HR Management & Compliance

Employee Punctuality a Widespread Problem, and Oh Those Excuses

A new survey finds 25 percent of workers are late for work at least once a month, and 12 percent are late at least once a week.

Source: sanjeri / E+ / Getty

Broken down by age, 38 percent of those ages 18-34 are late at least once a month, compared to 36 percent of those 35-44 and 14 percent of those 45 and older. By region, 30 percent of workers from the West are late at least once a month, compared to only 26 percent in the Northeast, 25 percent in the South, and 23 percent in the Midwest.

Survey Methodology

The survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of human capital solutions provider CareerBuilder among 1,014 hiring and human resource managers ages 18 and over (employed full-time, not self-employed, including 888 in the private sector) and 809 employees ages 18 and over (employed full-time, not self-employed, non-government), between November 28 and December 20, 2017. Data for employers were weighted where necessary by company size and job level, and data for employees were weighted where necessary by gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, income, education, and industry to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.

Reasons for Lateness

In general, the usual issues are to blame for why employees are late to work:

  • Traffic (51 percent)
  • Oversleeping (31 percent)
  • Bad weather (28 percent)
  • Too tired to get out of bed (23 percent)
  • Forgetting something (13 percent)

However, when asked about the most outrageous excuses employees have given them for being late, employers shared the following:

  • It’s too cold to work.
  • I had morning sickness (it was a man).
  • My coffee was too hot and I couldn’t leave until it cooled off.
  • An astrologer warned me of a car accident on a major highway, so I took all back roads, making me an hour late.
  • My dog ate my work schedule.
  • I was here, but I fell asleep in the parking lot.
  • My fake eyelashes were stuck together.
  • Although it has been five years, I forgot I did not work at my former employer’s location and drove there by accident.

Implications of Attendance Issues

While these excuses are entertaining, lack of attention to punctuality is not.
A majority of employers (60 percent) say they expect employees to be on time every day, and 43 percent have fired someone for being late. By region, 48 percent of employers in the South say they have fired workers for being late, followed by those in the Midwest (45 percent), West (42 percent), and Northeast (38 percent).
On a positive note, the survey finds that 65 percent of workers who arrive late will stay later to make up the time. Be that as it may, overall, workers want to move past 9 to 5. Sixty-three percent of workers responding to the survey say they believe working 9 to 5 is an antiquated practice, and 88 percent think start and end times should be flexible.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *