Some Federal workers were allowed to come in late Thursday without being charged annual leave. Others were docked for being late. This is why:

In the event of a major snow or ice storm the government may announce a "delayed arrival" policy. That means your own supervisor may decide to allow you to come to work up to two hours late without being charged leave time.

The key is supervisory discretion. A delayed-arrival policy doesn't mean everybody in government, in an agency or even in the same office can automatically come in two hours late. Your boss can decide whether your commuting problems justify tardiness without charge to leave.

If the government announces a "liberal leave" policy, that means employes who believe they cannot safely make it to work can take the day off, using their own annual leave, without first getting approval from their supervisor.

Federal officials say weather conditions will have to be extremely hazardous before there will be any governmentwide shutdown, or early release of employes.

Feds who are designated as "essential" (if you haven't been told, you aren't) are expected to be on the job, on time, no matter what the weather.