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Library Attendance Guidelines for Supervisors


Every employee within the Library plays an integral part in enabling the department to achieve its organizational goals and in providing high quality, dependable, cost-effective service to the students, faculty and staff of the University of California at Berkeley. We all accomplish this goal by performing our jobs in the most productive manner possible. In any work place environment, a most important component of job performance is consistent, on-time, full-shift attendance. In order to effectively accomplish Library goals and to assure the best possible service for our users, it is a Library expectation that employees maintain a good attendance record and that supervisors provide coaching and assistance in supporting this expectation. 

Annual paid time off work in the form of vacation leave is granted by the University to its employees in order for them to enjoy rest and relaxation.  While vacation leave is a benefit that employees earn, timing of vacation leave comes with the approval of the supervisor based on business necessity and needs of the unit. Vacation use must always be pre-scheduled and approved in order that coverage may be adequately planned. 

Employees who are absent for illness and have exhausted their sick leave balance may request to use vacation for the remaining absence. If not requested, or not approved, the remainder of the employee's absence will be leave without pay. Supervisors will want to consider many factors including the overall use patterns of leave prior to approving vacation use for illness. 

Whenever a supervisor has a question about the interpretation of these guidelines, or the appropriate application of policy or contract in regard to attendance, s/he should refer to the appropriate bargaining agreement, or personnel policy and contact the Library Human Resources Department for assistance. 

Library Attendance 

Regular attendance is everyone's responsibility. Employees are expected to report to their assigned work area as scheduled, on-time and prepared to work. If an employee is unable to report to work due to illness or for emergency reasons, s/he is expected to personally call the immediate supervisor or supervisor designate by the required time as specified by the unit. (See Library Staff Employee Handbook pages 12 and 13). 

Definitions of terms used in this document 

Absence: A scheduled work day(s) that an employee is not at work. 

Approved Leave Without Pay: Unpaid absence from work approved in writing by the appropriate supervisor or manager. 

Unapproved Leave Without Pay: Unpaid absence from work that has not been approved in writing by the appropriate supervisor or manager.  Examples of unapproved LWOP may include but are not limited to tardiness, failure to appear for work, failure to follow proper request or call-in procedures, failure to provide documentation when requested, and leaving work without permission. 

Excessive Absence (unavailability): Frequent absences to the degree that the employee's attendance is creating a hardship on the department.  The employee is therefore not consistently available for work (unavailability). 

Patterned Absences: Those absences which recur as a "pattern," and may involve consistent Monday or Friday absences; absences of days immediately before or after holidays; or frequent absences which fall on similar days or times of the month. 

Employees may be subject to disciplinary action for the following: 
Failure to follow the appropriate reporting procedures: 

  • Unauthorized absences
  • Excessive absences
  • Patterned absences
  • Excessive tardiness

It is important that employees be aware that their prudent use of sick leave is to their advantage. Supervisors should inform employees that an ample balance of sick leave may be needed in the case of a major illness, and that employees who maintain a positive leave balance may convert that sick leave into service credit upon retirement. Furthermore, any employee who is absent without pay from work for more than fifteen days in any given month will automatically lose leave and retirement benefit credit. With the exception of absences due to a work-related illness or injury, this loss of monthly credit will affect their UCRS calculation as well as any normal additional accrual of vacation hours, e.g., the increase in vacation hours upon reaching the ten-year mark. 

Employee absences not subject to disciplinary action: 

  • Approved vacation or administrative leave
  • Approved personal, parental, or family medical leave of absence
  • Absences for jury duty or other approved absences covered by contract/policy provisions
  • Approved time off for death in the family

Identification of an Attendance Problem and Corrective Action 

The circumstances surrounding an employee's inability to meet attendance obligations may vary. Supervisors will analyze records, discuss problem situations with employees and take necessary corrective actions. 

Consistent with the practice of progressive discipline, supervisors should counsel employees who show signs of attendance problems. Continued infractions may result in the following: 

  • oral reprimand
  • a letter of warning
  • a final letter of warning in lieu of suspension
  • dismissal

Additional types of excessive absenteeism, including patterns of poor attendance, that can create a hardship on the department and may require review are the following: 

unavailability (absent to the degree that the employee is creating a
part-time job when the department requires a full-time commitment) 
repeated absences that occur during critical operational periods 
repeated instances of absences such as Monday, Friday absences or absences that occur the day before or the day after a holiday. 

When appropriate, supervisors may take the same progressive disciplinary steps to address these additional types of excessive absenteeism. Each case of unavailability and pattern of poor attendance should be handled consistently as well as reviewed on its own merit. The type of action that the supervisor takes will depend upon the specific circumstances of the case. Supervisors will consider the following factors when considering what action should be taken: 

the number of hours the employee has been absent 
the number of instances (generally, one or two occasions of absence may be acceptable to the department as opposed to frequent one-and two-day occasions) the reason(s) why the employee is absent the employee's length of service and past attendance record the employee's demonstrated effort to correct attendance problems 

Supervisors will counsel employees regarding attendance problems and work with the employee by suggesting ways to correct the problem. 

Absent Without Notice 

If an employee fails to report to work and does not follow the appropriate reporting procedure by contacting the supervisor or supervisor designate, s/he may be subject to disciplinary action. Remember, employee emergencies do occur. The appropriate supervisor should attempt to contact the absent employee by telephone as soon as possible. If the supervisor is unable to contact the employee by phone, and the employee does not report to work the next day, either a letter or a telegram should be mailed to the employee's last known address. 

Requirements for Medical Documentation 

At the discretion of the unit manager/supervisor, employees may be required to furnish satisfactory proof (doctor's verification) of illness. If this is required, the supervisor will notify the employee of the need to provide medical notification upon return to work, or earlier as requested by the supervisor. 

All medical disabilities including personal illness/injury must be covered by the proper medical/doctor's authorization. Employees must have a written release from the doctor upon return from a disability or absence resulting from a work-related illness or injury, or a non-work related injury or illness preceded by a leave of absence. 

A doctor's verification is required for all absences due to any kind of work-related illness or injury regardless of the number of days absent.

Attendance Management Tools 

The management of attendance is the responsibility of all supervisors. The Library uses the following tools to monitor and track employee attendance:

  • time sheets and time cards 
  • written employee requests and supervisors' approval for time off 
  • monthly leave reports, signed by the employee and the supervisor leave
  • balance reports, prepared monthly, and sent to supervisors for distributions

Supervisors will review the attendance records of their employees. This review process provides supervisors not only with the opportunity to initiate corrective counseling as needed, but also with the opportunity to commend those who have good attendance records. All employees should receive from their supervisor, as a part of the annual performance evaluation, a statement commenting upon their attendance record for the past year.

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