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Attendance and Punctuality

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 1, 2015


Timely and regular attendance is an expectation of performance for all Vanderbilt employees. To ensure adequate staffing, positive employee morale, and to meet expected productivity standards throughout the organization, employees will be held accountable for adhering to their workplace schedule. In the event an employee is unable to meet this expectation, he/she must obtain approval from their supervisor in advance of any requested schedule changes. This approval includes requests to use appropriate accruals, as well as late arrivals to or early departures from work. Departments have discretion to evaluate extraordinary circumstances of a tardy, absence or failure to clock-in or clock-out and determine whether or not to count the incident as an occurrence. HR Consultants are available to advise supervisors regarding the evaluation of extenuating circumstances.


I. Absent

An employee is deemed absent when he/she is unavailable for work as assigned/scheduled and such time off was not scheduled/approved in advance as required by department notification procedure.

II. Tardy

An employee is deemed to be tardy when he/she:

  • Fails to report for work at the assigned/scheduled work time. In these instances, managers may replace the tardy employee for the full shift.
  • Leaves work prior to the end of assigned/scheduled work time without prior supervisory approval.
  • Takes an extended meal or break period without approval
  • Arrives to work past his/her scheduled start time may be replaced for the full shift at the discretion of his/her supervisor.

III. Time Clocks and Failure to Clock in/out

Employees are required to follow established guidelines for recording their actual hours worked. A missed clock in/out is a violation of this policy and includes:

  • Failure to clock in/out on their designated time clock (i.e. Kronos station) at the beginning and/or end of their assigned shift;
  • Failure to clock in/out on their designated time clock for the meal break;
  • Failure to accurately and timely report time worked.
  • Clocking in/out early (or late) of assigned shift without prior approval.

IV. Departmental Notification Procedure

Employees are expected to follow departmental notification procedures if they will be late for work, will not be at work, or are requesting planned time away from work. Employees must request in advance to their supervisor or designee and in accordance with departmental procedure if they wish to arrive early or leave early from an assigned shift.

At the time of notification/call, the employee must notify their supervisor when an absence is due to a documented/approved leave of absence (e.g. Military Leave, FMLA) in order to ensure appropriate tracking of leave utilization and absenteeism.

An employee who fails to call in and report to work as scheduled for three consecutively scheduled work days will be viewed as having abandoned their position and employment will be terminated. The supervisor should consult with Human Resources if this situation occurs.

Incidents of not following the departmental notification procedures, including No-Call/No-Show, will be addressed in accordance with the Progressive Discipline policy.

V. Progressive Discipline Process

Supervisors should monitor their employees' attendance on a regular basis and address unsatisfactory attendance in a timely and consistent manner. If supervisors notice a pattern of unscheduled usage of accrued time off banks, they should discuss this concern with the employee.

When an employee has been previously counseled under the Progressive Discipline Policy and/or the Performance Accountability and Commitment Policy, the totality of the circumstances will be assessed when determining further action. For situations involving suspension or termination of employment, the supervisor should consult with Human Resources prior to implementing disciplinary action.

Timely and regular attendance is a performance expectation of all Vanderbilt employees. Consequently, those employees who have exhibited unsatisfactory attendance which resulted in disciplinary action (written or final) during the course of the year may have the behavior documented in their annual evaluation.


An occurrence is documented as an absence, tardy or missed time clock in/out. While an absence refers to a single failure to be at work, an occurrence may cover consecutive absent days when an employee is out for the same reason.

The following grid is designed to provide guidelines when addressing the total number of occurrences in a rolling 12 month period, provided that the reason for an occurrence is not protected under FMLA or ADAAA.


NOTE: The total number of days an employee is unavailable for work as scheduled and the total number of occurrences are considered when applying discipline. For example, at Step 1 the maximum number of days the employee is allowed to be unavailable for work before receiving a Verbal Coaching is 6, regardless of the number of occurrences.

New Hire Orientation Period

An employee, within his/her Orientation period, who has two occurrences should receive a Written Warning; if the employee has greater than two occurrences within the Orientation period, employment may be terminated; should the Orientation period be extended, this rule still applies.


If an employee calls out of work the day before, the day of, or the day after a holiday, the manager will review the circumstances of the absence. Based on this review, the manager has the discretion to determine whether to count the incident as a regular occurrence or go directly to issuing a Written Warning for the holiday-related call out. If an employee is already on discipline they can progress to the next level.

VI. Departmental Policies-Approval Process

Vanderbilt entities may develop a departmental attendance/punctuality policy that meets the unique operational needs of the department. If the leadership determines that a departmental policy is needed, the department will follow its entity's approval process to establish the policy which requires final approval from the entity's Senior Executive Leadership.

This policy is intended as a guideline to assist in the consistent application of University policies and programs for employees. The policy does not create a contract implied or expressed, with any Vanderbilt emplolyees, who are employees at will. Vanderbilt reserves the right to modify this policy in whole or in part, at any time, at the discretion of the University.

Approved by Traci K. Nordberg, Chief Human Resources Officer and Associate Vice Chancellor

Approved by Eric Kopstain, Vice Chancellor for Administration