Federal Times Blogs

OPM declares unscheduled leave, telework for DC area; offices open tomorrow

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Although wide swaths of the Washington DC area remain powerless and sweltering after Friday night’s derecho storm, the federal government will be open tomorrow, the Office of Personnel Management just said.

However, non-emergency essential employees in the DC area will have the option of taking unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework if they choose, OPM said.

(But speaking for myself, I can’t imagine why anybody without power would want to stay home this week. Even the worst job sounds pretty good when outdoor temperatures are hovering near 100 and the office has AC.)

You can check Dominion Power’s work schedule here. If you’re without power, we hope you stay cool and hydrated. And remember, if you come up on a powerless traffic light, treat it like a four-way stop sign.


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Unscheduled leave, telework for DC Tuesday; Chicago faces “life-threatening” blizzard

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Federal employees in the Washington area will be able to take unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework Tuesday, the Office of Personnel Management just announced. Forecasters say Washington could get a “light wintry mix” tonight. That may not sound like a lot, but OPM seems to want to get way out in front of this storm. (Last week’s flash snowstorm and epic gridlock showed just how much havoc a little poor weather and lack of preparation can wreak on the capital.)

“Now is the time for managers and employees to discuss the possibility of working from home on Tuesday,” the notice said. OPM also said the government could have a delayed opening tomorrow, and that uncertain weather conditions could extend through Wednesday.

[UPDATE: The Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang is forecasting a "double ice threat" between now and midday Wednesday.]

Chicago, on the other hand, is expected to get smacked beginning at noon tomorrow by a “life-threatening” blizzard (which may include 18-foot waves from Lake Michigan). The Chicago Federal Executive Board just told me that their Emergency Preparedness Advisory Committee — a 12-member panel that includes leaders from OPM, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the General Services Administration — will meet at 4 p.m. CST today to decide whether to close the government or make any other operational status changes.

Feds in and around Chicago should monitor their FEB’s Operating Status page here as your storm develops.

And speaking of the government’s response to snowstorms, the Onion has the scoop on FEMA pre-positioning supplies for New Orleans:

FEMA Rushes Supplies To New Orleans In Anticipation Of Light Snow

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Federal government to open two hours late Friday

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The Office of Personnel Management just announced the federal government will open under a two-hour delay on Friday. Anyone who can’t make it into work can take unscheduled leave.

If you get to work any more than two hours late, you’ll be charged annual leave or leave without pay for the additional period of absence. But if you take unscheduled leave, you’ll be charged leave for the entire day — you won’t get the same two hours’ grace period other feds will get.

If you telework or are an emergency employee, you’ve got to start working on time.

OPM Director John Berry also issued a statement this evening that stressed most of the government is still operating, and many Washington-area feds are getting their jobs done through teleworking. Full statement after the jump:

Read the rest of this entry »

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SnOMG update: Four-hour early dismissal

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The Office of Personnel Management declared federal employees will go home four hours early today. Emergency employees still have to show up on time.

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Snow update: OPM recommending employees telework

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Snow’s a-comin’, and the Office of Personnel Management just issued a memo recommending agencies allow any eligible employees to telework tomorrow. “This severe weather forecast presents a key opportunity for agencies to test their telework plans in the context of emergency preparedness,” OPM Director John Berry wrote.

Berry also said employees on alternative work schedules should, if possible, schedule their day off or use credit hours tomorrow. As of now, agencies in the Washington area will be operating on an unscheduled leave policy tomorrow. If an employee doesn’t think he’ll be able to make it in tomorrow, Berry said he should tell his supervisor as soon as possible that he plans to take annual leave, compensatory time off, credit hours or leave without pay.

The National Weather Service is still predicting the snow to begin mid-morning, but says “conditions will deteriorate rapidly Friday afternoon” and the most hazardous conditions will be tomorrow night. Arlington County, Va., is also recommending residents have enough food and water to last three to five days. (h/t to @weatherbykate, who also notes that the always-helpful weather.com lists tomorrow’s golf index as “poor.” You know, in case you were still hoping to squeeze in that back nine.)

EDIT: Also, a helpful emergency weather planning guide can be found here.

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Liberal leave in DC today

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The Office of Personnel Management announced an unscheduled leave policy is in effect today for non-emergency federal employees in the Washington, DC, area.

Federal offices are open, but employees can take the day off by notifying their supervisors, OPM said. Emergency employees must report to work on time.

With the potential for icy rain and snow showers today in the Washington region, and a slow day expected before the New Year’s holiday, OPM officials decided to play it safe and keep some employees off the roads.

Federal offices nationwide will be closed tomorrow in observance of New Year’s Day.

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