1.H Of Military Assignments And Authorized Absences In A Sentence

502 - Attendance (Absenteeism, Tardiness and Job Abandonment)

Subject: Attendance (Absenteeism, Tardiness & Job Abandonment)

Section: U502

Date: July 1, 2017


It is vital to the University for all employees to have reliable attendance. Absenteeism and tardiness negatively impact our ability to effectively provide University services. The purpose of this policy is to establish the requirements for reporting absences, to provide guidelines for the handling of tardiness, early departures, and unscheduled absences, and to outline employees' need to adhere to established work schedules to maintain efficient, effective operations throughout the University.

who is governed by this policy:

This policy applies to all employees.

Policy statement:

Staff employees must arrive and be prepared to commence work at their scheduled start time. Employees are responsible for notifying their supervisor of absences, late arrivals, or early departures each day of the absence, tardiness, or early departure, in accordance with their unit’s call-in procedure. Unscheduled absences, tardiness, and unscheduled early departures (whether excused or unexcused), failure to provide appropriate notification, or abuse of sick leave or other paid time off may result in corrective action up to and including termination of employment. (See Policy 703 Progressive Corrective Action.) Absences, tardiness, and early departures due to approved FMLA leave, Short-Term Disability leave, military leave, jury duty, workers’ compensation, other approved leave, or reasonable accommodation as required by law will not be counted as occurrences. These rules apply to all staff employees whose departments do not have more specific rules, or when department attendance rules do not address certain areas covered by this policy.

1.  Departments should communicate to staff employees the importance of timely and regular attendance and develop written unit rules with a call-in procedure. The call-in procedure should define when and whom an employee should call if he/she is going to be absent or tardy. It should also address a time frame when an employee who will be delayed is required to notify supervision.

2.  Time approvers are responsible for reviewing and approving time before each time approval deadline. It is the responsibility of the time approver to ensure the time submission is accurate

3.  Employees must notify their supervisor of any unscheduled absence, tardiness, or unscheduled early departure as far in advance as possible. An employee who will be unable to report to work as scheduled, who will be tardy, or who plans to leave early must contact his/her supervisor or the department’s designated call-in number as far in advance as possible and at the latest prior to the start of the shift or the early departure. Notification and acknowledgment by a supervisor of tardiness, unscheduled early departure, or unscheduled absence will not excuse it.

4. Employees must record attendance and absences in the attendance tracking system. Immediate supervisors are responsible for reviewing and verifying attendance records (at least monthly) and recording occurrences, if applicable, to ensure the accuracy of the records and consistent application of department attendance rules and University policy.

5. An unscheduled absence will be recorded as one (1) occurrence. Each tardy or unscheduled early departure will be recorded as one-half (1/2) an occurrence. No occurrences will be recorded for scheduled absences or use of accrued sick leave as provided under University and department policy. However, pattern absences, failure to provide timely notification, or failure to comply with the Sick Leave Policy may result in absences being counted as unscheduled absences.

6. Occurrences will be tracked by each department based on a rolling twelve (12) month period.

7. Supervisors should follow the corrective action progression described below to address unscheduled absences, tardiness, and unscheduled early departures.  When an employee has accumulated four occurrences, each two occurrences thereafter will advance the corrective action process, up to and including termination of employment.  However, depending on the situation, corrective action may be accelerated, repeated, or taken out of sequence, and the University reserves the right to effect immediate termination should it be warranted.

  • Verbal warning upon four (4) occurrences.
  • Written warning upon six (6) occurrences.
  • Final warning or suspension upon eight (8) occurrences.
  • Termination of employment upon ten (10) occurrences.

8. Employees will be subject to immediate corrective action for no call/no show.   Two (2) or more consecutive workdays of no call/no show may be considered job abandonment and result in termination of employment.

9. Supervisors should be observant and identify pattern absences.  Employees will be subject to immediate corrective action for pattern unscheduled absences.

10. Typically, employees who work for six (6) months without an occurrence since the last occurrence resulting in corrective action will not have the corrective action process progress to the next level. For example, if an employee receives a written warning due to the sixth occurrence on October 1st and receives two additional occurrences in the following June, the employee should receive another written warning.

