Absence Without Official Leave (AWOL)

Absence Without Official Leave (AWOL) is an absence that has not been authorized or for which a request for leave has been denied. It does not necessarily mean that the employee had insufficient reason for requesting leave, but rather the employee's presence is required at work.

Charging an employee with AWOL is typically a two-step process.

  • Annotation of an employee's timecard with a period of AWOL results in no pay for the time absent and may be charged in 15-minute increments. Under no circumstance can an employee be required to perform work during periods for which leave is coded as AWOL. Supervisors are responsible for notifying employees when they are coding leave as AWOL and why it was imposed (sample below). Recording an absence as AWOL for timekeeping purposes is not discipline; but could be the basis for a supervisor taking disciplinary or adverse action.

  • The supervisor next needs to make a determination whether disciplinary or adverse action is appropriate. The supervisor has the option of imposing no penalty, oral admonishment, written reprimand, suspension, or removal from Federal service. Supervisors should consult with their Human Resource Advisor in the CPAC for advice and recommendation regarding taking disciplinary action.

For information on disciplinary actions regarding AWOL cases refer to Employee Management Relations Program - Disciplinary and Adverse Actions.

Sample Notice

SUBJECT: Absence Without Leave (AWOL)

This is notice that your absence on (date) of (#) hours from (time) a.m./p.m. through (time) a.m./p.m., has been charged as AWOL, and has been recorded as such on your Time and Attendance Report. The time was charged to AWOL since (your absence was not authorized - or - your request for leave was previously denied).

This charge of AWOL is not a disciplinary action. However, any absence from duty without approved leave may be cause for disciplinary action to be taken. Such action may include a letter of reprimand, suspension, and even removal from the Federal Service.

Content last reviewed: 7/10/2009-RJL


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This page was last revised: 1/24/2011