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Does an employer have to give a grace period to employees before they are considered tardy?

Contrary to popular belief there is no federal law that provides a mandatory grace period before an employee is considered late to work. Some states have adopted their own wage and hour laws; however, I’m not aware of any that mandate any length of grace period.

Federal law, specifically the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets compensation guidelines for employees in the private sector and in Federal, State, and local governments. Under the FLSA, employers are required to accurately document all time worked and pay at least minimum wage for any time actually worked by non-exempt employees. Time and attendance policies are completely at the discretion of the employer.

So, an employee who clocks in just two minutes after his scheduled start time could be considered late to work and disciplined appropriately.

Employers also have the right to allow a grace period of any duration. It’s advisable to consider the nature of business before allowing or denying a grace period. In some industries even a minute late can create operational issues. Conversely, a small grace period for general office employees is common. Whatever policy is adopted, it’s important to clearly communicate it to all employees.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 9th, 2015 at 8:15 pm and is filed under
Attendance Management.
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