Excused Absence vs. Unexcused Absence (Definition and Examples)

Absences from work are sometimes inevitable and can be caused by a variety of factors such as illness, family emergencies, or other personal obligations. It is important for employers to be aware of this fact and to have systems in place to address employees’ excused absences. Having a well-defined policy that includes processes for employees to request and receive approval for an excused absence will create an atmosphere of fairness and trust between the employer and their employees. It is also important that employers are aware of state and federal laws that govern the handling of employee absences, as well as any company policies or procedures that may be in place. In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of establishing an excused absence policy, the legal considerations involved, and the ways in which an employer can provide employees with the necessary guidance and support during times of excused absence.

Excused Absence

Examples of commonly excused absences

Here are some examples of common types of excused absences:

Personal leave

Employees frequently take personal time off for a variety of reasons, such as illness, unexpected family needs, or accidents. Personal leave may also be used for holidays, birthdays, or weddings. While some employers offer personal leave as a benefit to their employees, others permit it as an authorized but unpaid absence.

Employers arent legally required to provide paid personal leave. However, some businesses provide benefits like paid time off, sick days, and personal days to recruit candidates and stay competitive. As long as an employee follows the proper procedures for requesting time off from work, personal days can typically be used whenever and however they see fit.

Medical or sick leave

Sick or medical leave is another type of excused absence. Frequently, a doctor’s note is required to get sick time off work as proof that you visited a doctor and may even be given the all-clear to return to work.

Jury duty

Legally, employers must permit workers to participate in jury duty without suffering any consequences at work. As a result, any time spent away from the office if a worker is called for jury duty will be considered an excused absence. Despite this, employers are not required by law to compensate employees for their time spent serving on a jury. The state does offer some reimbursement for the employees time.


While laws can change from state to state, the majority of employers are required to give workers enough time to vote during an election. The most typical voting provision allows for up to two hours of paid time off for employees. Some states demand that employers inform their staff of the rules regarding voting absences.

School activities

In some states, businesses with 25 or more workers must permit their employees to use paid time off for absences related to school activities. Other states mandate that employers grant workers an excused absence for activities related to their education, even though the time may not be paid.

Excused absence vs. unexcused absence

Here are the main distinctions between excused and unjustified absences:

What is an excused absence?

An excused absence is a period of time missed from work that has been authorized by the employee’s manager or supervisor. Excused absences include those due to planned absences, such as vacations. They also consist of some unplanned absences, such as those caused by illness or unforseen emergencies. An excused absence can include events that the employee cannot schedule outside of work hours, such as military service, jury duty, surgical procedures and funerals

How to get an excused absence?

From one company to the next, the specific steps you must take to request an excused absence may differ. However, you likely need to take the following steps:

If you anticipate needing time off work in the future, such as for a vacation, you typically must inform your manager in advance of your plans, including the date and number of days you will be away from work. Some businesses will require you to follow certain procedures, such as submitting your request via an HR platform.

You should notify your employer as soon as possible that you won’t be able to report to work if the time you’re taking off isn’t scheduled in advance. Have someone else make the call on your behalf if you are unable to do so.

Some employers might request to see the absence-related paperwork. For instance, if you are ill for more than three days, your employer might ask you to provide a note from a doctor attesting to your illness and inability to work.

What are unexcused absences?

Any absence from work that you take without your employer’s consent is considered an unexcused absence. Unexcused absences arent scheduled or authorized by an employer. For instance, it is typically considered an unexcused absence if an employee decides to take a personal day without informing their employer or making prior arrangements.

What are paid absences?

Paid absences are times when you don’t report to work but are still paid your regular rate, such as your hourly or salary rate. The most common paid absence is vacation, which an employee typically earns after putting in a certain number of hours or days throughout the year. Sick leave is another common type of accumulated paid absence. Voting, serving on a jury, and military duty are additional paid absences. Paid time off, also known as PTO, is a common term for paid time off from work.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that the employer’s requirements may determine whether time off is paid. For instance, workers might be required to submit requests for scheduling time off for vacations two weeks in advance. Additionally, they might need to speak with a manager directly and report unscheduled absences by a certain time of day.

What are scheduled absences?

Absences that are prearranged and authorized by a manager are known as scheduled absences. Scheduled absences include any absences that are planned in advance and for which you have permission, such as holidays, time off to cast your ballot, time off for school activities, and other absences.


What is excused absence mean?

An administratively approved absence from work without pay or credit to the employee’s leave account is referred to as an “excused absence.”

What is an example of an excused absence?

Examples of Excused Absences include: Illness (absences longer than three days may call for a doctor’s note) Dental and medical appointments (we strongly advise scheduling these outside of school hours) Required county/state court appointments. Religious instruction (Not to exceed 3 hours in one week).

Is calling in sick an excused absence?

Sick or medical leave is another type of excused absence. It is frequently necessary to present a doctor’s note as evidence that you visited a healthcare provider and may also have been given the all-clear to return to work in order to have sick time excused.

What is an excused absence from school?

Excused absences can be made for a variety of reasons, such as an illness or other health issue, a family emergency, or safety concerns. Those are just some examples. If you’re unsure whether a particular absence needs to be excused, check the entire list. Also check your own school district’s policy on attendance.

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