What is administrative leave?
Administrative leave occurs when an employee must temporarily leave their position and work duties. Most employers allow their employees to keep their pay and benefits, like health insurance, during this absence, but it’s the employer’s decision. Employees can also take this leave of absence without using any of their allotted paid time off. Employees are typically placed on administrative leave due to disciplinary actions or they may volunteer to go on administrative leave.
Administrative leave can last anywhere from a few days to a few months, depending on the situation. Administrative leave is sometimes referred to as “home assignment,” because the employee is asked to stay in their home or in close proximity to the business during their leave.
Reasons employees may go on administrative leave
There are several reasons organizations place employees on administrative leave. Some common reasons include:
Protecting employees and sensitive information
If an employee reported misconduct about the company or another employee, they’ll either be placed on administrative leave or they’ll volunteer to undergo administrative leave. This will protect them from any judgments or harassment from other employees during the investigation. You can also place employees on administrative leave if they have knowledge or physical copies of sensitive information.
For example, if an employee has secret or protected information about an upcoming criminal court case, their employer may put them on administrative leave or they may request it. This will protect the employee and their sensitive information until the court case is resolved and adjourned.
Removing an employee from the workplace
Employees who consistently break company policies may be placed on administrative leave after several warnings from employers or human resources. If you notice an employee behaving disruptively or refusing to follow the rules listed in the employee handbook, administer a warning to the employee and notify human resources. If the employee continuously struggles to follow policies, discuss if putting them on administrative leave is the best option.
If an employee acts aggressively or violently in the workplace, it’s usually best to immediately put them on administrative leave. This helps you avoid any harm coming to your employees. It also gives you, the human resources team and the employee a few days to respond to and reflect on the situation.
Conducting misconduct investigations
If an employee or supervisor is accused of misconduct in the workplace, that individual can be placed on administrative leave while the institution or police officers conduct an investigation. The employee is expected to stay in close proximity to the business during the investigation in case they’re called in to provide additional details about the case.
Since the allegations against the accused employee are not yet proven, most employers allow them to keep their pay and benefits until the leave is over and they’ve arrived at a final decision.