Understanding Employee Attendance Point Systems & Their Impact on Absenteeism

What are the pros and cons of an employee point system and is it possible to use point systems to reduce absenteeism?

| Updated: Dec 27, 2021


To maintain a productive hourly workforce, employees have to be showing up on time and ready to work.

When executed correctly, an employee point system can boost attendance numbers and help keep your hourly team on track.

What Is an Employee Attendance Point System?

An employee point system is an effective way to improve attendance rates and on-time clock-ins.

When employees are late or absent, they accumulate points. On the flip side, employees without points can gain rewards for having great attendance.

The total number of points an employee accumulates determines if they receive a warning, are put on probation or are at risk for termination.

For example, if an hourly worker accumulates 10 points within one calendar year, then they get a verbal warning. 20 points, then they receive a written warning that goes in their employee file. At 30 points, employees are at risk for termination.

Employees can avoid added points by ensuring their absences or tardies are infrequent and cleared with their managers in advance.

Employee Point System Example




> 15 minutes late



15 minutes-2 hours



< 2 hours or no show


Unauthorized absence

What are the Pros / Cons of an Employee Point System?

Pros of an Employee Point System

  • The easy-to-understand nature of an attendance point system makes it ideal for managing a large staff

  • It is straightforward and gives your team concrete parameters to work within

  • There is minimal gray area on expectations, making everyone’s work-life run smoother

  • Rewards and incentives can be given for employees with minimal or no points

Cons of an Employee Point System

  • Absences can sometimes be nuanced - Did a transit strike cause the delay? Was there perhaps an extenuating circumstance out of the team member's control that caused the absence?

  • Exceptions need to be taken into consideration when outlining your points system, but exceptions can lead to confusion, so this can be a downside of such a rigid number system


Can A Point System Curb Absenteeism?

Yes. One study saw a 47% decrease in absenteeism when a grocery store implemented an employee points reward system.

A point system will curb absenteeism and tardiness by disciplining employees for their attendance discretions. But your points system can also positively influence your hourly team members. Six months with no points? They can earn a gift card or a free lunch. A whole calendar year with no points? They earn an extra paid day off.

So while the desire to avoid being on the receiving end of disciplinary action is motivating, rewards can also influence positive attendance behaviors among your team.


How to Create an Employee Point System

The size of your workforce, your absenteeism rates, and the number of human resource associates you can allocate toward the management of your absence management program will influence your approach to your point system.

  1. Decide how you will track points, from a simple DIY spreadsheet template to integrating point tracking into your absence management software or time clock system.

  2. Implement an employee call-out system with standardized questions to ensure absences are properly coded so the correct points can be applied, or not applied.

  3. Determine the disciplinary actions and rewards that will motivate your workforce.

  4. Add the points system to your attendance policy as a section or an amendment. (Don’t have an employee attendance policy? Then now is the time to create one!)

  5. Have new hires read and sign the point system policy during employee onboarding.

  6. Make the employee point system easily available to all employees for future reference in your company’s ESS portal.

  7. Ensure that your entire workforce has visibility into their points accrued so they are always aware of where they stand.

  8. Celebrate the achievements of workers as they earn rewards with team-wide recognition.

Remember that the success of your points system depends on employees understanding it and feeling motivated by it. Transparency and communication are critical, so be sure to allocate time and resources to these steps.

Leigh Reason is a seasoned content specialist with decades of experience writing on diverse subjects ranging from food to auto parts to human resources for companies such as Target, Citysearch, Healthline and Evite. She has also done numerous television appearances, including a regular segment on Los Angeles' ABC 7 News’ “Top 7” feature. When she’s not writing, she can be found baking pies for her dessert catering company.

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