An excused absence is a period of administratively authorized absence from official duties without loss of pay and without charge to an employee's leave account. Excused absence is synonymous with the term "administrative leave" and is distinct from the absence of an employee who is performing officially sanctioned activities away from the employee's usual worksite or regular duties. (The distinction is that an employee, while on excused absence, is not acting within the employer-employee relationship and not deemed to be subject to the control or responsibility of the Department as an employer.) Employees who are performing certain representational functions or are conducting the business of organizations recognized by the agency (e.g., credit unions, welfare and recreation associations, or the Combined Federal Campaign) generally are considered to be acting within the employer-employee relationship. Leave-approving officials retain authority to limit time spent on such activities, as necessary.
In individual cases, the provisions of this guidance permit a leave-approving official to grant excused absences subject to any restrictions imposed by the operating unit or as otherwise stipulated in this guidance (e.g., emergency condition, blood donation, etc.). Each operating unit shall prescribe procedures for the approval of excused absences for groups of employees.
Excused absence may be granted for infrequent and brief participation in civic, patriotic, or community activities which are recognized and sanctioned for attendance of employees of all agencies. Examples of such activities include viewing a parade, welcoming visiting dignitaries, attending dedication or public ceremonies, and similar events. Usually the White House or the Secretary will promote participation in these kinds of activities by public announcement. Civic, patriotic, and community activities which are not sanctioned for participation of employees government wide are not covered by excused absence. Approved absences for these purposes should be charged to annual leave, credit hours, compensatory time or leave without pay, as appropriate.
Tardiness and Brief Absence
When reasons appear to be justifiable, an employee's unauthorized tardiness or other brief absence from duty of less than one hour may be excused by a leave-approving official.
When the reasons are determined not to be justifiable, the absence may be handled administratively in any of the following ways:
- Requiring the employee to make-up the time (e.g., staying late the same day) equivalent to the period of absence or tardiness as long as the extension would not result in the employee's entitlement to premium pay (e.g., night differential) to which he or she would not have otherwise been entitled;
- Charging the absence against any compensatory time which the employee may have to his or her credit;
- Charging the absence against annual leave, at the employee's request;
- Placing the employee on LWOP, at the employee's request; or
- Recording the absence as absence without leave.
When an employee is charged with leave or placed in a nonpay status for an unauthorized absence or tardiness, the supervisor may not require or allow the employee to perform work for any part of the period for which the employee is being charged with leave or is in a nonpay status.
Absence for Voting and Registration
Employees may be excused for a reasonable time, when practicable to do so without unduly interfering with operations, to vote or register in any elections or in referenda on civic matters within their community.
In general, in locations where polls are not open at least three hours before or after an employee's regularly scheduled hours of work, up to 3 hours of excused absence may be granted so that the employee has a minimum of 3 hours to vote. Excused absence may be permitted at either the beginning or end of the daily tour of duty depending on which requires less excused absence. For example, if an employee is scheduled to work from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the employee’s polling place is open from 7:00 a.m to 8:00 p.m., the employee may not be granted excused absence for voting since there is a minimum of 3 hours after the end of the work schedule to vote. However, if an employee is scheduled to work from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and the employee’s polling place is open from 7:00 a.m to 7:00 p.m., the employee may be granted ½ hour of excused absence from 4;00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., if requested. Since the employee would need 2 hours in the morning to meet the 3-hour threshold, the lesser of ½ hour of excused absence in the afternoon is appropriate.
Under exceptional circumstances, where it is necessary to enable the employee to vote, a greater amount of excused absence may be granted, but not to exceed a full day.
In jurisdictions where registration in person is required and registration cannot be accomplished on a nonworkday, an employee may be granted up to a full day of excused absence in order to register.
If an employee's voting location is beyond normal commuting distance and vote by absentee ballot is not permitted, the employee may be granted sufficient time off in order to be able to make the trip to the voting location to cast his or her ballot. Where more than one day is required to make the trip, time off in excess of one day shall be charged to annual leave, accrued compensatory time, or LWOP (32 Comp. Gen. 361).
Up to a full day of excused absence may be granted as required for an employee to prepare and have certified an absentee ballot, if these activities cannot be accomplished during nonworking hours.
