How to Write a Warning Letter for Excessive Absenteeism

The Best Way to Write a Warning Letter for Employee Absences

Excessive absenteeism severely negatively impacts businesses financially. In fact, employee absences in the United States are estimated to cost employers $225.8 billion each year.

Financial consequences are steep for both hourly and salary employee absences. Employers lose an estimated $3,600 per year for each hourly worker and each salaried worker costs an estimated $2,650 per year.

Excessive absenteeism also influences other aspects of a business ranging from decreased employee engagement rates to increased turnover, which results in even more financial consequences. As such, it is imperative that human resources and business owners work together to combat excessive absenteeism in the workplace.

There are many considerations that necessitate the attention of human resources professionals regarding disciplinary action for addressing excessive absenteeism. From a written warning to potential termination, business professionals must make sure they have an appropriate plan to fight excessive absenteeism.

Best practice tips for building out an employee warning letter include careful consideration of the following-

1. Company Rules

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Before a written warning is ever issued, employees should be well aware of the company policy regarding absenteeism. The employee attendance policy should be readily available for staff members to reference in both the employee handbook and prominently displayed in the office space.

If an employee is not aware of the attendance policy at their company, then human resources have failed to properly perform their job. Not only should employees have received a copy of the company policy regarding excessive absenteeism, but ideally human resources should have obtained a signed document acknowledging receipt and acceptance of the attendance policy from all staff members.

Additionally, the company policy must be universally and fairly executed for all staff members. For example, favoritism towards certain employees will likely result in the company policy being undermined or challenged by other staff members.

Company policy should address specific employee absence types and any disciplinary action correlated. For example, while a family emergency would not necessitate a written warning letter, consistent late arrivals without prior clearance may.

2. Disciplinary Action

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Just as workers should be completely clear about the company policy regarding employee attendance, they should also be aware of any disciplinary action they may face by violating it. A written warning is a serious matter that employees should not take lightly.

There are many steps that human resources professionals can take to communicate the severity of a written warning to employees. For example, the employee warning letter should always be printed on company letterhead and delivered in a sealed envelope.

The written letter must clarify that a copy of the letter will be kept in an employee's personnel file in order to maximize its impact. For many employees, knowing that their personnel file will carry a copy of the letter is an additional disciplinary action within itself.

The written warning must make sure to state explicitly that excessive absenteeism will not be tolerated. Any additional disciplinary action that can be expected from the date of the written employee warning going forward should also be stated.

3. Letter Content

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When employers or human resources professionals need to compose an employee warning letter they may choose to research letter sample templates. The internet provides much information and many letter sample templates for addressing employee absenteeism through a written warning letter.

Beyond printing the letter on official letterhead, applying a wet signature, and sealing the envelope, the content of a warning letter must be both professional and concise. There are many topics that employers and human resources professionals should cover within an employee warning letter.

The written warning must make sure to clearly explain unauthorized or excessive absenteeism with corresponding dates listed. It is crucial to iterate that the absenteeism occurred without prior authorization and against company policy guidelines.

The employee must understand that the written warning is a disciplinary action and that continued excessive absenteeism will result in further, more severe consequences. Listing the anticipated disciplinary action that will result from any additional absenteeism without prior authorization is crucial to the impact a written warning makes on an employee.

Supplemental information like employee timesheets can be included within the warning letter for employee reference. Not only will this supply proof to the employee regarding their specific absences, but it also notifies staff members that their time is consistently monitored closely by human resources professionals.

Any adjustments to the standard company policy as a result of excessive absenteeism should be outlined in the warning letter. For example, due to the offenses, perhaps the employee now needs to request leave in writing even further in advance than other staff members.

A primary objective of an employee warning letter is to correct the offensive behavior, not to punish an employee without purpose. As such, an employee should be presented with a warning letter that encourages the staff member to get back on track.

The conclusion of an employee warning letter should state that further action will be taken if the excessive absenteeism is not acknowledged, addressed, and amended. The employee warning letter and personnel file will additionally be invaluable if a company must eventually terminate an employee due to their excessive absenteeism.

Key Takeaways

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  • Both human resources and business owners should understand the protocol for writing an employee warning letter to address excessive absenteeism.
  • Best practice tips for composing an employee warning letter include providing specific dates and advising in regards to future disciplinary action possible.

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