In a company, if an employee is being late, their wages for that month will be docked (one-time decrease).

There is a thing called "late-coupon", some kind of get-out-of-jail-free card that could make the employee exempt from punishment.

For example, employee A was being late one time last month and he didn't have any late-coupons, his wage for last month will be docked. Employee B was being late one time last month and he had one late-coupon, his wage for last month will not be docked and his late-coupon was used.

Is there a phrase or a word to refer to that "late-coupon"?

  • Is there anywhere such an awful country whose laws allow such practices? Commented Jun 29, 2020 at 16:08

2 Answers 2


Any number of terms for a release from some obligation or another may apply depending on its formality and terms (e.g. license, permit, warrant) and on its physical representation, if any (e.g. card, slip, chit). For the situation you describe, the most generic term is arguably pass. As the Merriam-Webster Learners Dictionary puts it:

a card or ticket which shows that you are allowed to enter or leave a particular place or to ride a vehicle

  • a one-day/weekend/season pass to the amusement park
  • Each new student will be given a bus pass. [=a ticket that permits you to ride the bus]
  • We won backstage passes [=cards that allow you to go behind the stage] for tonight's concert.
  • (US) You have to get a hall pass [=a card that shows you have permission to be out of class during class time] from the teacher.

The formal term for being late for a work shift or school period, at least in AmE, is tardiness. A document which allows a student to enter the classroom after class has already begun is a tardy pass or tardy slip, though simply late pass is also common. But these are for children, and in my experience, in the present-day, such things would be unusual in the American workplace. Borrowing school terminology may therefore be seen as demeaning or disrespectful, in which case inventing a novel term may be preferable.

  • Thank you. Does "another" in "Any number of terms for a release from some obligation or another" mean something different from obligation, such as punishment?
    – JJJohn
    Commented Jun 30, 2020 at 14:04

This is not a standard practice by human resources departments. If your company has a scheme like this, it can call them anything it likes. If "Late Coupon" makes sense to you that's fine. You will have to explain the system to anyone who joins, so the name just has to make sense.

  • I think "Late Pass" would work well too
    – Kevin
    Commented Jun 29, 2020 at 14:22

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