Time and Attendance

A complete guide to attendance write-ups [free template included]

By Gustav Anderson

Oct. 4, 2023


  • Attendance write-ups are warnings issued to employees to address time and attendance policy infractions.

  • Attendance write-ups should include information about the employee and their role, outline infractions and previous disciplinary measures taken, and explain how the employee must adjust their actions going forward.  

  • Click here for an attendance write-up template.

Employee attendance is crucial to maintaining productivity and operational efficiency within any organization. However, there are instances when employees fall short of meeting attendance expectations — leaving managers and HR professionals in a difficult situation. 

Absenteeism and chronic tardiness disrupt workflow and place additional burden on other team members, leading to increased stress and burnout. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, businesses in the service industry experience some of the highest rates of absenteeism. Workforce.com’s own research corroborates this, with 31% of businesses listing shift disruption caused by employee absenteeism as one of their biggest problems.

As an HR professional or manager, addressing attendance issues is essential to maintain a productive workplace effectively. This is where attendance write-ups play a significant role. Attendance write-ups are formal documentation (or written warnings) for addressing attendance infractions and reinforcing punctuality expectations.

Free Attendance Write-Up Template

Throughout this article, we will delve into the essential components of an attendance write-up, explore best practices for writing one, and provide a sample write-up letter for reference. By understanding the significance of attendance write-ups, HR professionals and managers can proactively tackle employee attendance issues, promote a culture of accountability, and create a more productive work environment.

When should you use an attendance write-up?

An attendance write-up should be used in situations when an employee’s attendance falls below expected standards or violates company attendance policies, including the following examples: 


  1. Regular tardiness: When an employee consistently arrives late for work without valid reasons.
  2. Excessive absenteeism: When an employee develops a pattern of no-call, no-shows, or unscheduled absences
  3. Violations of company attendance policies: These could include failing to properly request time off or abusing paid or sick leave policies. It could also include failing to notify supervisors and/or HR managers before taking a leave of absence or not providing a doctor’s note after taking sick days


It’s important to note that the decision to use an attendance write-up should be consistent, fair, and in accordance with established company policies and applicable labor laws such as the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

What your attendance write-up should include

Write-ups should include several key components to address attendance problems and communicate expectations to employees effectively:


    • Employee information: This includes the employee’s name, position, and any other relevant identifying information.
    • Employee absences: Highlight the employee’s attendance record, explicitly showing the dates and times when they were late or missed work. If you use an attendance point system, be sure to provide a history of where, when, and how points were accrued. 
    • Outline any previous action taken: This could include anything from verbal warnings to disciplinary action
    • Outline the company’s employee attendance policy and how it was violated: Provide clear references to the HR policies or guidelines to ensure transparency and avoid misunderstandings.
    • Explain the importance of the company’s attendance policy: Highlight the negative consequences of violating it. Show how unexcused absences negatively impact coworkers and harm the organization as a whole. 
    • Highlight any further disciplinary action: Outline what the company’s policy says about what disciplinary measures will be taken after an attendance write-up. This could be anything from another written reprimand to termination
    • Instructions on how employees can reply to a write-up: It is essential to give employees the opportunity to respond to a write-up by providing feedback and/or insight into their poor attendance and or excessive absenteeism. Your write-up should explain how they can do this and through which channels. 
    • Manager and employee signatures and dates: Include spaces for the employee, supervisor, or HR manager to sign and date the write-up. This acknowledges that the employee has received the write-up and understands its contents.


Maintaining consistent documentation and following company protocols is essential to ensure fairness and compliance with legal requirements.

Attendance write-up best practices

The purpose of issuing an attendance write-up is about more than punishing or scaring an employee. It should be seen as a step toward finding and implementing a solution. Here are some tips that will help you get the most out of attendance write-ups

Be sure to have all of your facts straight

Presenting an employee with an attendance write-up is a serious measure to take, so it’s vital that it is based on indisputable facts. If an employee is chronically tardy for work, pull up their attendance record and highlight where they haven’t kept to their work schedule. If you use a digital time clock, you can get this information from past timesheets in the form of punch-in variances or even from point totals if you use a point system

Whatever data you use for a paper trail, you should be able to find it in your time and attendance software. Be sure to link these infractions to the policies that have been violated. 

Keep it professional

Objectivity is key when it comes to writing employees up. As mentioned above, your attendance write-ups should be based on facts and should not include any subjective opinions. Including something like “John is lazy and irresponsible; he clearly doesn’t care about his job and is always trying to avoid work” can lead to employees becoming defensive, which would make the situation worse.

Instead, highlight the specific issue at hand, such as “John has been late for work on three occasions in the past two weeks, arriving an average of 15 minutes past his scheduled start time without any valid reasons or notifications.”

Don’t view them as final warnings

An attendance write-up shouldn’t be seen as a precursor to termination. It’s just a warning and should be perceived as an opportunity to improve an employee’s behavior and promote good attendance

Map out the next steps

Your write-up should include what happens next — like what an employee needs to do to get back in line with your attendance policy and when this progress will be reviewed. 

On the other hand, you should also state what measures will be taken if the employee continues to infringe on your policy. 

Attendance write-up template


[Employee’s Full Name]

[Employee’s Position]


Dear [Employee’s Name],


This is an official warning regarding your violation of [Company Name]’s time and attendance policies


Attendance infraction:

On [Date(s)], you were observed [mention infraction with details on how it violates the company policy].


Expectations and policies:

[Quote the relevant areas of your time and attendance policies and include a hyperlink to where they can access them directly.]


Previous action taken:

We have discussed this matter on [X] previous occasions. We first [action] on [date]. Additionally, we [action] on [date].


Corrective action and further consequences:

This attendance write up serves as formal documentation of the infraction. Going forward, we expect you to prioritize punctuality and adhere to the established attendance policies


Failure to improve your attendance and address this issue may result in further disciplinary action, including [list specifics according to your company policy].


Improvement plan:

To rectify this situation, we recommend that you review and familiarize yourself with our company’s attendance policy and procedures. Additionally, we encourage you to make any necessary adjustments to ensure your timely arrival at work. 


If you encounter any challenges or have concerns related to your attendance, please communicate with your supervisor or the HR department for guidance and support.


Please sign below to acknowledge that you have received and understood this attendance write-up. If you have any questions, feedback, or concerns regarding this write-up, please inform your supervisor. 


Employee’s Signature: _______________________

Date: ________________

Supervisor’s Signature: _______________________

Date: ________________


Please note that this write-up will be kept in your personnel file for future reference. We trust that you will take this matter seriously and make the necessary improvements to maintain consistent attendance.



[Supervisor’s Name]

[Supervisor’s Title]

[Company Name]

Tackle employee absenteeism at the source

HR managers and supervisors should spend less time and energy on drafting attendance write-ups and implementing disciplinary action. The process can be demoralizing to both employer and employee. 

Having proper time-tracking technology alongside a fair attendance policy can help HR and Ops teams achieve lower absenteeism rates, increase employee loyalty, reduce labor costs, and improve the company culture. 

To find out how, check out our webinar, How to Reduce No Call, No Shows.

Gustav is a communications and product marketing specialist for Workforce.com. He has a keen interest in frontline labor issues, pigeons, and fulfilling every level of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.

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