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News > 59 Minute Rule?
59 Minute Rule?

Posted 2/5/2009   Updated 2/5/2009 Email story   Print story


from 49th Force Support Squadron

2/5/2009 - HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- The truth is, there is no such thing as the 59 minute rule. This term evolved from back before most of our times. What it actually refers to is an excused absence for brief periods or tardiness. The actual verbiage is located in AFI 36-815 para 8.3 and is as follows.

AFI 36-815

8.3. Absence for Brief Periods or Tardiness. Unavoidable absences, brief periods of early dismissal, and brief periods of tardiness of less than 1 hour may be excused by the supervisor or he/she may provide the employee opportunity to request approved leave, earned credit hours, or previously-earned compensatory time off. If the absence or tardiness is charged to annual leave, the charge is in multiples of ΒΌ hour. If the leave charged exceeds the period of absence or tardiness, the employee is not required to work the additional time covered by the leave charge. Unauthorized absence during the workday also may be charged as absence without leave (AWOL) if the circumstances do not justify excusing the absence or approving leave. The charge of AWOL is not, itself, a disciplinary action. However, tardiness or an unauthorized absence that is charged to AWOL may serve as the basis for disciplinary action. Such cases should be discussed with representatives of the CPF to determine whether to take disciplinary action and
what type.

The rule is to be used for unavoidable circumstances. Here are some examples of appropriate use of rule.
1. Employee has a flat tire and will report within an hour.
2. Bad weather causing delays.
3. Accident in route causing delays.

It is not to be used on a frequent regular basis or for frivolous events. Here are some examples of misuse of the rule.
1. Every Friday, we all leave 59 minutes early to get a head start on the weekend.
2. Tomorrow is a holiday so we can leave 59 minutes early today.
3. An employee's appointment ends 50 minutes before the duty day is over so just go ahead and go on home.

Any further questions can be referred to 49th Force Support Squadron/FSMCE at 572-7209, 5333 or 7204.

9/3/2015 4:58:30 PM ET
The DOD Admin Instruction 67 page 22 is in reference to leave that is going to be charged to the employee. The 59 minute rule the article talks about is leave that is not charged undocumented unofficial leave. DOD Admin Instruction states Requests for administrative leave for an absence of 59 minutes or less may be submitted verbally or in writing in accordance with supervisory instruction.
Julie, Holloman AFB
3/7/2014 12:05:41 PM ET
Article is completely wrong. There is a 59 minute rule. Please see DOD Admin Instruction 67 page 22. It is at the COMPLETE discretion of any leave approving official. However it should be used sparingly.
Joel Westphal, DC
4/9/2012 12:18:51 PM ET
I don't see where in the AFI it is stated a supervisor cannot allow 59 minutes off. Quoting the AFI from above brief periods of early dismissal and brief periods of tardiness of less than 1 hour may be excused by the supervisor or heshe may provide the employee opportunity to request approved leave..It does not state an employee must take leave. I don't see ambiguity there. The legal review mentioned in the comment above is here httpwww.loc.govrrfrdMilitary_Lawpdf03-2006.pdf very well researched and fairly current. Again whether Army Air Force or other not sure how the legality would be any different unless expressly forbidden by the Agency in question which it is not at least in the referenced AFI.
Mike, Seattle
6/30/2011 12:07:50 PM ET
According to an article by an Army lawyer the tricky thing would be in regards to civilian employees ESPECIALLY if they are under a collective barganing agreement andor part of a union. If a supervisor or organization had utelized the 59 min rule in the past and decided to discontinue it they could face legal action.
James, GA
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