Following are the newly revised policies governing emergency weather dismissal policies in the Washington, D.C. area that are commonly followed in other places.


A. OPM Announcement: OPEN

What OPM Announcement Means: “Federal agencies in the Washington, DC, area are OPEN. Employees are expected to report to their worksite or begin telework on time.”

Normal operating procedures are in effect. Employees account for their hours of work by WATS:

Working at a worksite (typically the office) in the DC area,

Alternative work schedules (AWS) day off,

Teleworking, or

Scheduled leave or other paid time off.

B. OPM Announcement: OPEN WITH OPTION FOR UNSCHEDULED LEAVE OR UNSCHEDULED TELEWORK

What OPM Announcement Means: “Federal agencies in the Washington, DC, area are OPEN and employees have the OPTION for UNSCHEDULED LEAVE OR UNSCHEDULED TELEWORK.”

Non-Emergency Employees. Non-emergency employees must notify their supervisors of their intent to use unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework (if telework-ready). Non-emergency employees have the option to (1) use earned annual leave, compensatory time off, credit hours, or sick leave, as appropriate; (2) use leave without pay; or (3) request to use their flexible work schedule day off or rearrange their work hours under flexible work schedules.

Telework-Ready Employees. Telework-ready employees who are regularly scheduled to perform telework or who notify their supervisor of their intention to perform unscheduled telework must be prepared to telework for the entire workday, or take unscheduled leave, or a combination of both for the entire workday, in accordance with their agency’s policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements.

Emergency Employees. Emergency employees are expected to report to their worksites on time unless otherwise directed by their agencies.

C. OPM Announcement: OPEN – XX HOUR(S) DELAYED ARRIVAL – WITH OPTION FOR UNSCHEDULED LEAVE OR UNSCHEDULED TELEWORK

What OPM Announcement Means: “Federal agencies in the Washington, DC, area are OPEN under XX HOUR(S) DELAYED ARRIVAL and employees have the OPTION FOR UNSCHEDULED LEAVE OR UNSCHEDULED TELEWORK.”

Delayed Arrival. Non-emergency employees should plan their commute so the arrival for work is no more than XX hour(s) later than the employees’ normal arrival time. For example, if OPM announces a 2-hour delayed arrival policy, employees who normally would arrive at 8:00 a.m. should arrive for work no later than 10:00 a.m. Such employees will be granted excused absence (administrative leave) for up to the designated number of hours past their normal arrival time.

Non-Emergency Employees. Non-emergency employees must notify their supervisors of their intent to use unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework. Non-emergency employees have the option to (1) use earned annual leave, compensatory time off, credit hours, or sick leave, as appropriate; (2) use leave without pay; or (3) request to use their flexible work schedule day off or rearrange their work hours under flexible work schedules.

Telework-Ready Employees. Telework-ready employees who are regularly scheduled to perform telework or who notify their supervisors of their intention to perform unscheduled telework must be prepared to telework the entire workday or, take unscheduled leave, or a combination of both, for the entire workday in accordance with their agency’s policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements.

Emergency Employees. Emergency employees are expected to report to their worksites on time unless otherwise directed by their agencies.

Flexible Work Schedules. For employees under flexible work schedules, agencies should consult OPM’s Handbook on Alternative Work Schedules (see information on “Excused Absence” in the “Flexible Work Schedules” section) to determine the “normal arrival and

departure times” of employees on flexible schedules. The handbook is available on OPM’s website at http://www.opm.gov/oca/aws/index.htm.

Pre-approved Leave. Employees on pre-approved leave for the entire workday or employees who have notified their supervisors of their intent to use unscheduled leave when a delayed arrival is announced should be charged leave for the entire workday. Such employees should not be granted excused absence.

Personal Hardship. An agency may grant excused absence to employees who arrived later than their expected arrival time, if delayed for personal hardship reasons. For example, if OPM announces a 2-hour delayed arrival policy, and employees arrive for work 3 hours later than their expected arrival times, the employees should be charged 1 hour of leave. However, in the case of unique circumstances or hardships, agencies may determine to grant excused absence for the excess time.

