If you and the company do not have firm, unambiguous expectations for attendance, and aren't consistent with enforcement, you will continue to have attendance problems. If they know there are no consequences, who blames them for pushing the line ?
I've been in private business and management for the majority of my working life. I've seen both sides. The clear, firmly established policies work. Anything less is failure. Yes, you may lose some folks up front, but the ones you lose weren't the ones you want to keep anyway. When the attrition settles out, you'll have good employees that value their jobs. And if it's a good company to work for anyway, you'll have very little attrition.
There really isn't another answer to your issue.