Habitual Tardiness, Undertime and Absenteeism Considered Administrative Offenses

Officers and employees in the public service except those covered by special laws are mandated under the law to render at least eight (8) hours of work daily for five (5) days in a week or a total of forty (40) hours a week, exclusive of time for lunch.  As a general rule, such hours shall be from eight o’clock in the morning to twelve o’clock noon and from one o’clock to five o’clock in the afternoon daily except Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays. Flexible working hours may be allowed subject to the discretion of the head of office provided that the required working hours shall not be reduced. The head of agency has the duty to require all officers and employees under him to strictly observe the prescribed office hours.

In an office, it’s quite evident that there are employees who report for work late in the morning or past 1 o’clock in the afternoon. At times, others leave from work earlier than the prescribed eight-hour work schedule in a given working day.  They have all the reasons in the world when asked why they were late or why they had to take undertime.  There is a need to limit the number of times an employee is allowed to be tardy, absent or go on undertime because of its inimical effect to public service.  Hence, let us revisit the policies on Undertime, Tardiness and Half Day Absence and identify the corresponding sanctions/penalties for each offense which will surely prompt employees to render work within the prescribed period of time.

The CSC issued Memorandum Circular No. 16, s. 2010 promulgating the guidelines on Undertime which mentions that Undertime is not classified as tardiness. It states that any officer or employee who incurs undertime, regardless of the number of minutes/ hours, ten (10) times a month or at least two months in a semester or at least two (2) consecutive months during the year shall be liable for a Simple Misconduct and/ or Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service, as the case maybe.

Under CSC MC 23, s. 1998, Tardiness refers to the failure of an employee to report for work or resume for work on time. Any official or employee shall be considered habitually tardy if he/ she incurs tardiness regardless of minutes per day, ten times a month for Two (2) consecutive months or Two (2) months in a semester during the year. He is subject to disciplinary action: 1st offense is reprimand, 2nd offense is suspension for 1 day to 30 days and 3rd offense is DISMISSAL.

CSC MC No. 17, s. 2010 provides guidelines on HalfDayAbsence with conditions that any officer oremployee who is absent in the morning is considered to be tardy and is subject to the provision on Habitual Tardiness and any officer or employee who is absent in the afternoon is considered to have incurred undertime, subject to the provision on Undertime.

An employee who has incurred UNAUTHORIZED ABSENCES, exceeding the allowable 2.5 days monthly leave credit under the Leave Law for at least three (3) months in a semester or at least three (3) consecutive months during the year shall be considered habitually absent.  Those who incur habitual absence is subject six (6) months and one (1) day to one (1) year suspension on the first offense and Dismissal on the second offense.

There shall be no off-setting of tardiness or absences by working for an equivalent number of minutes or hours by which an officer or employee has been tardy or absent, beyond the regular working hours of the employees concerned.

-By: Florabelle R. Porras
       Records Officer – Designate