Understanding Attendance Issues

Table of Contents

This information is provided to 501 Alliance members by Equifax Workforce Solutions.

Attendance claims can be challenging. You may have experienced cases that, no matter how much documentation and/or details you have provided, you often still did not receive a favorable decision. The key to understanding attendance cases and how the state will possibly rule surrounds the final incident.

The Final Incident

The final incident is important in all discharge cases, but it is especially critical when handling attendance cases. For any discharge case, the employer has to show misconduct occurred during the final incident. A general definition of misconduct is unacceptable or improper behavior in violation of a known policy that the employee knew could result in termination. Each state has their own definition and laws about what constitutes misconduct for unemployment purposes. For attendance cases, the final incident needs to show that the reason for that last absence was within the claimant’s control to avoid.

Reasons Outside of the Claimant's Control

If a claimant is able to prove to the state that the final absence was outside of their control, most states will find the claimant eligible to receive unemployment benefits. What reasons are considered outside of the claimant’s control? In general, there are three main reasons a claimant could provide that are considered outside of their control.

  • Illness
  • Childcare Issues
  • Transportation Problems


Documentation is the key for building a strong attendance claim response. Attendance cases often hinge on the employer presenting corrective action steps to the claimant, in alignment with the company attendance policy. Strong attendance policies are uniformly enforced and outline steps to be taken by management after a certain number of attendance occurrences have taken place. It is equally important to assure the state agency the claimant was aware of your organization’s attendance policy at the time of hire. Simply provide evidence of the claimant’s signed acknowledgement of the company policy or signed orientation checklist covering employer policy. Common progressive disciplinary steps are verbal, written, and final warnings for attendance related infractions. It is recommended that warnings include consequences and it may be helpful to reiterate your attendance policy. Corrective action documents should be presented to the employee, signed, and dated. Submitting copies of warnings or proof of conversations will strengthen your case.

Examples of records recommended to support your case may include the following;

Absenteeism or Tardiness

  • Attendance records
  • Call-off records
  • Time sheets
  • Schedule, including assistance offered the claimant such as schedule changes
  • Medical statements or doctor’s excuses
  • Company handbook and/or policy
  • Acknowledgment of receipt of the policy
  • Explanation of a progressive policy, if applicable
  • Records of verbal and written warnings
  • Opportunities to submit proof of inability to be at work to excuse an absence under the policy

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