Employees who elect to take time off from their regularly scheduled tour of duty to participate in electoral activities, such as serving as election officers, precinct inspectors or clerks, or poll workers may not be granted excused absence for these activities. Any time spent during regular duty hours for these activities is to be charged to the employee’s accrued annual leave, compensatory time, credit hours if on a flexible alternative work schedule, or LWOP.
Absence for Conventions or Conferences
Employees who are authorized by appropriate authority to attend conferences, conventions or meetings in connection with and as a part of their official duties are in duty status, and no grant of excused absence is necessary.
If the convention, conference or meeting is not directly related to the employee's official duties but attendance will contribute to the goals of the Department, it is within the discretion of the operating unit to grant excused absence or to grant annual leave or LWOP for such purposes.
The leave and duty status of an employee who attends a meeting, conference, or convention should be clearly established in advance.
Absence to Take Examinations
Employees taking noncompetitive civil service examinations for positions in the Department, examinations established by operating units to determine qualifications for promotion, or competitive examinations to qualify for competitive status in the positions which they hold in the Department, may be granted excused absence for the time necessary to take the examination, including the time it takes the employee to travel to and from the examination site.
Excused absence may be granted at the discretion of the leave-approving official for the time necessary to take other examinations (e.g., the CPA exam, bar exam) which are directly related to the employee's current or prospective duties within the Department.
Travel Time to Return to Place of Residence for Leave
Employees who return to the United States, or to their place of residence which is outside the area of employment in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico or the possessions of the United States, shall be granted excused absence for travel time without charge to leave under the following conditions:
- Only employees eligible to accumulate up to 45 days annual leave are entitled to excused absence for travel under this paragraph;
- The time involved (without charge to leave) shall not exceed what is actually and necessarily required by the mode of transportation authorized by the operating unit to travel to the employee's place of residence and to return to a duty station outside the United States; and
- Travel time shall be allowed for only one period of leave during a single tour of duty at a station outside the United States.
Absence for Medical Examinations
An employee may be granted excused absence to take a medical examination officially required in connection with his or her continued employment in the Department.
Immediate Treatment of On-the-Job Injury
An employee injured on-the-job may be granted excused absence for an initial examination and for immediate treatment by a physician of the employee's choice on the day of injury. Where local treatment is not available for employees who are duty stationed outside the continental United States, an employee may be excused for whatever period is required for travel to and from the nearest medical facility for necessary treatment.
Treatment for Illness Occurring during Working Hours
An employee who becomes ill during working hours may be granted excused absence for up to one hour for consultation and treatment in the nearest medical facility, including a government health unit or emergency room.
Similarly, an employee who is required under the advice of a physician to rest or receive periodic treatment may be excused, on a limited basis, for a period of up to one hour in a day. This provision covers unusual circumstances of short duration; it is not intended to be used as a substitute for sick leave (i.e., when an employee is incapacitated to perform the duties of his or her position). Employees who are under the advice of a physician to rest or receive periodic treatment during the workday must provide documentation from the physician specifying the circumstances, e.g., condition requiring rest or treatment, the treatment, the duration of rest period(s), etc.
Employees who donate blood to the Red Cross, including those that participate in apherisis (platelet donation) or who donate in emergency situations to local hospitals or blood-banks of nonprofit institutions, may be granted up to four hours excused absence from duty to make the donation (not including the lunch period). The four hours include time required to reach the donation site and return (if appropriate), as well as the time for actually donating blood and recovery. Time in excess of four hours may be granted at the employee's request, as annual leave, sick leave, accrued compensatory time, or LWOP.
Emergency conditions are defined as situations in which significant numbers of employees are prevented from reporting to work on time, or in which the closing of all or part of the Department's activities is required. Such conditions can include, but are not limited to snow emergencies, severe icing conditions, floods, earthquakes, major fires, public health or safety emergencies, hurricanes, air pollution, power failures, or widespread interruption of public transportation.
Closing. When an emergency condition results in the closing of all or part of the Department's activities for one or more whole days, all employees of offices affected by the closing will be excused from work without charge to leave, including employees who would otherwise have been on approved paid leave. However, the following are not entitled to excused absence and shall remain in their current status, employees:
- On LWOP pending disability;
- In receipt of workers' compensation;
- On military leave;
- On suspension; or
- In a nonpay status on the last hour of the workday immediately before and the first hour of the workday after the closure.
