In every organization, there are rules and procedures that govern the use of time off. There are specific rules about how much sick leave, vacation, or personal days you can earn in a year and how many working hours are needed before becoming eligible for certain benefits like health insurance. Employers also have rules on when you must give notice if resigning from your position or giving two weeks notice before taking a vacation. Administrative leave is authorized time off for official business reasons and communication with the company, but it doesn’t count toward your vacation or personal days.

In this article, we will discuss administrative leave, why it exists, admin leave laws, leave benefits, and administrative leave policies.

What is Administrative Leave?

Administrative leave is an administrative process that allows employers to remove employees from the work environment for reasons other than disciplinary issues. The admin leave can be unpaid or paid depending on how long it lasts and its purpose.

HR managers, employers must understand that there are occasions when a company must remove an employee from the work environment. HR’s have to be careful how they handle these situations because the Federal Government has set forth specific rules on removing employees from the work environment. HR managers are also responsible for informing employees about admin leave policies.

Administrative Leave Laws

Federal administrative leave laws govern how employers manage time off for activities like voting, serving jury duty, illness of a child under the age of 18, or attending hearings for these types of activities. It also governs situations in which employees have active military service to do.

State Leave Laws

Each state has its leave laws, and local municipalities can set their own rules as well. Some states have similar rules as the federal government regarding voting and serving jury duty but don’t cover the same situations. Other state laws vary widely from employment to employment, especially when it comes to unpaid leave.

Most states follow FMLA legislation that requires employers with 50 or more employees to give eligible workers 12 weeks of unpaid leave annually for birth or adoption of a child or to take care of a sick family member. FMLA also requires employers to reinstate employees in the same job position when they return from leave.

HR managers should look at the admin leave policy in light of their state laws to provide the most accurate information to employees.

What to Do When Put on Paid Administrative Leave?

Managers should ensure administrative leave is a protected right by federal and state laws. The admin leave policies should be clear to employees and management, detailing the policies and procedures. HR should also assure administrative leave does not impact an employee’s benefits and that they follow all employment laws.

Employees on administrative leave should receive payment for the leave, but administrative leave policies should clarify what happens if the employee is paid or unpaid. That’s why the role of HR is crucial when it comes to administrative leave since they communicate with employees and management.

Two employees smiling

What Does Administrative Leave Mean?

It means how a company can remove an employee from the work environment for reasons not related to disciplinary action. HR managers should ensure employees are aware of admin leave policies. These policies explain admin leave procedures, their length, and other administrative processes.

For employers, admin leave benefits include removing employees from the workplace while not disrupting their workflow. For non-exempt, paid hourly workers on paid administrative leave, this can mean a constant paycheck and not using paid vacation time for paid admin leaves.

These policies will be an advantage to employers who need employees for a short time period but don’t want to pay out unused paid vacation. HR managers should be aware of the laws governing paid admin leaves, unpaid admin leave policies, and procedures to accommodate employees who need to take an admin leave.

Requesting Administrative Leave

Employees who want to take admin leave should follow their employer’s admin leave request process. They can talk with HR managers about how long will their leave be and if it is paid or unpaid. HR managers should make sure they follow both state and federal laws before approving this leave request. The company may consider admin leave requests for short administrative leaves, but lengthier leaves may require a doctor’s note or other documentation.

HR managers should consider the company’s goals and objectives when developing their admin leave policies.

HR managers should also consider the time of year when implementing their admin leave policies and procedures. Such policies and practices are often implemented in conjunction with paid vacation time so that they are consistent throughout the year.

Employers should also consult state and federal laws when implementing their admin leave policies, especially if they plan to have employees on leave for longer than a few days.

What is Paid Administrative Leave?

Employees can take paid administrative leave for several reasons. An employee can take paid admin leaves if he is sick, injured, or needs to attend a funeral.

Employers can have a set administrative leave policy for employees who need to take time off work due to serious illness. Paid admin leave policies should spell out how long an employee can be on paid leave. The maximum number of paid days an employee can be on the leave, and what happens if the employee cannot return to work upon the end of their paid leave.

Reasons for Paid Admin Leave

Some reasons for a paid admin leave are as follows:

  • A new child
  • Sickness (employee’s own)
  • Illness of a family member
  • Injury (employee, or in some states, family member)
  • Death in the family
  • Court appearance
  • Funeral
  • Jury duty
  • Voting
  • Military service

Paid administrative leaves can be helpful to employees and employers if they follow protocol and state and federal laws. For instance, some states like California require employers to pay for at least three days of sick time per year, but if an employer provides more than three paid days off for sick leave, employees can carry over that time into the next year. Paid admin leaves should not be confused with paid sick leave, which is an allotted number of days employees can take off for illness purposes.

