Supervisors Call Shots on Leave Use

Bill Bransford, partner at Shaw Bransford & Roth P.C., authored the column Supervisors Call Shots on Leave Use in the Federal Times on December 4, 2011. The column is available here.


Leave management is a constant challenge for most front-line supervisors. As leave use increases during flu season and year-end vacations, supervisors should understand a few basic rules about the different types of leave and the extent and limits of their authority in leave management. In making leave determinations, it is generally the supervisor, not the employee, who calls the shots. The first principle is that being absent from work without leave or authority is a serious matter. It is the supervisor’s discretion whether to approve leave for an unauthorized absence. An employee who just does not show up is absent without leave (AWOL) and can be disciplined. The supervisor must carry the employee in an AWOL status and avoid the temptation to approve leave without pay (LWOP), which is considered approved leave. Repeated or lengthy AWOL of more than a few days can support a severe adverse action, including removal. If the unauthorized absence is converted to LWOP, the ability to discipline is curtailed.

Source: Federal Times, Ask The Lawyer