When a closing occurs, employees on a flexible work schedule who do not have a scheduled workday during the office closure (or are on their AWS day off) may not be granted another workday or “in-lieu-of” day. (See Comptroller General opinion B-217080 (June 3, 1985)).
Unscheduled Leave. When an emergency condition occurs before the workday begins, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) may announce an unscheduled leave policy which permits non-emergency employees to take annual leave or LWOP without prior approval of the leave-approving official. Non-emergency employees electing to take leave are expected to call in and inform their leave-approving official of their intentions.
Delayed Arrival (formally Adjusted Home Departure). When an emergency condition occurs before the workday begins, OPM may announce a delayed arrival which permits non-emergency employees to leave their homes later than their normal departure time consistent with the announcement. Employee should plan their commutes so that they arrive for work no more than XX hours later than they would normally arrive. In this situation, non-emergency employees will be excused without charge to leave or loss of pay for the period from normal arrival time at work until the expected arrival time at work. Employees who arrive later than their expected arrival time will be charged annual leave or leave without pay for the additional period of absence from work. Employees on previously approved scheduled leave for the entire day remain in the same leave status and are not granted excused absence for the period from normal departure time to the announcement time.
Delayed Arrival/Unscheduled Leave (formally Adjusted Home Departure/Unscheduled Leave). When an emergency condition occurs before the workday begins, a delayed arrival may be announced in conjunction with an unscheduled leave policy. In this situation, non-emergency employees should follow the delayed arrival and unscheduled leave policies listed above.
Tardiness beyond an employee’s actual arrival time at the work site when an adjusted home departure is announced may be excused at the discretion of the leave-approving official if the employee made a reasonably diligent effort to get to work on time. In determining the amount of additional excused absence to grant employees, leave-approving officials should consider such factors as distance, availability and mode of transportation, and the success of other employees in similar situations in reaching the workplace.
The above situations apply to all employees except operations employees who are expected to report to work on time and those employees not entitled to excused absence as listed above under “Closing.”
Early Dismissal (formally Adjusted Work Dismissal). When an emergency condition results in the early closing of an activity, OPM may announce an early dismissal in which employees will be dismissed relative to their normal departure times from work consistent with the announcement. For example, if a 3-hour early dismissal is announced due to inclement weather, an employee who normally leaves the office at 5 p.m. would be authorized to leave at 2 p.m. Supervisors have the discretion to exempt employees from their authorized dismissal times only to avoid hardships such as when younger children are released early from school and no alternative forms of child care are available. Employees excused for this reason are not to be charged personal leave.
Employees who are in a duty status at the time an early dismissal is announced will be excused without charge to leave for the remainder of the workday even if they were scheduled to take leave later in the day.
Employees who are in a duty status at the time an early dismissal is announced but leave before their authorized dismissal with approval from the leave-approving official (but not due to a hardship) shall be charged annual leave or LWOP for the rest of the scheduled workday.
Employees scheduled to report to work before the authorized dismissal, but who don't report, shall be charged leave or AWOL for the entire workday.
Employees on previously approved leave shall continue to be charged leave for the entire workday.
Employees scheduled to return from leave after announcement of dismissal but before their authorized dismissal, shall continue to be charged leave until their dismissal time. Absence after the time of dismissal shall be charged as excused absence even if the employee is scheduled to take leave later in the day.
Employees scheduled to report to work after an early dismissal is announced may be granted excused absence for the remainder of the workday even if they were scheduled to take leave later in the day.
The above does not apply to employees who have been designated as operations employees unless they are instructed otherwise.
Dismissal and Closure Procedures
Washington, D.C. Metro Area. Unscheduled leave policies, delayed arrivals and early dismissals, or closure of activities in emergency situations for work locations inside the Washington D.C. Capital Beltway are governed by the OPM.
When an emergency condition occurs outside of normal working hours, the OPM will announce the decision to close facilities or adjust arrival/departure times through the media. If OPM, in conjunction with local government and transportation officials, decides to close agencies because of emergency conditions occurring during work hours, it will notify the Director for Human Resources Management of the decision.
