Recently my company implemented a points-accrual system for unscheduled time off- whether that's clocking in late, leaving early, or calling out. Any difference in scheduled hours vs hours worked that was not pre-approved at least 2 days before the missed time counts towards points. The points are removed after a rolling 6 month period.
Employees get half a point for arriving late or leaving early, and one point for calling out the whole day. In theory this is meant to stop chronic lateness, absenteeism, and other attendance problems, which I can understand. However, at 5 points, management is allowed to terminate the employee. This means that we aren't allowed to call out sick more than 4 times within half a year. Speaking with our managers the day before if we need to leave the next day won't save us from gaining a point, since even though it was approved it was not more than 2 days before. We get points regardless of whether we choose to use our earned paid time off or take it as unpaid.
The irony of this situation is that HR has recently been pushing for us to go home or stay home if we're sick, so that we don't spread the germs. A reasonable request, but now that we get points for missing work, it makes staying home less of an option.
Is this an ethical system for them to have put in place? Is there a better way that we could recommend to them for holding employees accountable for their attendance that does not punish them for taking earned time off if they're sick?
[EDIT]: for clarification based on info in the comments: a doctor's note will exempt you from getting points (only if you go to actually get one, of course.)
The rolling 6 months means that if I received a point January 1st, that point will disappear June 1st. A point received in February would disappear in July, etc.