OPM updates severe-weather guidelines for federal offices

December 6, 2013
National Park Service employees dig out the Lincoln Memorial in February 2010. (Linda Davidson/AP).
National Park Service employees dig out the Lincoln Memorial in February 2010. (Linda Davidson/AP)

The Office of Personnel Management this week updated its closure and dismissal policies for D.C. area federal offices, tweaking its language on delayed arrivals and urging agencies to ensure that more employees telework during severe weather days.

The new guidelines require OPM to alert workers that they should arrive no later than a designated time for delayed arrivals, which allow employees more time than usual to commute when road conditions are poor.

The agency eliminated its previous policy of directing workers to stay off the roads until a certain time and telling them when federal offices would open, due to confusion those messages caused about when to arrive. Some employees mistakenly thought they could not arrive until the opening time, according to officials.

OPM’s new guidelines also encourage agencies to enter into telework agreements with all employees who are eligible for those plans, saying supervisors should allow workers to use that option regularly so they’re prepared to do so again when bad weather strikes. The goal is to ensure continuity of operations during closures.

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Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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Josh Hicks · December 6, 2013