Excused Absence


The term excused absence refers to time away from work that an employee normally schedules in advance with the approval of their supervisor.  Excused absences include commitments that occur, or are difficult to schedule, during non-work hours such as doctor's appointments, jury duty, funerals, military service as well as vacation days.


When an employee is not present during their normal workday, they are considered absent from work.  Excused absences are usually scheduled in advance and approved by the employee's manager or supervisor.   An excused absence can also occur under emergency conditions, if the employee provides an explanation that is acceptable to their manager.

Excused versus Unexcused Absences

Even if an employee's benefits provide for time away from work such as vacation days, sick leave, jury duty, medical or dental appointments, religious holidays, funerals (death in the family), military service and sabbaticals, they are usually required to provide notification in advance and gain their manager's approval.  Companies reserve the right to approve time away from work so they can provide for adequate coverage during the employee's absence.

An unexcused absence occurs when an employee does not gain their manager's approval in advance, and their manager does not accept their explanation for time spent away from work.  Unexcused absences can include benefits that provide for paid time off as well as unpaid time.  Companies will often have policies that address unexcused absences.  Disciplinary action taken against the employee for an unexcused absence can range from verbal warnings through termination when an employee exhibits a pattern of abuse.

Related Terms

total compensationdisability insurance, COBRA, absenteeism, attendance policy