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Practice dilemma: Tardy member of practice staff

Your receptionist is repeatedly turning up late for work. What disciplinary action can you take?

Your receptionist is repeatedly turning up late for work. What disciplinary action can you take?

In the first instance, have a quiet word with your receptionist, mentioning informally that you have noticed they are often late and remind them of their usual start time. There may be a legitimate reason for this and it maybe that you can mutually agree to alter hours of work to accommodate any difficulties.

If there is no justifiable reason for the poor timekeeping, make it clear that arrival time will be monitored over an agreed period, perhaps a couple of weeks. If there is still no improvement during that period, and timekeeping is still sufficiently poor to warrant it, you should contemplate starting formal action in accordance with your disciplinary policy.

Whether this is appropriate will be a matter of degree, so for example turning up a couple of minutes late occasionally is unlikely to warrant action whereas repeated lateness of at least, say, 10-15 minutes, may. Remember to treat employees consistently when dealing with issues like this.

Where formal action is taken, this would involve calling a meeting and, if appropriate, awarding an appropriate disciplinary sanction in accordance with your disciplinary policy.

Alison Graham is a healthcare employment lawyer at Veale Wasbrough Vizards

Alison Graham is a healthcare employment lawyer at Veale Wasbrough Vizards

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