11. Bi-weekly employees will not be compensated for time lost due to tardiness. However, an employee who is late six minutes or less is considered tardy but will be paid for the time. Tardiness of more than six (6) minutes will be unpaid. Meal periods and breaks may not be used to cover for absences or tardiness. An employee may not extend the normal workday or work beyond his/her scheduled shift to make up for being tardy without the prior approval of the employee’s supervisor

12. An unscheduled absence typically is unpaid unless an employee’s supervisor approves the use of accrued vacation, sick leave, or personal holiday time in accordance with University policy. Acceptable means of verifying the reason for the unscheduled absence may be required. An employee will not be compensated for unscheduled absences that extend beyond his/her accrual balances

13. Requests for scheduled absences, including jury duty, emergency time off (vacation or personal holiday), bereavement, military leave, medical leave, and personal leave must be requested as far in advance as possible consistent with University and department policy and applicable law. It is the employee’s responsibility to request leave or excused time off and to submit appropriate documentation. Employees who will be unable to report to work as scheduled (except for a University preapproved block of leave time) or using intermittent FMLA leave or other leave are required to contact their supervisor or the department each day unless otherwise instructed by their supervisor. Denied leave or other requested time off, failure to return to work after an approved leave, or failure to comply with these guidelines or other applicable University policy may result in the treatment of time away from work as an unscheduled absence, tardiness, or unscheduled early departure under this policy.

14. Employees absent more than three consecutive days due to illness or who are suspected of abuse of sick leave may be required to submit a proof of illness certificate, issued by a health care provider, identifying when the employee was seen and treated. Failure to submit such proof upon request may result in corrective action.

15. Employees who are eligible to use paid sick leave may use accrued sick time for routine doctor’s appointments. The employee must notify the supervisor in advance of the appointment, up to seven days prior when possible. When possible, such appointments should be scheduled at the beginning or the end of the shift.

16. Due to the nature of the services that employees provide we are rarely able to close our operations. With that in mind, employees are expected to report for work on severe weather days and to plan ahead to anticipate any difficulties that might be encountered. If an employee will be late or unable to report to work, the employee must notify his or her supervisor as soon as possible. The departments will decide whether employees will receive occurrences for tardiness or unscheduled absences on severe weather days.

key definitions:

No call/no showAn unscheduled absence without proper notification to the employee's supervisor or department.
Pattern AbsencesUnscheduled absences the day before or after a scheduled holiday, vacation, or personal day; on a desirable day off, a specific day of the week, or a weekend; a specific or unique work day; or as sick leave or other paid time off is accrued.
Scheduled AbsenceA scheduled absence occurs when an employee requests and is approved to take time off in accordance with department and University policies. Some examples of scheduled absences include approved vacation, personal holidays, jury duty, military related, bereavement leave, FMLA leave, and Short-Term Disability leave.
TardyFailure to report to an employee's assigned work area and be prepared to start work at his or her scheduled start time, including returning from breaks and meal periods.
Unscheduled AbsenceFailure to report to work on a scheduled workday or working less than half of a scheduled workday due to tardiness or leaving early without a written and approved time off request. Absences on consecutive workdays for the same reason will count as one unscheduled absence under this policy. Some examples of unscheduled absences include absences due to car trouble, caring for a family member who has the flu, and home emergency.
Unscheduled Early DepartureFailure to work a complete workday due to an early departure without a written and approved time off request.  Please refer to Unscheduled Absence above when an early departure results in working less than half of a scheduled workday.

roles and responsibilities:

Governed PartyRoles and Responsibilities
EmployeeThe Employee is responsible for following the Supervisor’s time off request procedures and recording absences. 
SupervisorThe Supervisor is responsible for setting time off request procedures, ensuring they are followed, verifying the use of time off is appropriate, monitoring for pattern absences, and approving absences in the time off calendar. 
HR PartnerThe HR Partner is responsible for ensuring the procedures and policy are adhered to consistently across the unit. 

related information:

Policy U304 Compensable Time, Record-Keeping, and Tracking Absences

Policy U509 Vacation

Policy U511 Personal Holidays

Policy U512 Sick Leave

Policy U513 Short-Term Disability

Policy U514 Long-Term Disability

Policy U522 Family and Medical Leave of Absence

Policy U703 Progressive Corrective Action

Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act

Illinois Occupational Diseases Act

key contacts:

Center of Expertise - Employee & Labor Relationselrelations@uchicago.edu4-7345

Employees represented by a union may be governed by the appropriate bargaining unit agreement.

Failure to Report for Duty: Desertion, AWOL, and Other Charges

A military service member who fails to report for duty often faces serious charges. There are three related offenses that fall under this category—absence without leave (or AWOL), desertion, and missing movement—all carrying very serious penalties, up to and including the death penalty for desertion during war. Being AWOL for 30 days is considered desertion, while missing movement is charged when a service member misses the movement of a ship or aircraft intentionally or out of neglect.

