AWOL and resignation


Q. I resigned at the beginning of a pay period from my position with the Department of Defense due to a hostile work environment. When I received my leave and earnings statement, I noticed I was coded as being AWOL for the balance of hours remaining in the pay period, after I had actually resigned. When I inquired about this, I was told that if leave is not requested, then it is coded as AWOL. I replied by essentially asking, how could I have been AWOL if I had already resigned? I did not receive a reply. Is it possible to be coded as AWOL after resignation? Thank you.

A. According to OPM, “Absence without leave, often called AWOL, is a nonpay status for any absence from duty which has not been authorized or approved by the proper leave approving official. It is important to note that AWOL is not a disciplinary action in and of itself. Although it can be the basis for a disciplinary action should the agency find it warranted.” Since each agency is responsible for administering its own leave program, I see no basis for questioning your agency’s decision.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to

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