Federal agencies have been urged to allow more telework and alternative work schedules for their employees during the current work on Metrorail.
In a memo sent late Friday, the Office of Personnel Management said it “strongly encourages agencies to allow affected employees to utilize various workplace flexibilities” through the project, which is scheduled to continue through Aug. 26.
It adds Metro “is advising that this will lead to extensive delays and crowding in the system” and has encouraged Orange, Blue and Silver line riders “to use alternate transportation and to only use Metrorail if they have no other option throughout this period of track work.”
According to a Metro fact sheet, 35 Metrorail stations serve federal facilities, and 39 percent of peak-period commuters are federal employees.
In its memo, OPM, the government’s central personnel agency, reminded agencies about the policies they were told to put in place for the similarly disruptive 2016 SafeTrack project. “Ultimately, individual agencies are responsible for ensuring continuity of operations and are in the best position to determine which flexibilities are appropriate for their workforce,” the memo said.
Federal agencies may allow employees to work on a variety of alternative work schedules so long as employees work 80 hours per biweekly pay period. They also may authorize telework on either a regular schedule or as needed if the employee’s position is suitable for it. OPM reported in March that such programs yield benefits both to workers and to their agencies, including higher performance, job satisfaction and commitment to stay with the government.