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Minimize employee absence and schedule juggling for the summer season

Let’s be honest, at the best of times managing the employees of your small business can feel like herding cats. Add beach-worthy weather, and employee absences and schedule changes somehow magically increase. But clarifying expectations surrounding scheduling and implementing policies specific to absenteeism and tardiness can help save you from the seventh circle of scheduling hell and can increase productivity and even workplace morale.


There is not a lot of leeway in the Employment Standards Act for employer discretion, but scheduling is one of those rarities. While an employer should try to adhere to an agreed-upon work schedule outlined by the employment contract, employers do have the right to schedule employees as needed, provided they give advanced notice. Employees cannot decline shifts without good reason, if their contract clearly states this expectation. Employees do, however, have the right to decline overtime hours, if not otherwise specified in the employment contract.

If the employment contract does not provide for this already, you may want to draft a policy specific to your workplace that informs employees of the expectations surrounding scheduling (that they will be scheduled at your discretion) and the expectations surrounding shift coverage when they cannot make it. These policies should be specific to your business, industry and expectations, and can be implemented at any time. Additionally, you may want to address expectations surrounding absenteeism, and have a policy prepared regarding sick days and medical notes in place.

Outlining expectations of your employees, and informing the employees of what to expect from the company surrounding scheduling, can lead to smoother, more efficient operations, and a generally happier workplace. If you have any questions or would like assistance drafting these policies, contact Business Resources today! [email protected] or 1.888.234.2232