OPM has reminded agencies in areas affected by Hurricane Harvey of the pay and leave flexibilities available in emergency situations, including authority to excuse employees from work with pay.

Further, OPM invited requests from agencies to establish an emergency leave transfer program in which employees of the same or other agencies could donate annual leave to employees who are affected or who have affected family members. In addition, OPM said agencies may ask to hold special workplace solicitations in support of victims outside the Combined Federal Campaign.

The guidance also spelled out special hiring authorities that agencies may use to fill positions quickly. These include direct hire authority for certain medical, IT and acquisition positions; temporary rehiring of federal retirees without the standard offset between their salaries and annuities; temporary excepted service appointments; and other temporary appointments and use of private sector temporary employment firms.

The GSA has said that about three dozen facilities it owns or manages in the affected area have been closed. An estimated 60,000 federal employees work in the Houston area alone and numerous agencies are involved in disaster response efforts.