The Department of General Services (DGS) may grant Administrative Time Off (ATO) on a case-by-case basis, as approved by the DGS Director or designee, deemed to be in the best interest of the State. It is the goal of DGS to make every effort to return the employee to the DGS worksite at the earliest feasible time.

Delegated Authority to Department

Government Code (GC) section 19991.10 provides that no paid leave of absence for State employees shall exceed five working days without prior approval of the California Department of Human Resources (CalHR). Under GC section 19815.4 and 19816, this authority has been delegated to DGS to approve up to 30 calendar days of ATO on a case-by-case basis, as approved by the DGS Director or designee.

Reasons Programs May Approve ATO

Program Supervisors and Managers may grant ATO for employees for the following reasons:

  1. Employee is a Precinct Election Board Worker (GC §599.930)
  2. Employee works or resides in a county where the Governor has declared a state of emergency (CalHR Rule 599.785.5 authorizes up to five working days)
  3. Employee is called into service by the Office of Emergency Services (OES) for a search and rescue operation, disaster mission, or other life-saving mission conducted within the State (GC §19844.5 authorizes up to 10 calendar days per fiscal year)
  4. Employee’s physical work environment is considered temporarily hazardous or detrimental to work productivity (e.g., equipment failure, building evacuation, gas leak)

Authority Level and Timeframes

The table below outlines the number of days an authority may approve ATO.

Supervisor/Manager, with concurrence of Office Chief and notification to the Chief, Office of Human Resources (OHR).
2-3 Office Chief with notification to the Deputy Director, and concurrence of the Chief, OHR.
4-10 Deputy Director, with concurrence of OHR' Constructive Intervention Unit (CIU).
 11-30 CIU authorization only, with concurrence of the Chief, OHR.

ATO Leave OHR Must Approve

For all other reasons not listed above, including the following, OHR’ CIU must be contacted and CIU’s approval is required. CIU will issue the ATO notification letter to the employee.

  1. Reason to believe employee will likely cause damage to State facility, equipment, or records, as in the case of a pending dismissal or rejection during probation.
  2. Situations where an employee places other employees at imminent risk of harm or makes a credible threat of violence against other persons.
  3. Medical conditions identified by the Human Resources Coordination Committee which require a fitness for duty evaluation.
  4. Pending formal investigation which could result in adverse or punitive action.

Managers and supervisors are encouraged to explore any and all feasible alternatives before requesting CIU place an employee on ATO for the above reasons unless there is an imminent risk or credible threat of harm.


There is an emergency situation where notice to, or consultation with, CIU is not practical or possible,

Supervisors, with the concurrence of their Office Chief:

  • May send an employee home on ATO for no more than one (1) work day
  • And must contact CIU as soon as possible the following work day to discuss the need for additional ATO   

How to Report ATO in the Project Accounting and Leave (PAL) System

Employees granted ATO of any type must use the appropriate ATO global alias to report their time in the PAL system. Specific ATO PAL aliases are described below:

ATO-ELECT Employee is a Precinct Election Board Worker
ATO-GOV-EMERG Employee works or resides in a county declared a State of Emergency
ATO-OES Employee is called to service by the OES (per GC §19844.5)
ATO-SAFE Employee works in an area deemed to be an environmental hazard and/or detrimental to work activity.  Note: This is not the alias for workplace violence issues; see “ATO Leave OHR Must Approve” Item 2.
ATO-OHR CIU has been consulted and has approved placing the employee off work due to sensitive and confidential personnel-related reasons

Tracking and Monitoring

All ATO, regardless of the reason or PAL Alias code used to record the absence, is subject to audit by CalHR. CIU staff receives an alert when any type of ATO is recorded in an employee’s PAL timesheet. CIU staff may contact the approving supervisor to confirm the appropriate ATO alias was applied.

Regardless of the length of ATO, appointing authorities must maintain thorough documentation demonstrating the justification for the ATO, the length of the ATO, and the approval of the ATO.

For example, if employees are granted ATO due to an emergency effectively precluding the employee's ability to find reasonable routes of transportation from the employee's normal residence to the work place, programs will send documentation to CIU which explains the amount of leave authorized, the number of employees affected, the nature of the event, and why allowing paid administrative leave for the time period confers a benefit on the department and the state.

In cases where an employee has been placed off work on ATO-OHR, CIU will track the calendar days and provide periodic updates to the Deputy Director describing: (1) names of employees currently out; (2) number of calendar days the employees have been out; and (3) date when justification for an extension is needed from the program in order for CIU to seek the required extension approval from CalHR.

Extensions and Limits

CIU may authorize, at the program’s request, ATO-OHR for up to 30 calendar days. CIU must notify and request approval from CalHR for ATO extending beyond the initial 30 calendar days. Under no circumstances may ATO extend beyond 90 calendar days.

If the program does not anticipate resolution of the issue prior to the conclusion of the initial 30 calendar days, program is required to:

  • Contact CIU on or about the 20th calendar day of ATO-OHR
  • Provide a status update and written justification for an extension
  • Provide an anticipated ATO-OHR end-date
  • CIU will then request extension approval from CalHR


For questions regarding ATO or to request ATO-OHR for an employee, please contact the appropriate CIU Consultant.


Responsible Control Agency

  • California Department of Human Resources

Laws and Regulations

Other Resource Materials