The Director for Human Resources Management or a designated staff member will notify principal human resource managers of the decision to close work operations. Principal human resource managers are responsible for notifying heads of operating units of the decision. They, in turn, are responsible for passing the word through proper chains of command.
Each operating unit must prescribe procedures by which management officials are notified of closings. Operating units with shift workers must establish procedures governing the leave or work status of shift employees during emergency situations in which employees on standard schedules are excused for all or part of the ordinary work day. These procedures must also prescribe how shift workers are to be notified.
Operating units will dismiss employees according to the Washington, DC, Area Emergency Dismissal or Closure Procedures. An operating unit that needs an exemption from the dismissal or closure procedures for certain organizational units within the metropolitan area must seek approval from the Director for Human Resources Management before publishing internal procedures.
Outside the Beltway. It is within the authority of heads of operating units or their designees to excuse employees from work at locations outside the Washington D.C. Capital Beltway in the event of emergency conditions. These managers are responsible for establishing dismissal and closure plans and emergency operating procedures.
Where there are several Department of Commerce tenants housed together and affected by the same emergency, they should coordinate their plans and act in unison insofar as that is feasible. The Director for Human Resources Management must be apprized when excused absences in excess of 3 days, closure of facilities, or evacuation is likely to occur.
This discretionary authority should not be exercised where it is merely inconvenient for employees to report to work, but only where:
- Conditions at the place of work are clearly intolerable or inadequate;
- Employees are or would be prevented from reporting to work despite reasonable efforts; or
- Local government officials have requested that operations be shut down.
Emergency conditions do not include reasonably foreseeable conditions of employment, such as inclement weather which precludes work by outside construction workers. Suspension of work operations because of such conditions is not a basis for excused absence.
Operating Unit Dismissal Plans. Operating unit plans governing the dismissal of employees must include the following as a minimum:
- Identification of organizational units and locations covered;
- The criteria governing decisions about leave situations and work locations, and how decisions will be communicated to employees;
- Identification of the officials authorized to close a work location; and
Prompt notification to the Director for Human Resources Management of any such closing or dismissal.
Heating and Cooling System Failures. Dismissals due to unusual employment or work conditions created by a temporary disruption of air cooling or heating systems should be rare. Employees are expected to work if conditions at the place of work are reasonably adequate, although these conditions may not be normal and may involve minor discomforts. Individual employees affected by unusual levels of temperature to the extent that they are incapacitated for duty, or to the extent that continuance on duty would adversely affect their health, may be granted annual leave, sick leave, accrued compensatory time, or LWOP.
Before excused absence may be granted, it must be clearly established by reasonable standards of judgment that the conditions are such as to actually prevent working and that there are no other reasonable alternatives for movement of affected employees to other work locations. Such matters as the physical requirements of the positions involved and the temperatures of the work areas should be considered.
When conditions listed above are met, the Director for Human Resources Management may au-theorize the dismissal of employees in the Herbert C. Hoover Building, Washington, D.C. Under similar conditions, heads of operating units and their designated representatives may exercise this authority in other Commerce offices.
Designation of emergency employees. Annually, heads of operating units shall:
- Determine which of their activities, if any, must be continued in operation despite a closing or dismissal due to an emergency or other condition and make adequate preparation for the continuation of such services.
- Identify emergency personnel (including alternates) and notify them that they are so designated. The notice must include the requirement that emergency personnel report to, or remain at, work in emergency or other situations and an explanation that dismissal or closure announcements do not apply to them unless they are instructed otherwise.
Publication of dismissal procedures. Operating units must provide annual notification to employees of dismissal procedures. Notification is expected to be given shortly after OPM issues their dismissal procedures (i.e., usually during November of each year) and the Director, OHRM, forwards same. Such notification may alert employees to their options with respect to using leave, compensatory time, credit hours, or leave without pay.
Notifications to employees with work locations inside the Washington D.C. Capital Beltway must also include an explanation of the Washington, DC, Area Emergency Dismissal of Closure Procedures issued by OPM and the meaning of the various OPM media announcements.
Inquiries. Officials and employees shall refrain from calling the agencies and offices responsible for making or communicating decisions concerning the closing of offices, to avoid congestion of telephone circuits and possible delay in the transmission of emergency messages.
