What is Administrative Leave & Employee Rights
Administrative leave can be defined as the period of time for which an employee is removed from the workplace for a host of reasons, but primarily when the employee must not be present in the workplace for any reason. This leave is temporary and while the employee does not carry out their work responsibilities, they continue to receive their wage and any added benefits that they are entitled to.
The employee can be sent on an administrative leave for a variety of reasons, including:
- To prevent disruption in the workplace and maintain a professional environment.
- To conduct a pending investigation or ongoing investigation without any disruption or alteration in possible evidence.
- To protect and preserve sensitive information and resources.
If an employee has to be investigated due to an allegation or has been causing some disruption in the workplace, their supervisor may request the Human Resources Consultant to analyse the situation and determine whether or not approved for investigative leave for the employee should be taken.
However, before requesting approval, it must be established that either the employee’s presence in the workplace is hampering the investigation or their behavior is causing significant disruption for other people around them.
Reasons for Paid Administrative Leave
- Court Appearances or Jury Duty
- Education sabbaticals
- Internal employment reviews
- Whistleblowers to avoid harassment from management
What are Employee Rights Regarding Administrative Leave?
Administrative leave qualifies as paid leave hence the employee is within their rights to ask for and receive their full, regular pay. The employee would not, however, be eligible for premiums. The employee is still associated with the organization and so the employer can ask them to remain available for recall at all times.
Some employers also choose to either transfer the employee to another work site for a short period of time or ask them to fulfill their responsibilities from their home. If the employee is undergoing an investigation, they can be asked to come in to give interviews.
What Is the Difference between Administrative Leave and Suspension?
While the two may seem similar, there are minor differences between an administrative leave and a suspension. An administrative leave can also be referred to as an investigative suspension. The suspension can be defined as the time period for which an employee is asked to be absent from work as punishment due to them violating a company or organization policy.
Where a suspension may be paid or unpaid depending upon the employer you work for and the rules and regulations of the workplace, an administrative leave is always paid as you are expected to be available to work at all times. Since the suspension is a form of a disciplinary action, it is usually unpaid as the employees work hours during that time period are discounted and they are not entitled to be paid for that period.
How Long can you be put on Administrative Leave?
The amount of time that an employee can be put on administrative leave is not set. The length depends on the situation. If an investigation is being conducted, the employee will be required to comply and participate fully in the company’s investigation efforts. They should remain in their home during work hours and ready to return to work whenever notified.
Can you be fired while on Administrative Leave?
The answer is yes, but only if there is a legitimate business reason for the firing and it does not violate an employment contract. The laws governing this are the same in every state, but there are nuances that affect what you can do legally based on where you live.
Administrative leave is a common safety mechanism human resources use to separate a person from other employees during an investigation. It is not employment at will, so the leaving employee may not be fired on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations. To avoid liability for wrongful termination, an employer must have reasonable grounds to suspect misconduct to justify placing employee on administrative leave
Can you work while on Paid Administrative Leave?
It is not advisable to gain employment elsewhere whilst on administrative leave as doing so may impact your relationship and case with your current employer. An employer can also ask a employee to return to wok at anytime.