Excused Absences and Administrative Dismissal

Excused Absence

Excused absence is an administratively authorized absence from duty without loss of pay and without charge to other paid leave. Excused absence normally addresses individual employee situations. The time spent on excused absence is considered part of an employee’s basic workweek; therefore, Army managers/supervisors should use the authority sparingly. Comptroller General decisions establish some parameters for the use of excused absence. They limit the approving official’s discretion to situations involving brief absences. In addition, the Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Defense advise limiting the approval of excused absence. Therefore, where absences are for longer than brief periods, excused absence is generally inappropriate. Approving officials should ensure that the granting of excused absence is not specifically prohibited by law.

In accordance with 5 CFR 630.206, supervisors may also excuse employees for absences or tardiness of less than one hour (59 minutes or less) if the absence is unavoidable or necessary and the employee presents an acceptable reason. However, supervisors may charge an employee with absence without leave (AWOL) if the circumstances and/or reason(s) provided by the employee does not justify excusing their absence or approving another type of leave.

DoDI 1400.25, Volume 630, provides some examples of common situations where granting excused absence is appropriate.

Blood Donation: Employees serving as blood donors may be granted an excused absence for the time necessary to donate blood, recuperation following blood donation, and for necessary travel to and from the donation site. The maximum excusal for blood donation does not exceed 4 hours except in unusual cases.

Voting: Excused Absence may be granted to allow an employee to report to work up to 3 hours after the polls open or leave work up to 3 hours prior to the polls closing, whichever involved less time away from work. Employees on flexible work schedules will be excused only for those hours which their flexible work schedule cannot accommodate.

Volunteer Activities: Excused absence may be granted to an employee participating in a management sponsored volunteer project. This does not include volunteerism in general. Individual volunteerism should be promoted through established leave programs and the flexibility offered through alternative work schedule.

Administrative Dismissal

Administrative dismissal differs from excused absence in that while excused absence normally addresses individual employees, administrative dismissal normally addresses a group of employees. Administrative dismissal is an absence when employees are released from duty because all or part of an activity is closed. Employees affected by these actions are generally excused without charge to leave and without loss of pay. Commanders or equivalent organizational heads may issue administrative orders relieving employees from work when emergency conditions exist, when normal operations are interrupted by events beyond the control of management, for managerial reasons, or when it is in the public interest. An administrative order is defined as an order issued by an authorized official of an agency that relieves employees from work without charge to leave or loss of pay.

If an activity is closed before the workday begins, all non-emergency employees are excused from work with pay, even those employees who are on pre-approved leave. (Leave cannot be charged on holidays and nonworkdays established by Federal statute, Executive order, or administrative order).

In the case of a late arrival or early dismissal, employees who are on pre-approved leave for the entire workday must continue to be charged leave for the entire workday. The activity would have to be closed for the whole day for it to be considered a non-workday. See 66 Comp Gen 607

DoDI 1400.25, Volume 610 addresses situations in which commanders may use their authority to close all or part of an activity and excuse non-emergency employees. The following are examples of administrative dismissal:

Joe Smith (a non emergency employee) is on approved annual leave on Friday. A storm knocks out the power at the installation where Joe works on at 11 a.m. on that Friday. The installation commander orders an Administrative Dismissal to all non emergency employees. Since Joe was already on approved leave for the day and the installation closed after the work day had started, Joe will still be charged an entire day of leave.

Jane Smith is on approved sick leave for surgery. A snow storm occurs on Sunday night shutting down the city she works in to include the federal building where she works. Her organization head grants Administrative Dismissal on Monday for all non emergency essential employees. Since the Administrative Dismissal was granted for the entire workday Jane will not be charged her preapproved sick leave.

A summary matrix that outlines administrative dismissal and appropriate types of leave and work status is prepared for your reference at the following link:

Content last reviewed: 10/18/2012-BWR

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This page was last revised: 10/18/2012