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Administrative Leave

The term 'excused absence' is used interchangeably with the term 'administrative leave'. Both refer to employees' absence from work, with approval, without a charge to annual leave or sick leave. This type of absence results from an administrative determination that the circumstances surrounding the particular absence are such that employees should not lose pay or be charged leave. Agencies DO NOT have unlimited authority to grant employees administrative leave. However, agencies may grant excused absences in certain circumstances, either for an individual employee or for a group of employees as follows:

Individual Employees
Excused absences may be granted by supervisors in the following situations:

  • Tardiness and Brief Absences - Supervisors may excuse employees for unavoidable tardiness and brief absences of less than one hour depending on the reasons for the absences or they may require that an equivalent amount of time be made up at lunch time or at the end of the work day. If this privilege is abused, however, absences may be charged against employees' accumulated leave or as absence without leave (AWOL) depending on the reasons and frequency, subject to local negotiated agreements.
  • Separation Due to Reduction-In-Force (RIF) - Excused absence may be granted for a reasonable amount of time to employees facing separation due to RIF. This time is granted for employees to conduct job searches, prepare job applications, interview for jobs, or obtain job counseling, etc., subject to local negotiated agreements.
  • Physical Examinations - Employees may be excused from work (not to exceed one day) for physical examinations determined to be necessary in connection with their Coast Guard positions. Employees will be excused from work for physical examinations incident to entry into the Armed Services or reserve components of the Armed Services. If such absence extends beyond one day, statements must be furnished showing the need for extended absence.  Excused absence will not be granted for periodic physical examinations required for certain retired military personnel or for retention in the reserves or National Guard.
  • On-the-job Injury - Employees injured in the line of duty will be excused without a charge to leave for the time required for the initial medical examination and treatment on the day of injury. For more detailed information relative to on-the-job injuries, see the Workers' Compensation webpage.
  • Illness During Work Hours - Employees who become ill while at work may be excused for a short time (not to exceed one hour) in order to obtain treatment or consultation in the nearest Government health unit or emergency room. Employees required to spend part of the day resting (as part of a doctor’s orders) or required to receive treatment in a health unit, may be excused for such time needed provided that not more than 10 hours of excused absence is used for this purpose in any three-month period.
  • Blood Donations - Generally, employees may be allowed up to four (4) hours of excused absence for purposes related to blood donation. This time covers travel, clinic time for blood donation and recovery time. Employees are not allowed excused absence for time away from work relative to the selling of blood.
  • Bone Marrow or Organ Donation - Employees may use up to 7 days of paid leave each calendar year to serve as a bone-marrow donor.  Employees also may use up to 30 days of paid leave each calendar year to serve as an organ donor.  Leave for bone marrow and organ donation is a separate category of leave that is in addition to annual and sick leave.
  • Funerals - Excused absence (as opposed to bereavement leave; see page on Sick Leave for Family Care or Bereavement) may be granted for periods of 4 to 8 hours to attend funeral ceremonies under certain circumstances: veterans of any war, campaign or expedition may be excused to participate as pallbearers, honor guards or as members of firing squads in funeral ceremonies for members of the Armed Forces of the United States whose remains are returned from abroad for final interment in the United States; employees may be excused for a period not to exceed 8 hours to make arrangements for or attend the funeral of an immediate family member killed in the line of duty in the Armed Forces in a non-combat zone area; federal law enforcement officers or firefighters may be excused from duty to attend the funeral of a fellow law enforcement officer or firefighter; the Commandant may authorize one or more Coast Guard employees to act as representatives of the Coast Guard and attend the funeral of a fellow Federal employee killed in the line of duty.
  • Civil Defense Training - Full-time employees (except those designated as emergency employees) may be granted up to 40 hours excused absence each calendar year to participate in pre-emergency training programs with State or local civil defense organizations.
  • Voting/Voter Registration - Employees may be excused from work for the purpose of voting where the polls are not open for three hours either before or after the employees’ work hours (whichever results in the lesser amount of absence). Unless the employees’ local voting jurisdiction does not allow for registration on non-work days, employees are not entitled to excused absence to register to vote. If registration is only allowed during the employees’ work days, the employees may be granted excused absence on the same basis as for voting purposes.
  • Emergency Rescue or Protective Work - Employees who are members of the Civil Air Patrol or other similar organizations, whose services can be excused, may be granted excused absence for up to three days to participate in emergency rescue or protective work during an emergency such as fire, flood, or search operations. (This does not apply to members of the National and State Guards who would be entitled to military leave for such service. See page on Military Leave.)
  • Change of Post of Duty/Permanent Change of Station (PCS) - Employees may be granted up to 40 hours of excused absence in conjunction with changes in duty station within the Coast Guard. These absences are to enable employees to make pre- and post-moving arrangements. This does not include an authorized house hunting trip associated with a PCS - such time is considered official duty status.
  • Ceremonies and Official Functions - Employees may be excused to attend ceremonies, view parades, welcome visiting dignitaries and other officially sanctioned functions which are of sufficient importance to warrant the attendance of the employees involved. Such excused absences may not exceed four (4) hours. Approval authorities for these circumstances are as follows:
    • First Level Supervisors - 59 minutes
    • Districts, Commanding Officers - 2 hours
    • Commandant, DCO, DCMS, LANT and PAC Area - 4 hours
  • Volunteer Community Service - Employees may receive up to 60 hours of administrative leave per leave year for volunteer community service. More information regarding administrative leave for volunteer community service may be found on the volunteer community service webpage.