D. OPM Announcement: OPEN – XX HOUR(S) STAGGERED EARLY DEPARTURE

What OPM Announcement Means: “Federal agencies in the Washington, DC, area are OPEN. Employees should depart XX HOUR(S) earlier than their normal departure times from the office and may request UNSCHEDULED LEAVE to depart prior to their staggered departure times.”

Early Departure Time. Non-emergency employees will be dismissed from their office early relative to their scheduled departure times and will be granted excused absence (administrative leave) for the number of hours remaining in their workday beyond their early departure time. For example, if a 3-hour staggered early departure is announced, employees who work 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. would be expected to depart at 2:00 p.m. (i.e., the employees’ staggered departure time).

Telework-Ready Employees. Telework-ready employees performing telework must continue to telework or take unscheduled leave, or a combination of both for the entire workday in accordance with their agency’s policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements.

Departure Prior to Early Dismissal Time. Non-emergency employees who wish to depart prior to their staggered early departure time may request to use unscheduled leave. Such employees will be charged leave for the remainder of their workday and will not be granted excused absence.

Emergency Employees. Emergency employees are expected to remain at their worksites unless otherwise directed by their agencies.

Flexible Work Schedules. For employees under flexible work schedules, agencies should consult OPM’s Handbook on Alternative Work Schedules (see information on “Excused Absence” in the “Flexible Work Schedules” section) to determine the “normal arrival and

departure times” of employees on flexible schedules. The handbook is available on OPM’s website at http://www.opm.gov/oca/aws/index.htm.

Pre-approved leave. Employees on pre-approved leave for the entire workday or employees who have requested unscheduled leave before an early departure policy is announced should continue to be charged leave for the entire workday or remainder of the workday, as applicable. Employees who are not affected by the emergency (i.e. not prevented from working) should not be granted excused absence (administrative leave).

If employees are on leave and are not scheduled to return on that day, the employees are not prevented from working by the emergency and should continue to be charged leave.

If employees on leave who are scheduled to return to work after the applicable staggered departure time, the employees should be granted excused absence starting from the time he or she was scheduled to return from leave.

If employees have pre-approved leave commencing after their staggered departure times (e.g., for a medical appointment), an agency may consider granting excused absence.

Personal hardships. Agencies may grant excused absence to permit employees to depart early to avoid personal hardships (e.g., when there is no available public transportation or no alternative forms of child/elder care, or the employee has health/medical limitations). However, agencies should bear in mind that the purpose of the early departure policy is to allow an orderly staggered release of Federal employees in the Washington, DC, area so as to avoid traffic gridlock and overcrowding of the public transit systems and to facilitate snow removal and operational capabilities of emergency first responders.

Employees who telework from remote locations. Employees who telework from remote locations may be required to work during any closure of their agency’s home office, as provided in the employees’ telework agreements, consistent with their agency’s policies, procedures, and any applicable collective bargaining requirements. If Federal offices in the geographic area of their remote location announce an early departure (e.g., a snow emergency), such employees should follow the requirements of their telework agreement, consistent with their agency’s policies, procedures, and any applicable collective bargaining requirements, or contact their supervisor for further information and instructions.

Employees on official travel. If non-emergency employees are on official travel on a workday when their agency offices are closed to the public in the Washington, DC, area, employees are expected to continue working. However, if the emergency procedures of the agency make it impossible for the employees to continue work – e.g., the travel assignment requires frequent contact with the agency in the Washington, DC, area – excused absence may be appropriate. Agencies are responsible for determining whether employees are required to continue working or will be granted excused absence under these circumstances.

E. OPM Announcement: OPEN – XX HOUR(S) STAGGERED EARLY DEPARTURE – EMPLOYEES MUST DEPART NO LATER THAN XX: XX AT WHICH TIME FEDERAL OFFICES ARE CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC.

What OPM Announcement Means: “Federal agencies in the Washington, DC, area are OPEN. Employees should depart XX HOUR(S) earlier than their normal departure times and may request UNSCHEDULED LEAVE to depart prior to their staggered departure times. Employees MUST DEPART at no later than XX: XX at which time FEDERAL OFFICES in the Washington, DC, area are CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC.”