See FindLaw's Military Criminal Law section for additional articles and resources.

AWOL: Absence Without Leave

A member of the armed forces is considered AWOL if he or she fails to go to an appointed place, leaves that place, or is otherwise absent from his or her unit or appointed place of duty. For example, a service member ordered to guard a weapons cache would be charged with absence without leave if he left his post two hours early without permission. The Manual for Courts-Martial (PDF) identifies the following ways a service member may be absent without leave (including the elements of each):

1. Failure to go to appointed place of duty

  • The accused was appointed to a certain time and place of duty;
  • Knew of the time and place; and
  • Without authority, failed to go the appointed place of duty at the prescribed time.

2. Going from appointed place of duty

  • The accused was appointed to a certain and place of duty;
  • Knew of the time and place; and
  • Without authority, left the appointed place after reporting for duty.

3. Absence from unit, organization, or place of duty

  • The accused excused himself or herself from a place of duty, unit, or organization;
  • The absence was without authority; and
  • The absence was for a certain period of time or was terminated by apprehension.

4. Absence from unit, organization, or place of duty with intent to avoid maneuvers or field exercises (same elements as #3, but with the addition of the following)

  • The accused knew the absence would occur during maneuvers or field exercises; and
  • Intended to avoid all or part of the maneuvers or field exercises.

5. Abandoning watch or guard

  • The accused was a member of a guard, watch, or duty;
  • Absented himself or herself from this guard, watch, or duty;
  • The absence was without authority; and
  • The accused intended to abandon his or her post.

Punishment depends on the severity of the offense and the discretion of the commanding officer, but often includes forfeiture of pay and confinement. For instance, being AWOL for less than three days can result in a maximum penalty of confinement for one month and forfeiture of two-thirds pay for one month. After 30 days or more, service members face dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and a one-year confinement.


Desertion is similar to AWOL in that it involves a military service member's failure to report for duty—or more specifically, the act of leaving one's assigned post. Desertion typically involves the intent to leave one's unit or place of duty permanently, but an offender who is AWOL for 30 days automatically is considered to have deserted his or her post (without proof of intent). An example would be a service member deployed in a foreign war leaving his post after informing his commanding officer that he no longer wants to serve.

The Manual for Courts-Martial identifies the following types of desertion (including the elements of each):

1. Desertion with intent to remain away permanently

  • The accused left his or her unit, organization, or place of duty;
  • The absence was without authority;
  • At some time during the absence, the accused intended to remain away from his or her unit, organization, or place of duty; and
  • The accused remained absent until the date alleged; or was apprehended.

2. Desertion with intent to avoid hazardous duty or important service

  • The accused quit his or her unit, organization, or place of duty;
  • Did so with the intent to avoid a certain duty or service;
  • The duty or service to be performed was hazardous or particularly important;
  • The accused knew the duty or service was required; and
  • Remained absent until the date alleged.

3. Desertion before notice of acceptance of resignation

  • The accused was a commissioned officer and had tendered his or her resignation;
  • Before receiving notice of acceptance of resignation, the accused quit his or her duties;
  • Did so with the intent to remain away permanently; and
  • Remained absent until the date alleged; or was apprehended.

Attempted desertion also is charged as a military crime, as long as the attempt went beyond mere preparation. Desertion carries a maximum punishment of dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay, and confinement of five years. For desertion during a time of war, however, the death penalty may be applied (at the discretion of the court-martial).

Missing Movement

Neglectfully or intentionally missing one's ship, aircraft, or unit may result in a missing movement charge. For example, a sailor who accidentally fails to board her aircraft carrier before it leaves port has violated military law and faces a possible bad-conduct discharge, forfeiture of pay, and confinement for one year. Intentionally  missing movement can result in a dishonorable discharge and two-year confinement.

The elements of missing movement are:

  • The accused was required to move with a ship, aircraft, or unit;
  • Knew of the prospective movement of the ship, aircraft, or unit;
  • Missed the movement of the ship, aircraft, or unit; and
  • Missed the movement through design (intent) or neglect.

A military member may not be found guilty if her missing movement is due to situations beyond her control. For instance, a military pilot who had every intention of boarding his aircraft but was struck by a drunk driver would not be charged with missing movement.

Consider contacting a military lawyer if you have been charged with desertion or another offense related to the failure to report for duty.

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