laws and HR policies if this is an option.

In HR terms usually you start with a written warning. Then escalte through various steps. You need to be careful about giving your good worker leeway that the others don't get. If you want to fire someone else for being consistently late, you can have a legal problem if you allowed someone else to be consistently late.

If you don't want to bring up this particular person's performance to HR's attention, then go talk to them in general terms about what you need to know as a supervisor about how to handle varous employee problems so you can be prepared when they come up.

  • Thank you, what you say about fairness is very true. Since it's the one employee that is late and not the others I need to speak with the employee that's late and make that clear that everyone else is arriving on time and I need to treat everyone equally so if it continues I will need to write him up. We do have the option of starting at 8:30 and leaving at 5:30, I'm going to offer that. – Clement Oct 30 '14 at 14:15

Well, you don't necessarily have a problem. You have a difference in expectations.

Here's the real question: Does his late arrival directly impact anyone else? You say there is no option to work late to make up the hours? Is this a contractual requirement on a client site, or an arbitrary policy put in place by some HR wank?

If it's a site requirement, you say to him: "Jim, our contract specifies explicitly that we are onsite from 8 to 5. We don't have the option, so you don't have the option. Either you arrive on time from now on, or you need to look for other work. I'd really appreciate it if you can tell me what your decision is as soon as possible."

If it's an HR thing, you need to go to HR and tell them, "This policy is hurting my team. My top contributor needs some flexibility, and honestly, the rest of them would really appreciate it, as well."

I worked a contract site a couple of years ago who had a 9-4 Core hours requirement. I'd often come in at 7 to beat traffic both directions, and it worked great. Others came in at 9 and left at 6 for the same reason.

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