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How to Reprimand an Employee for Excessive Absences

by Kristin Swain, studioD

Reprimanding an employee for excessive absences is a delicate matter that you, as a manager, must handle with care. Managers are expected to enforce the company's attendance policy. An employee who takes excessive time off, paid or unpaid, needs to be reprimanded, but you have to do it in a way that does not set the company up to face legal repercussions.

Document the Absences

Document the employee's absences. Keep a written record of every time the employee calls in or is a no-show for his shift. Also note every reason the employee gives for the absence. Keep track of any instances in which the employee asks someone to trade or cover a shift for him. When reprimanding an employee for excessive absences it is essential that you have accurate and complete records of the absences to back up the actions you take.

Arrange a Meeting

Arrange a meeting with the employee with another employee or manager. Having another staff member in the room acting as witness to the meeting helps ensure that the employee does not accuse you of unfair treatment. Have the meeting take place in a business setting, in-person rather than over the telephone. Keep the meeting professional, provide the employee with paperwork documenting the company's attendance policy and his absences. If necessary, give the employee a written warning that you, the employee and your witness all sign. Keep copies of all documentation in the employee's personnel file.

Consider Suspension

Expect the absences to stop once you've met with an employee to discuss his excessive absenteeism. In the event that the employee is taking too many days off from work, you may have to take more drastic disciplinary action, such as suspending the employee without pay. Depending on your company policy, this suspension can last a few days or more than a week. Write up a notice of suspension for the employee that cites why the suspension is taking place. Both you and the employee sign it.


Termination is the final step you can take to reprimand an employee for too many absences. This step should only be taken in extreme circumstances in which the employee has refused every opportunity to correct his behavior. Every situation is different and your employee may have a valid reason for absences, such as a medical condition. Before you terminate his employment, exhaust all other reprimand methods. Give the employee a written letter of dismissal and keep a copy for his personnel file in case the employee attempts legal action against the company.

About the Author

Residing in Los Angeles, Kristin Swain has been a professional writer since 2008. Her experience includes finance, travel, marketing and television. Swain holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Georgia State University.

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