Early Departure Time. Non-emergency employees will be dismissed relative to their normal departure times and will be granted excused absence (administrative leave) for the number of hours remaining in their workdays beyond their staggered departure time. All remaining non-emergency employees whose staggered departure times are later than the final departure time should depart from their offices at the final departure time. All employees who depart at the final departure time will be granted excused absence (administrative leave) for the number of hours remaining in their workday, even if more than the XX hour(s) provided in the OPM announcement. For example, if a 3-hour staggered emergency early dismissal is announced with a final departure time at 2:00 p.m., and an employee works 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the employee should leave at 12:30 p.m. (i.e., the employee’ early departure time). However, if an employee works 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., the employee should depart at 2:00 p.m. (the final departure time) instead of the employee’s staggered departure time at 3:00 p.m. In this case, the employee would receive 4 hours of excused absence (i.e., 2:00 to 6:00 p.m.).

Telework-Ready Employees. Telework-ready employees performing telework must continue to telework or take unscheduled leave, or a combination of both for the entire workday in accordance with their agency’s policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements.

Departure Prior to Early Dismissal Time. Non-emergency employees who depart prior to their staggered early departure time or final departure time may request to use unscheduled leave. Such employees will be charged leave for the remainder of their workday and will not be granted excused absence.

Emergency Employees. Emergency employees are expected to remain at their worksite unless otherwise directed by their agencies.

Flexible Work Schedules. For employees under flexible work schedules, agencies should consult OPM’s Handbook on Alternative Work Schedules (see information on “Excused Absence” in the “Flexible Work Schedules” section) to determine the “normal arrival and departure times” of employees on flexible schedules. The handbook is available on OPM’s website at http://www.opm.gov/oca/aws/index.htm.

Pre-approved leave. Employees on pre-approved leave for the entire workday or employees who have requested unscheduled leave before an early departure policy is announced should continue to be charged leave for the entire workday or the remainder

of the workday, as applicable. Employees who are not affected by the emergency (prevented from working) should not be granted excused absence (administrative leave).

If employees are on leave and are not scheduled to return on that day, the employees are not prevented from working by the emergency and should continue to be charged leave.

If employees on leave who are scheduled to return to work after the staggered departure or final departure time, as applicable, the employees should be granted excused absence starting from the time he or she was scheduled to return from leave.

If employees have pre-approved leave commencing after their staggered departure times (e.g., for a medical appointment), an agency may consider granting excused absence.

Personal hardships. Agencies may grant excused absence to permit employees to depart early to avoid personal hardships (e.g., when there is no available public transportation or alternative forms of child/elder care, or the employee has health/medical limitations). However, agencies should bear in mind that the purpose of the early departure policy is to allow an orderly staggered release of Federal employees in the Washington, DC, area so as to avoid traffic gridlock and overcrowding of the public transit systems, and to facilitate snow removal and operational capabilities of emergency first responders.

Employees who telework from remote locations. Employees who telework from remote locations may be required to work during any closure of their agency’s home office, as provided in the employees’ telework agreements, consistent with their agency’s policies, procedures, and any applicable collective bargaining requirements agreements. If Federal offices in the geographic area of their remote location announce an early departure (e.g., a snow emergency), such employees should follow the requirements of their telework agreement, consistent with their agency’s policies, procedures, and any applicable collective bargaining requirements agreements, or contact their supervisor for further information and instructions.

Employees on official travel. If non-emergency employees are on official travel on a workday when their agency offices are closed to the public in the Washington, DC, area, employees are expected to continue working. However, if the emergency procedures of the agency make it impossible for the employees to continue work – e.g., the travel assignment requires frequent contact with the agency in the Washington, DC, area – excused absence may be appropriate. Agencies are responsible for determining whether employees are required to continue working or will be granted excused absence under these circumstances.

F. OPM Announcement: IMMEDIATE DEPARTURE—FEDERAL OFFICES ARE CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC

What OPM Announcement Means: “IMMEDIATE DEPARTURE. Employees should depart IMMEDIATELY. FEDERAL OFFICES in the Washington, DC, area are CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC.”

