Employment Law

Employment law questions? Ask an employment lawyer.

Ask a Lawyer, Get an Answer ASAP!

Administrative Leave

Professional taking administrative leave

Administrative leave policies vary by institution. There are two options, either with pay or without pay. In general, leave with pay means employees have administrative permission to take a temporary leave from their job position without losing pay or benefits. However, some employees are required to take leave without pay until an investigation is complete. Reasons for using administrative leave also vary from legal to personal reasons to continuing one's education which will benefit their current career.

In some cases, employees are mandated to take administrative leave due to allegations of misconduct. The employee will be required to stay away from work for the time of the investigation. They will then be allowed to return to work, receive a discipline or forced to resign. 

Police officers involved in a shooting are routinely placed on administrative leave without laying any blame. This allows the department to recover from the trauma of the shooting and for administrative personnel to complete their investigation.

Whistleblowers are placed on administrative leave for their protection against retaliation from supervisors or other employees. 

If an employer determines an employee needs to be removed from work immediately, then he should call the Department of Public Safety or 911 for help. An example would be if the employee has committed or threatened violence on another employee or staff member. 

Requesting administrative leave

Employees should contact the Human Resource department or administrative personnel in charge of hiring and training and explain their situation. If administration finds the cause relevant, they will file the necessary documents so the employee can continue receiving pay. If the reason for leave is due to misconduct or whistleblowing, Human Resources or a designee will complete an investigation before allowing the employee to come back to work.

Administrative leave vs. resigning

Resigning is when an employee leaves a job position voluntarily. Employers may request an employee to turn in their resignation if they are faced with a negative situation in the workplace. This is to allow the employee to find a job elsewhere without repercussions. In most cases, employees will receive no compensation or severance pay and will not be able to file for unemployment benefits. However, in other cases, employers who request a resignation can offer a severance package rather than a long-term investigation.

Common questions regarding administrative leave

Employers and employees can benefit from asking legal questions. The following questions have been answered by Experts.

I am on administrative leave without pay, does this mean I am fired and can look for alternate employment?

It is up to company policy to define how long an employee is on administrative leave without pay. You can check with Human Resources to find out how long you are expected to be on leave for and when they might be contacting you. There’s nothing stopping you from looking for alternative employment. You should check your employer's policy to ensure that you cannot later be accused of quitting your job or abandoning it.

How long can a California employer take to resolve an administrative leave without pay?

Administrative leave is dependent on your company policy. Generally, an investigation within the company can be completed within two weeks. The state you work in is an “at will” employment state, so your company can terminate your employment without conducting an investigation and also suspend you without paying you. Since they have not done that, it seems like they are trying to solve the problem.

They are not obligated by law to call you in to answer questions. If you do have an employment contract and a legal right to your job, then calling you in to answer questions would be part of the necessary due process.

Can an employer take a whistleblower off paid administration leave and make them use vacation time during an investigation?

If your organization employs at least 15 people and you are being treated less favorably than even the accused, it is possible that your employer has violated the federal law by retaliating against you for reporting the incident. You should, in all probability, still continue to be on paid leave until the end of the investigation. If the situation does not get better, you could go to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and file a complaint against your employer.

Can an employer forbid an employee on administrative leave without pay from discussing the matter with anyone including the Labor Commissioner, a lawyer or union representative? 

Your employer cannot stop you from approaching the Labor Commissioner to file a claim or contacting an attorney. This is an example of non-lawyers trying to prevent you from talking to any coworkers who may be witnesses. This would exclude your union representative, as you have the right to be represented by your union.

Administrative leave policies differ from company to company. If you are ever faced with being put on administrative leave by your employer, you should know what your rights are.

Please type your question in the field below

3 verified Employment Lawyers are online now

Employment Lawyers on JustAnswer are verified through an extensive 8-step process including screening of licenses, certifications, education and/or employment. Learn more

Allen M., Esq.

Employment Lawyer

Juris Doctor, Cum Laude

13564 positive reviews


Doctoral Degree

12608 positive reviews
JB Umphrey


Juris Doctor

6273 positive reviews
See all Employment Lawyers
JustAnswer in the news:
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.