Company fines workers $10 for each late minute

The venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz says it's one way to get employees to take punctuality seriously.

By Aimee Picchi Feb 11, 2013 2:31PM

Big Business meeting -- Chaos, Digital Vision, Getty ImagesShowing up late for meetings can be a sign of disrespect, disorganization or even a strategy to prove your time is more valuable than others. 

Ben Horowitz, a co-founder of venture capital company Andreessen Horowitz, says showing up late for meetings is a problem that plagues his industry -- and it demonstrates a "lack of respect" that he wanted to root out of his own office, he tells Fortune in a video interview.

Entrepreneurs, Horowitz explained, are under tremendous strain, working around the clock, and show up to venture capital companies in the hope of getting funding. What happens next isn't pretty, he added. "The first thing you get is you go to meet with them and you sit in the lobby for 45 minutes. . . because they are very important people," he said.

Horowitz Andreessen invests in technology companies and startups, ranging from Groupon (GRPN) to Pinterest, according to its website. Co-founder Marc Andreessen is an entrepreneur himself, having co-founded Netscape, which helped commercialize the Internet in the 1990s with an early Web browser. Horowitz was one of Netscape's first product managers. 

"We said, 'Look, we want to make sure everyone in this firm respects the entrepreneur and respects that they are the ones that are going to make us the money," Horowitz added. With the fine, "we tend to be on time."

Asked about the biggest fines he's collected, Horowitz said he once nabbed Andreessen for $180. "When someone has to pay $80 for being eight minutes late, they say, 'Why? Why are you charging me so much money? I had to go to the bathroom," he said. 

One top technology executive would likely be racking up huge fines, based on a recent report from Business Insider. Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Marissa Mayer is "late all the time," according to the story. She can be at least an hour tardy for meetings with her employees, the piece says.

While Horowitz points to venture capital as a place where tardiness is common, it's not unknown to other industries, ranging from health care to cable providers. 

One cable company has taken a similar tactic to winning over its customers. Comcast (CMCSA) has a guarantee that seeks to battle that image. If they're late or don't show up for an appointment, they give those customers a $20 credit. 

More on moneyNOW

Feb 11, 2013 5:04PM
I'm all good with that, but remember that YOU'LL pay me 10 bucks a minute if you ask me to stay longer than my expected shift.
Feb 11, 2013 5:20PM
Problem I've found over the years is that most companies have way to many damn meetings.  Most are counter active and meaningless.  Usually someone trying to be a big wig to cover his/her butt.  Way to much talk and not enough action.
i wish my dr. had to pay 10$ a minute for all the time patients still in her waiting room   last visit i waited 1.5 hrs to get in and only saw the nurse ... i told them not to bill me i wont be back........
Feb 11, 2013 3:21PM
i retired after a career in teaching.  When you're responsible for dozens of kids you are NOT late.  Bathroom, flat tire, etc. is a VERY rare excuse.  Once I had a mid-day doctor's appointment about a ripped Achilles tendon in the days before cell phones were common and found myself trapped behind an accident on an expressway while rushing back to school to teach my next class.  When I got there, I was nearly 30 minutes late.  Fortunately, the class was a gifted and talented chemistry class and those 25 or so cream-of-the-crop students sat quietly enough in a classroom that had no doors and 2 feet of open space at the top of each wall such that no teacher noticed they didn't have a teacher in the classroom!  THAT is what happens in a classroom where the teacher demands behavioral standards and has students with parents who expect the same: that's how they become "gifted and talented" kids!  That was my ONLY lateness in 3 decades of teaching.  But things have changed.  Today, companies in my area (as an industrial chief chemist before I became a teacher, I'm paid some summers to study companies from construction to airlines for the school system to see if our schools are meeting their needs) are often rewarding young employees with days off if they show up every day for a month without being late!
Feb 11, 2013 4:08PM

Clearly this is an article grounded in a world that didn't exist some years ago. That world didn't fine you for being late for a meeting: You didn't have to show, given that you didn't any longer have a job.


It may not be true that everyone can be replaced with mental midgets, but everyone is replaceable -  and in a very short amount of time.



Feb 11, 2013 7:50PM
Wouldn't it be perfect to be able to charge back a doctor for his late arrival for your appointment?  You want a $50.00 co-pay?  Don't leave me waiting 2 hours while you dally around with drug company reps! 
Feb 11, 2013 3:25PM
I do have to give kudos to Comcast for giving a $20 credit when they are late for an appointment, as noted at the end of the story.  I had a Comcast installer who was 20 minutes late for the appointment window he provided and gave me the $20 credit without me having to ask for it.
Feb 11, 2013 4:21PM
Time is obviously money, If your late; your not concerned enough to care about the hand that feeds you. better be on time or you may go hungry.
Feb 11, 2013 8:21PM
My co workers are twenty to thirty min late everyday. I come on time and end up doing their jobs and mine. We are health care workers and the patients suffer b/c they have to wait an inordinate amt of time for much needed help. Upper mgmt does nothing about it. I think this guy has the right idea. You agree to a time in and out when you take the job. Some people only understand a hit in the pocketbook.
Feb 11, 2013 5:10PM
As long as everyone who is attending this meeting is treated the same then there should be no issue,  I have also heard CEO Marissa Mayer has no respect for others especially her employees, if I heard wrong I apologize   but I have heard  that more than once or twice.


Feb 11, 2013 7:42PM
One of my ex co-workers that shared my job duties was averaging 22 minutes late per day. This worked out to more paid time off from work than I took for vacation time each year. I also got all the morning calls that were supposed to be shared between us, keeping me from getting my other duties done. I think the $10.00 per late minute is a great idea, and would have cost my co-worker more per day than his wages were.
Feb 11, 2013 11:17PM
Doctor's take the cake with being late. If I don't give 24 hours notice, I'm penalized $100.  When I patiently (ha) wait two hours give or take, I'd like to charge the doctor for my waiting time. I think $25 per hour is reasonable.  I call it the reverse penality.
Feb 11, 2013 7:43PM

Occasional tardiness is not unreasonable, but habitually being late is inexcusable and the offender should be penalized, if not fired.  Many times it's not just you that is effected, but an entire crew or an entire office.


Consider this: 10 minutes a day X 250 day average per year = 42 rounded hours

42 X $20 hr  = $ 840.00 that you stole from your employer in a year + everyone you held up

Feb 11, 2013 8:35PM

And the

Boys And Girls club charges $3.00 a minute if you pick up your kids late .

But just try telling you boss that family comes first !

Feb 11, 2013 5:50PM
     Receiving the 10.00 is not the motivation of acquiring money for the company, rather, It is the penalty for wasting peoples time. If you have to go to the bathroom, then go earlier.  If you are stuck in traffic, leave earlier. Have a plan and be responsible. People who are late show that they have no planning skills and are irresponsible. They are not more important than the people who showed up on time.
Feb 11, 2013 11:20PM

Most meetings are a big waste of time. Anything over 30-60 mins,you are talking about the weather;

Unless you are a Moron..

Feb 11, 2013 4:55PM
I've waited for Comcast. $20 is not nearly enough. (I finally gave up and switched to another company.)
Feb 11, 2013 6:35PM
with such employer it is better to call in sick than be late. the sickness is not pre-planned. and you may have a rough night due to bouts of expected cough and stuffy nose and the morning wake up headache and not show up for the meeting. commuting to work on public transport, in new york city  can be another reason for tardiness. 
Feb 11, 2013 5:02PM
Now you know why they are called a venture Capital company...nice of them to raise money from their own employees...still I do not condom is a red flag that's for sure.
Someone should share this with every doctor and dentist office!
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