More Than Half of Workers are Late to Work at Least Once a Month

For many workers, getting out of bed and off to work on time can be hard enough without the added obstacles imposed by traffic, bad weather and public transportation delays.

Perhaps this is why 55 per cent of workers are late to work at least once a month, according to a new survey from, and 34 per cent are late once a week or more.

A recent nationwide survey of more than 500 workers and 400 employers across industries and company sizes looks at the prevalence of tardiness in the workplace.

Even when workers are running late, however, most will own up to it. Of the workers who have admitted to being late for work in the past, only 13 per cent have lied about the reason for their tardiness.

Working 9-ish to 5

The vast majority of employers (80 per cent) find the idea of “working 9 to 5″ to be an antiquated practice. Still, many employers place a value on timeliness. Half of employers (50 per cent) expect their employees to be on time every day, and 26 per cent have actually fired an employee for being late.

Some employers are more lenient than others, however. Nearly one third (34 per cent) say they do not mind the occasional late arrival, as long as it does not become a pattern. Sixteen per cent say they do not need employees to be punctual if they can still get their work done. (Indeed, 65 per cent of workers who arrive late will stay later to make up the time.)

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Why the Delay?

Traffic is the most common cause of tardiness among employees (27 per cent), followed by bad weather (19 per cent) and problems with public transportation (13 per cent). Trying to get their children to school or daycare is a roadblock for nearly 1 in 10 workers (9 per cent), while lack of sleep slows down 8 per cent of workers.

Avoid Rush Hour

“Many employers are willing to overlook the occasional late arrival,” says Mark Bania, managing director of CareerBuilder Canada. “When tardiness becomes a habit, however, it starts to negatively affect productivity and can even hurt workplace morale. At such a point, employers may be driven to take disciplinary action.”

Bania offers the following advice to break late-arriving employees of their bad habits:

  1. Mind the weather: Check the weather forecast so you can plan ahead for nasty conditions.
  2. Know your route: Download a transportation app to get alerts regarding any traffic or transit delays that could affect you.
  3. Plan ahead: Organize your purse or briefcase the night before so you do not feel as rushed in the morning.