HR managers should also consider offering admin leaves to hourly workers who are non-exempt because it reflects positively on the employer and may make employees feel more appreciated.

Unpaid Administrative Leave

Administrative leave is time off to resolve legal matters, attend court hearings or investigations, or meet with lawyers. HR managers should consider the state of their business before deciding to have an unpaid admin leave policy. Some employees may be eligible for unpaid admin leaves if they are FMLA-eligible or have the Family and Medical Leave Act. Unpaid days can also be used for jury duty, witness service, voting, bereavement, military leave, family responsibility leave, and voting leave.

HR managers should consult state and federal laws to determine whether or not they need to have a formal unpaid admin leave policy. For example, the Act does not require employers to have an unpaid admin leave policy. Still, employees are eligible for 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the FMLA to care for family members.

Administrative Leave with Pay

Paid admin leave is given to employees for several reasons. Paid leaves should follow the employer’s HR policy. These leaves are for sick leave, bereavement, and other family emergencies. HR managers must carefully consider the needs of their business before granting employees paid admin leave. For instance, if an employer has one person responsible for taking orders over the phone, they might want a backup plan if their employee has paid administrative leave for more than a few days.

Administrative Leave without Pay

Employers should always pay employees on admin leave, but unpaid leaves are sometimes necessary. Unpaid admin leave is given in cases of a sick employee or when an admin leave is in the business’s best interest. However, unpaid leaves should be used only under certain circumstances and not if it’s possible for an administrative leave paid by vacation time to accomplish what needs to get done with no disruption in workflow.

HR managers should consult with legal professionals to determine whether or not they need to have a formal unpaid admin leave policy.

An employee is eligible for unpaid admin leave in emergency cases. And their need for time off is secured by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or when the nature of their absence supports FMLA.

An employee who doesn’t have FMLA eligibility but needs an unpaid admin leave for health-related purposes should speak with their family, friends, or personal network to see if they can help with the work during the period of absence.

Return to Work after Administrative Leave

Administrative leave policies should detail what happens after the paid admin leave is over. Most employers like to see employees return right back where they left off, but some may require a meeting with human resources before returning to work. Human resources should discuss the policies and any other issues that may have occurred.

Employers can include:

  • Administrative leave benefits
  • Administrative leave length of time
  • Administrative leave pay rate
  • Administrative return back to work processes after leave

HR managers should consider their organization’s admin leave policies and procedures, including what is required to take the leave.

working on laptop

What are Employee Rights Regarding Administrative Leave?

The following guidelines are for what employers can do from a legal standpoint regarding this leave. Employers can make their own rules and guidelines to supplement these standards, but they should be the foundation of any policy.

1. Employees cannot be fired for taking administrative leave.

2. If they are eligible, they can receive paid admin leave based on the employer’s HR policies.

3. They can receive unpaid administrative leave if necessary or appropriate for their health situation; they should talk to the employer before taking this leave.

4. The employer will determine how long an employee’s paid admin leave lasts and what happens when it is over.

5. Employees must be allowed to return to work after their leave is over.

Many employers are required by law or otherwise include in their HR policies that employees are eligible for paid admin leave after a certain time on the job. HR managers should consult with legal professionals to determine whether or not they need to have a formal written admin leave policy.

What Is the Difference Between Administrative and Suspension Leave?

The difference between a suspension and admin leave is that an employee on suspension does not report for work at the place of employment. In contrast, an employee who has been placed on administrative leave can still keep in contact with their employer via phone calls or emails.

Is it Possible to be Terminated while on Administrative Leave?

Yes. Employers can terminate employees for several reasons, including employees who are on admin leave. If an employer decides to terminate they can do so at any time, even during an admin leave.

An employee should always ask what their leave policy is before they take any leave.


Administrative leave is paid time off from work that allows employees to care for their mental and physical health, attend to family matters, etc. Most employers offer paid administrative leave, and employees should ask their employer whether or not they offer paid leave. Employers can find detailed administrative leave benefits in their HR policies along with other policies on paid leave.

We hope that now you have a better understanding of admin leave and how it works. Consult your HR manager or legal professional if you require more information about admin leave policies and procedures.