Civil Defense Pre-Emergency Training Programs
Full-time employees may be excused for up to 40 working hours during a single calendar year to participate in pre-emergency training programs, tests, or drills at the request of state or local civil defense authorities. However, members of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) ordered to participate in CAP activities (emergency search, training, or drills) are not eligible for excused absence for those purposes.
When an employee has requested and received approval for excused absence in excess of one day for civil defense activities, the employee shall provide to the leave-approving official a statement signed by a responsible official of the local civil defense organization certifying the employee's attendance through-out the period of excused absence.
Notice Period Preceding a Removal or Indefinite Suspension
When an employee's removal or indefinite suspension is proposed, and the employee's continued presence at the worksite during the notice period would constitute a threat to public property or the health and safety of coworkers or the public, the employee may be placed on excused absence for all or part of the time required to effect the action in accordance with regulations and Department policies on adverse actions.
Notice Period Preceding a Reduction in Force
Employees who have received a general or specific notice of reduction in force may be granted excused absence for interviews for other prospective positions within the Department, during the notice period.
Absence for Volunteer Service
Because an agency is authorized to pay the salaries only of employees who perform work related to the agency's mission and because pay levels for those employees are determined by the official duties they perform for the employing agency, it is generally inappropriate to pay an employee for performing volunteer service during work hours. Credit hours, annual leave, accrued compensatory time, or LWOP should be considered before granting an employee excused absence to engage in volunteer service during normal work hours. Notwithstanding these considerations, employees may be granted excused absence of short duration for volunteer service if such service:
- Is directly related to the Department's mission;
- Is officially sponsored or sanctioned by the Secretary; or
- Will clearly enhance the professional development or skills of the employee in his or her current position.
Absence for Participation in Health and Fitness Activities
Participation in approved alternative work schedules or grants of annual leave, accrued compensatory time, leave without pay or, in limited circumstances, excused absence should normally be exercised to allow an employee to participate in health and fitness activities. However, before taking such action, due consideration should be given to the effect of the employee's absence or change in duty schedule on work operations and productivity.
The limited circumstances for which excused absence may be granted to an employee to participate in health and fitness activities are as follows:
- The activity must be officially sponsored or sanctioned by the Secretary;
- The amount of excused absence in each instance must be a short period, and the activity for which excused absence is granted must be a specific, fixed duration; and
- The leave-approving official must determine that the employee's participation in the activity will likely benefit the organization.
Absence for Organ Donations or Participation in Living Donor Programs
Employees may be granted up to 30 days of excused absence per calendar year in addition to annual and sick leave, and any other form of leave to the employee's credit for organ donation and recovery. Employees may also be granted seven (7) days of excused absence per calendar year (in addition to annual and sick leave, and any other form of leave to the employee's credit) specifically for bone marrow donation and recovery. Note that employees may not use 7 days of excused absence for bone marrow donation for their own future use. At the employee’s request (and supervisor's discretion), recovery time in excess of the 30 days for organ donation/recovery or 7 days for bone marrow donation/recovery may be charged to annual leave, sick leave, advanced annual or sick leave, accrued compensatory time, accrued credit hours (if on a flexible alternative work schedule) or leave without pay.
Supervisors may also authorize short periods of excused absence from duty so that employees can participate in screening activities to become potential bone marrow or living organ donors.
Under the Organ Donor Leave Act (public law 106-56), employees who use leave for organ or bone marrow donation will do so without loss of or reduction in pay, leave to which otherwise entitled, credit for time in service, or performance or efficiency rating.
Travel between Duty Stations
Employees required to travel to a new duty station shall be considered in a duty status during the period of travel if the transfer is made in the interest of the Government, whether or not the employee's transportation expenses are paid by the Government, and no grant of excused absence will be recorded.
In such cases, if the employee for personal reasons travels by an indirect route, or uses a mode of transportation requiring more time than is otherwise required, the additional travel time shall be charged to annual leave, accrued compensatory time, or LWOP.
In any case in which an employee's transfer is primarily in the employee's interest, any absence on travel necessitated by the transfer shall be charged to annual leave, accrued compensatory time, or LWOP.
