A reader writes:
I work in a medical billing office. The attendance policy is very strict. You need to give 24 hours notice for anything that alters your schedule or points are assessed. Literally, 23.5 hours notice will not be acceptable.
There are no exceptions. Getting a call that a family member died and you have to go, gets you a point. Having a heart attack and getting carted off gets you a point. Bottom line, not working your exact hours gives you a point.
You are allowed 10 points and then you are fired. I know it seems like a lot, but when death, major illness, and even a minute late from lunch is factored in it can add up, as well as trying to get the point off.
You have 60 days to remove a point and if you get even a half point within that time, all “time served” to get rid of the first point is erased and you start fresh from that last point. You then have 4 months to erase 2 points. And it keeps accumulating as you get more points. One minute late on an ice storm day can mess it all up for you.
Our work is not dependent on the particular hours we work. The 8 hour job can be done between 6 am & 7 pm. A minute late once in a while will have no impact on getting the work done. A small amount of the office are on the phones for patients. The rest of us call insurance companies as needed but are not attached to the phones, bascially listen to Ipods, and do our work. I am not suggesting that because of that we can come and go as we please. I just want to give you an idea of the jobs we do.
The end result is high turnover, as well as people simply not going to work. Even if you come in early, go to an appointment, come back and work 8 hours, you still get a point. So, people don’t go to work. It boggles my mind why the company would view no productivity as an option as opposed to working with an employee and getting a full 8 hours of work.
There are no incentives for good attendance. A manager once asked us in a meeting why we worry about it, “It is not like you get a million dollars if you have no points.” That was an unprofessional and pretty pathetic statement. We worry about it because of YOUR policies regarding it. We worry because you just said we’d be fired for getting points.
What am I missing with this policy? I am not advocating that employees can come and go as they please, but I just don’t get the assessing of a point when someone dies type of thing or the half a point for a rare late punch in.
It’s ridiculous. They’re treating you like wayward teens who can’t be trusted to get your work done any other way.
People who manage like this don’t know how to do it any better. They don’t trust that they can treat people like professional adults and still get the work they need done. They don’t know how to allow for judgment calls and shades of grey while still being fair overall. And they don’t know how to effectively handle employees who have a real attendance or punctuality problem.
So they devise ridiculously rigid, punitive schemes like this … which ensure that any good employee who gets an opportunity to leave will take it.
I’m going to guess that the rest of their practices aren’t exactly models of effective management either. You don’t get policies like this in places that are well run.
You can read an update to this post here.