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"Occurences" / Absentee / Missed punches - Massachusetts

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  • "Occurences" / Absentee / Missed punches - Massachusetts

    My employer has recently started a new policy in effect and I am questioning if this is legal.

    If you miss a day, or call out, it is 1 occurence. (this I understand, ha ha)

    But under their new policy (which we didn't sign any papers for) if you miss a punch, say I punch out for my lunch at 2, but forget to punch back in at 2:30 (and even if I inform them ON THAT SAME DAY in writing) they will mark you in their books as "1/2 occurence".

    What this means to them is, if I were to do this 2 times, it would add up to "1 occurence", or, one absentee.

    One of my coworkers had missed 8 punches throughout this year and they have counted it against them as 4 occurences, and forced her to sign a paper acknowledging that she has an ATTENDANCE problem because of this. She has gotten written warnings for missing punches, or sometimes punching in from break 3 or 4 minutes later.

    Yes - if you do not take exactly 30 minutes, if you take 28, or 34, or 31, etc. they are handing out these "1/2 occurences" - and they really do add up.

    This girl is on her final warning, ie: she can be terminated the next time she misses a few more punches.

    Is this legal in Massachusetts? It sounds really CRAZY to me - and when I went in for my 1 year evaluation I was told I scored a "2" because of all of my missed punches and taking too long for breaks. They even mentioned I had only been out twice the entire year, but my occurences were high because of the other issues mentioned.

    This seems really shady.

  • #2
    The solution is to punch in and out on time and each time! Yes its legal


    • #3
      Where did you get the idea that you have to sign something before they can change the policy? They don't need your permission or your agreement.

      And yes, this policy is absolutely legal in Massachusetts (and in all other states as well).

      The solution is to punch in and out on time.
      The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


      • #4
        I didn't know if they HAD to, I was just inquiring.

        When we were all first employed, about 3 months after, we had to sign a paper stating that we understood the current occurence/absentee rules. We were read the entire pamphlet and then signed one by one in a large meeting room.

        A few years later when it was updated and changed, we were never read anything or told in a group setting what it was changed. We were finding out as we were all being written up for taking 32 minutes of lunch instead of 30. Or 28 instead of 30. Yes, they literally are monitoring down to the MINUTE. It seems ridiculous and unfair to fire associates for such offenses, but, alas, I guess the employers have more rights in general!


        • #5
          Sure they have rights. If they are paying you for "X" amount of hours of work then they have a "right" to that. Now far as early punching. Many states "require" employers to document the 30 minute (or more) lunch break or face hefty fines from state. If you clock in early from lunch the employer is held accountable by state.


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