With severe winter weather potentially on the way, employees may want to re-acquaint themselves with dismissal and other policies that can be invoked in those conditions.

Agencies in the Washington, D.C., area follow the “Washington, D.C., Area Dismissal or Closure Procedures” in emergency situations including severe weather that prevent significant numbers of employees from reporting for work on time or which require agencies to close all or part of their activities. These are available at www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/reference-materials/handbooks/dcdismissal.pdf. Federal Executive Boards coordinate similar dismissal or closure procedures in other major metropolitan areas. Information on them is at www.feb.gov.

Employees designated as “emergency,” “emergency essential” or similar terms are expected to report for work on time and stay until dismissed in all circumstances, unless they are specifically excused. In some cases, such employees might telework.

“Option for unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework” means that employees may take annual leave or leave without pay without prior supervisory approval, or telework on a non-telework day, but must notify their supervisor they are doing so.

* Agencies are open. Employees are expected to report to their worksite or begin telework on time.

* Agencies are open, with an option for unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework.

* Agencies are open with delayed arrival of a designated number of hours later than the employee’s normal arrival time, with an option for unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework.

* Agencies are open with a delayed arrival and employees should report to their worksites no later than a designated time, with an option for unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework. Employees receive excused absence until that time; they may arrive earlier and should not try to time their commutes to arrive precisely at that time. Those arriving later will be charged annual leave unless they are granted excused absence due to a personal hardship.

* Agencies are open with a staggered early departure. Employees leave the workplace a designated number of hours earlier than their normal departure time, with excused absence for the time remaining in their work days. Employees may request unscheduled leave to depart prior to their early departure time; they will be charged leave for the remainder of the day and will not be granted excused absence.

* Agencies are open with a staggered early departure and all employees must leave by a designated time, at which time offices are closed. Employees leave the workplace a designated number of hours earlier than their normal departure time, with excused absence. Employees may request unscheduled leave to depart prior to their early departure time; they will be charged leave for the remainder of the day and will not be granted excused absence.

* Immediate departure—federal offices are closed. Employees should depart immediately; they will be granted excused absence for any remaining time in their working days. Employees who depart before such an announcement will be charged annual leave or leave without pay from the time they left until the end of their scheduled work days.

* Federal offices are closed—emergency and telework-ready employees must follow their agency’s policies (commonly, they are expected to work if able). Other employees are granted excused absence for the number of hours they were scheduled to work.

* Shelter in place. This typically will be ordered if severe conditions or other emergencies arise during the working day. Offices are closed and employees are to follow their agency’s procedures for such situations.

The dismissal procedures guide describes policies for special situations such as when employees are on leave without pay, are traveling, or have a scheduled day off under an alternative work schedule.