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Pandemic FAQ

Question
If a supervisor orders an employee to leave work, will the employee be placed on administrative leave, or be required to use his/ her annual or sick leave?
Answer
Excused absence (administrative leave) is not an entitlement, and supervisors are not required to grant it.  An agency’s determination to provide excused absence should be consistent with the Administration’s Governmentwide policy on granting excused absence during a pandemic influenza.  That policy will be addressed in separate guidance. Obtaining an employee’s agreement to take sick leave, annual leave, or leave without pay is preferable, but in some circumstances, a supervisor may require an employee to use his or her sick or annual leave or place an employee in a leave without pay status pending inquiry into the employee’s medical condition.  Such an action would be enforced leave.  In addition, in rare circumstances when the agency has legitimate concerns that an employee's medical condition makes his continued presence in the workplace dangerous or inappropriate, a supervisor may place the employee on indefinite suspension in a non-pay, non-duty status pending a determination that the employee is fit for duty.  These actions generally require advance notice, opportunity to reply, and an agency decision.  The agency must have documentation sufficient to prove that its action was justified, and the employee may have the right to grieve or appeal the action taken. In the case of a pandemic, agency personnel actions aimed at preventing the spread of a disease may occur because of the guidance or directive of public health officials regarding the general danger to public health.  Supervisors should consult their human resources staff prior to effecting either enforced leave or indefinite suspension.


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