Note: Not all circumstances have been described wherein excused absences may be granted. Supervisors, within their authorized discretion, should review individual circumstances not addressed above and consult with their servicing Command Staff Advisor (CSA) or Human Resource Specialist for assistance.

Group Dismissals

  • Group dismissals without a charge to individual leave accounts typically occur as a result of emergency situations. Information concerning group dismissals generally applies to emergency situations such as adverse weather conditions, massive power failures, fires, disruptions to public service transportation, etc. Employees in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area generally following the Office of Personnel Management’s Governmentwide Dismissal and Closure Procedures.  The DHS Undersecretary for Management issued Interim Policy 112-11, requiring DHS components outside of the National Capital Region to follow the procedures in the OPM Dismissal and Closure Procedures.
  • The following guidance applies to civilian employees when Federal offices are closed:
    • Except for sick leave, employees who are on pre-approved leave (e.g., annual leave, compensatory time off, etc.) will remain in that leave status.
    • Employees who are on pre-approved sick leave due to illness and unable to work will remain on sick leave.
    • For employees who are on pre-approved sick leave for medical appointments where the medical appointments are cancelled due to the emergency conditions, the sick leave must be cancelled, and administrative leave is granted.
    • Telework-ready employees must perform telework or request annual leave or other personal time off (accrued compensatory time, credit hours under a flexible work schedule, etc.).
  • In accordance with Coast Guard Telework Program, COMDTINST 5330.4 (series), during emergency  situations where the office is closed, or a delayed arrival or early dismissal is announced, telework-ready employees (e.g. those with signed telework agreement) are expected to work their regular work schedule, request leave or a combination of both.  The Office of Personnel Management issued a final regulation implementing the weather and safety provisions of the Administrative Leave Act of 2016. Under the regulations, agencies may grant weather and safety leave when it is determined that employees cannot safely travel to or from, or perform work at, their normal worksite, a telework site, or other approved location because of severe weather or another emergency situation.  Weather and safety leave is a form of paid time off authorized under the Administrative Leave Act.  It will generally be used in conjunction with an operating status announcement issued by OPM, FEB or the agency.  Employees requesting weather and safety leave must code their timecard in webTA by using the leave type: Admin/Excused Absence, and transaction type: Weather and Safety Leave. Employees must note the operating status in the employee remarks field.

Emergency Situations Occurring During Non-working Hours

  • In cases where offices are open as usual, supervisors may excuse employees’ tardiness for periods not exceeding 2 hours when tardiness is caused by emergency situations which develop prior to normal business hours; e.g., adverse weather, massive power failures, disruptions to public transportation, etc. Longer periods may be excused only in cases which are personally reviewed and authorized by a designated higher level management official. Before tardiness is excused, however, it must be determined that the employees made every reasonable effort to report to work. Factors such as the distance between the employees’ residences and work, modes of transportation used, efforts made by the employees to get to work, etc., must be considered.
  • Annual leave is charged to employees who do not report to duty under these circumstances unless it is determined by the designated management official that the employees made every reasonable attempt to get to work but were prevented from doing so. Similarly, when emergency conditions are not uniform in the area, employees may be affected differently depending on individual circumstances. Earned compensatory time off may be used in lieu of leave if appropriate.

Coast Guard Facility Closure

  • In the event it is deemed necessary to close a Coast Guard facility due to adverse conditions, employees are excused from duty without loss of pay or charge to leave, with the following exceptions:
    • Employees on pre-approved paid leave will remain on leave as addressed in the Group Dismissal paragraph above.
    • Employees on Leave Without Pay (LWOP), military leave, suspension, or in a nonpay status will remain in their current status.
    • Telework-ready employees (e.g. those with signed telework agreement) are expected to work their regular work schedule, request leave or a combination of both. On a case-by-case basis, teleworkers may be excused from duty during an emergency situation if the emergency adversely affects the telework site (e.g., disruption of electricity, loss of heat, etc.), if the teleworkers face personal hardship that prevents them from working successfully at the telework site, or if the teleworker's duties are such that they cannot continue to work without contact with the regular worksite.

Emergency Situations Occurring During Working Hours

  • Should an emergency situation occur during working hours, employees will be released in accordance with the guidelines applicable to the facility involved. Supervisors should exempt individual employees from authorized dismissal times under established guidelines only to avoid hardships (e.g., when employees’ carpool driver is dismissed earlier or when younger children are released early from school and no other alternative forms of child care are available to the employees). When individual employees are exempted from authorized dismissal times, no leave should be charged.
  • Whether employees are charged leave when an emergency develops during working hours depends on whether the employees are on duty at the time of dismissal:

    • Excused absence should be granted for employees on duty at the time of dismissal. Excused absence is appropriate for the remainder of the day even if the employees were scheduled to take leave later in the day.
    • When employees leave after receiving official word of the pending dismissal but before the time set for dismissal (with supervisory approval) in a situation not involving a hardship, leave may be charged for the period remaining before the employees’ official departure times. Employees who depart before official word of pending dismissal should be charged leave or Absent Without Leave (AWOL) as appropriate, for the remainder of the workday.
    • When employees are scheduled to return from leave during the period of dismissal, leave will continue to be charged until the time set for dismissal. Time beyond the dismissal will be charged as excused absence.
    • Employees absent on previously approved annual leave, sick leave or leave without pay (LWOP) for the entire workday will continue in that leave status for the entire workday.
    • When employees are scheduled to report to work before the dismissal, but fail to do so, annual leave, sick leave or LWOP is charged as appropriate. Exceptions to this policy should only be made in unusual circumstances.