Moving Arrangements in Connection with Duty Station Change
Employees may be granted a reasonable amount of excused absence to complete pre- and post-moving arrangements in connection with a permanent transfer overseas, from one overseas post to another, from overseas to an assignment in the United States, or between duty stations in the United States that are located more than 100 miles apart, if the transfer is made in the interest of the Government.
Up to 16 hours of excused absence may be granted for the purpose of packing before the change in duty station, and up to 8 hours for unpacking upon arrival at the new duty station. Additional absences for this purpose shall be charged to annual leave, accrued compensatory time, or LWOP, as appropriate.
In any case in which the employee's transfer is primarily in the employee's interest, any absence necessitated by the change in duty station shall be charged to annual leave, accrued compensatory time, or LWOP, as appropriate.
Rest Period after Travel
An employee who travels directly between origin and destination point which are separated by several times zones and either of which is outside the continental United States may be authorized excused absence the following day when air travel between the two points is by less than premium class accommodations and the scheduled flight time, including stopovers, exceeds 14 hours by the direct or usually traveled route.
Excused absence shall not be authorized when an employee, for personal convenience, elects to travel by an indirect route resulting in excess travel time. Neither shall excused absence be authorized if the accommodations are premium class or better. Excused absence may not be authorized for a noncontiguous duty period. A grant of excused absence may not imply an entitlement to premium pay for the travel hours.
Return from Active Military Service
Federal employees who are members of the National Guard or Reserves and who are returning from active duty insupport of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) are entitled to five (5) days of excused absence, without loss of pay or personal leave, to ease the transition to civilian life. An “overseas” deployment is not required for this entitlement. Excused absence for this purpose is applicable for employees returning from active military service in connection with the GWOT as part of Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom, as well as any other current or future military operations deemed to be part of the GWOT. The following applies to the granting of excused absence for this purpose:
- Employees must have been on active duty in support of the GWOT for at least 42 consecutive days for eligibility to the leave;
- If an additional 42-consecutive days of active duty occurs during the same 12-month period, the employee is not eligible for another 5 days of excused absence. A subsequent period of active duty of at least 42 consecutive days must end after the current 12-month period for an employee to be eligible for an additional 5 days of excused absence;
- The 5 days of excused absence must be used all at once and be granted as soon as the employee reports back for Federal civilian duty or provides notification to the agency of his/her intent to return to civilian duty. The only exceptions to this are if the employee has already returned to Federal service and: (1) did not initially take the 5 days of excused absence because he/she returned to duty prior to November 14, 2003; or (2) was not granted the 5 days of excused absence for a second or subsequent deployment outside of the original 12-month period. In these cases, the time frame for use of the excused absence must be mutually agreeable to the employee and his/her supervisor;
- The 5 days of excused absence does not affect the time limits for employees exercising their restoration rights since the commencement of the 5 days constitutes a return to Federal civilian service;
- The period of excused absence for an employee on a part-time tour of duty or an uncommon tour of duty is prorated based on the number of hours in the employee’s regularly scheduled workweek. Prorations of excused absence are not to be made based on the length of service of active military duty.
Note that if an employee was not a Federal civilian employee at the time of his/her activation he/she does not qualify for the 5 days of excused absence.
Testimony at Administrative Proceedings
Employees called to testify or provide sworn statements at hearings conducted by the Office of Special Counsel, the Merit Systems Protection Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or duly appointed arbitrators or grievance examiners are deemed within the employer-employee relationship. Employees are considered in an official duty status for the period of testimony and no grant of excused absence will be recorded. Similarly, employees are considered in an official duty status for the presentation of, but not the preparation of, administrative grievances.
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Complaints
Employees who are pursuing their own EEO complaint against the Department, or have been approved to represent other Department employees who are pursuing an EEO complaint against the Department, or are asked to provide evidence as a witness in an EEO inquiry or investigation, as part of an administrative proceeding must be granted a reasonable amount of official time to engage in this EEO activity. Employees are considered in official duty status for this time and no grant of excused absence will be recorded.
Official time will not be granted to employees pursuing EEO complaints against other Federal agencies, or serving as representatives in such complaints unless they are appearing under summons or called pursuant to a hearing. Absence for any such purpose must be charged to annual leave, accrued compensatory time, or LWOP.
Leave-approving officials should consult with the HRO when granting or denying employee requests for official time to pursue EEO complaints.
Updated December 2008.