It might be a good idea to check with your office if it is in Maryland early Monday morning to see whether you should go to work.
Because of the on-again-off-again water crisis, there is a chance that those federal workers - especially those with offices in Prince Georges and Montgomery counties - may be told to stay home and cool it Monday.
Federal agencies have the authority to shut down independently because of weather or other emergencies. Some did this week. It could happen again. Yesterday the Civil Service Commission put out this statement to advise the area's 347,000 civil servants of the situation. It goes like this:
"Federal agencies are cooperating fully with local authorities in the present water emergency in suburban Maryland counties. The decision on whether a particular operation is essential will be made by each federal agency.
"Therefore, federal employees who work in areas affected by the emergency should check with their won agencies as to whether they should report for work.
"The Civil Service Commission has reminded federal agencies of the standing instructions to follow in the event it becomes necessary to excuse workers."
When and if an agency head or manager decides to close or curtail operations - because of an emergency - he or she has wide discretion as to the type of leave employees will get during the emergency.
During emergencies workers can be placed on administrative leave. That means they get paid as usual for not working, with no charge to annual leave (vacation time). Or, the boss can order work shifts be staggered (not likely in a water crisis). OR employees could be shifted temporarily to a new work site.
Finally, the government can require workers to use annual leave for short-haul emergencies. Employees who don't have any annual leave time built up can "borrow" against future leave.
Best bet for government workers - especially those with Maryland offices - is to listen to radion and TV broadcasts early Monday, and watch the Sunday and Monday papers for word of any agency closings. Employees can call their offices - if anybody is there. It might be smart for federal agencies to have a recorded telephone message ready for Monday morning.