Point System No-Fault Attendance Policy for HR: Here’s the Breakdown

Some people shy away from implementing a point system to track non-exempt employee attendance because it sounds complicated. But in reality, an attendance point system can be:

  • Straightforward & easy to introduce to your team
  • Fair and equitable if enforced evenly
  • Compliant with state and federal law if exceptions are made for protected absences
  • An easy way to document absences and disciplinary action to respond to complaints

This article will guide you through the basics – and offer important links – so you can start an attendance point system with confidence.

What is an Attendance Point System?

The short answer: It is a carrot-and-stick method to enforce attendance requirements evenly for all non-exempt employees.

An attendance policy that utilizes points is similar to the point system used by many state motor vehicle departments to quantify a driver’s performance behind the wheel.

Just like a good driver, a conscientious employee may have no points; and the fewer the points, the greater the rewards for the worker.

Conversely, the more points an employee accumulates, the greater the disciplinary action they can expect.

The Goal of an Attendance Point System

The primary aim of the attendance point system is to turn absenteeism into a mathematical formula, so emotion is left completely out of the equation.

When applied evenly and tracked in detail, the system should alert you when disciplinary action is needed and give you all the documentation you need to create written warnings and verbal warning notations.

Why You Should Consider a Point System for Your Company

Not only do chronic absences leave you short-staffed, but they can also increase burnout for the workers who do show up for the shift – and scramble to pick up the slack for missing team members.

Click here to see what the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) says about the impact of absenteeism on businesses.

If you’re reading this post, there’s a good chance that your organization is experiencing absenteeism and seeking a new approach for dealing with it.

Most workers will enthusiastically accept a practical point system that rewards good behavior, is fair, and is consistently followed.

Here are some common challenges that can be addressed by a point system:

  • Worker confusion with the attendance policy
  • Lack of manager understanding about applying the attendance policy
  • Employee complaints of unfair treatment
  • Compliance issues with federal, state, or local law
  • Lack of adequate documentation to settle a dispute or answer a complaint

The Structure of a Typical No-Fault Attendance Policy Point System

The concept behind the attendance point system is simple: If an employee is not working when they should be, the direct supervisor or HR department assigns points. If an employee exceeds the maximum allowable points, they are disciplined.

Here is a very simplistic example:

  • 1 point is assigned for arriving 20 minutes late or leaving 20 minutes early
  • 2 points for arriving more than 20 minutes late or leaving more than 20 minutes early
  • 3 points are given for an unplanned absence of a half-day
  • 4 points are assigned for an entire day of unplanned absence
  • 5 points are reserved for the unpardonable sin – no call, no show

In our hypothetical point system policy, point accumulations are rolling – meaning that the total number of points an employee has on a given day are counted for the previous 30 days.

Here are the trigger points for rewards:

  • 2 points mean the employee gets a $50 gift card
  • 1 point entitles the employee to accrue two additional hours of personal leave time (PLT)
  • 0 points earn the employee three extra hours of PLT and premium parking for 30 days

Here are the trigger points for disciplinary action:

  • 4 points warrant a verbal warning
  • 5 points earn a written warning from the supervisor
  • 8 points invoke a written warning and information about the termination process
  • 10 points win the employee termination and a severance check

There are many ways to work the points; you can use quarter-points and half-points or stick with whole numbers. If 80% of your employees would only accumulate two points in the scenario above, you would want to adjust the triggers for discipline and rewards accordingly.

In any case, you should design your point system based on the attendance issues that plague your workforce and incentives your team members would value.

Reliable & Accurate Point-Tracking

Your new employee attendance point system can do more harm than good if you don’t have a way to track the points that is easy, accessible, and safe from being tampered with or destroyed.

This does not mean you need to spend thousands of dollars on fancy software. You can track it on a piece of paper and a clipboard – as long as it is secure and easy to maintain.

Whether you use a manual or automated system, make sure it gets backed up/copied every time a change is made. Store the copy in a separate place where it is protected from hackers, fire, flood, and disgruntled employees.

Here are some ideas:

  • An Excel spreadsheet stored on your computer and copied to the cloud
  • A Google Sheets spreadsheet that is stored in the cloud and updated after every change
  • Specialized software – shop carefully and spend wisely
  • An employee call-off hotline service with real-time point recording and tracking


Employer headaches due to worker absences have been around as long as paid, voluntary labor has been a thing.

If you re-imagine your current process to include a point system, you can entice more employees to show up as scheduled – with less effort on the part of management.

Further Reading

How to Create an Attendance Point System Policy and SOPs

How to Implement a Point System Attendance Policy

Employee Call-Off and Point Tracking Made Simple

Reach out to CMS today to learn how a centralized call-off hotline can help you capture, track, and react to employee absences. Our industry-leading call-off solution includes point system tracking automation that can eliminate costly data entry and ensure that your policies are administered consistently and objectively across your organization. To learn more, click here.

By Last Updated: January 23, 2024Categories: Blog5 min read