Immediate Departure. Non-emergency employees should depart immediately from their offices. All non-emergency employees will be granted excused absence (administrative leave) for the number of hours remaining in their workday. For example, if OPM announces an immediate departure at 12:00 p.m., all non-emergency employees will be granted excused absence (administrative leave) for the number of hours remaining in their scheduled workday unless covered by one of the exceptions listed below.

Emergency Employees. Emergency employees are expected to remain at their worksites unless otherwise directed by their agencies.

Exceptions

Employees who leave before an immediate departure policy is announced. Employees who depart before an immediate departure policy is announced should be charged annual leave or leave without pay beginning at the time the employees left work and for the remainder of their scheduled workday.

Employees scheduled to return to work. If employees are scheduled to return from leave after an immediate departure is announced, the agency should charge leave for the period prior to the immediate departure time and grant excused absence for the remainder of the workday following the immediate departure time.

Telework-Ready Employees. Telework-ready employees performing telework must continue to telework for the entire workday or take unscheduled leave for the remainder of the workday, as applicable in accordance with their agencies’ policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements.

Employees who telework from remote locations. Employees who telework from remote locations may be required to work during any closure of their agency’s home office, as provided in the employees’ telework agreements, consistent with their agency’s policies, procedures, and any applicable collective bargaining requirements. If Federal offices in the geographic area of their remote location are closed to the public (e.g., a snow emergency), such employees should follow the requirements of their telework agreement, consistent with their agency’s policies, procedures, and any applicable collective bargaining requirements, or contact their supervisor for further information and instructions.

Employees on official travel. If non-emergency employees are on official travel on a workday when their agency offices are closed to the public in the Washington, DC, area, employees are expected to continue working. However, if the emergency procedures of the agency make it impossible for the employees to continue work – e.g., the travel assignment requires frequent contact with the agency in the Washington, DC, area – excused absence may be appropriate. The agency is responsible for determining whether employees are required to continue working or will be granted excused absence under these circumstances.

Employees on an alternative work schedule (AWS) day off. If Federal offices are closed to the public on the employees’ regular AWS day off, they are not entitled to an additional “in lieu of” day off. AWS employees who fulfill their biweekly work requirement in less than 10 working days are already entitled to an AWS day off. Such employees may not receive an additional day off. In addition, employees cannot be granted excused absence on a nonworkday. AWS employees whose agency’s offices are closed to the public on their AWS day off may not be granted excused absence for the scheduled nonworkday.

G. OPM Announcement: FEDERAL OFFICES ARE CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC.

What OPM Announcement Means: “FEDERAL OFFICES in the Washington, DC, area are CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC.”

Closed to Public. Non-emergency employees (including employees on pre-approved paid leave) will be granted excused absence (administrative leave) for the number of hours they were scheduled to work unless covered by one of the exceptions listed below.

Emergency employees. Emergency employees are expected to report for work on time unless otherwise directed by their agencies.

Exceptions

Telework-Ready Employees. Telework-ready employees who are scheduled to perform telework on the day of the announcement or who are required to perform unscheduled telework on a day when Federal offices are closed to the public must telework the entire workday or request leave, or a combination of both, in accordance with their agencies’ policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements.

Employees on leave without pay. Employees on leave without pay, leave without pay for military duty, workers’ compensation, suspension, or in another nonpay status are not granted excused absence when Federal offices are closed to the public. These employees should remain in their current status. Employees in a nonpay status have no expectation of working and receiving pay for a day during which Federal offices are closed to the public and therefore will not be granted excused absence.

Employees who telework from remote locations. Employees who telework from remote locations may be required to work during any closure of their agency’s home office, as provided in the employees’ telework agreements, consistent with their agency’s policies, procedures, and any applicable collective bargaining requirements. If Federal offices in the geographic area of their remote location are closed to the public (e.g., a snow emergency), such employees should follow the requirements of their telework agreement, consistent with their agency’s policies, procedures, and any applicable collective bargaining requirements, or contact their supervisor for further information and instructions.

Employees on official travel. If non-emergency employees are on official travel on a workday when their agency offices are closed to the public in the Washington, DC, area, employees are expected to continue working. However, if the emergency procedures of the agency make it impossible for the employees to continue work – e.g., the travel assignment requires frequent contact with the agency in the Washington, DC, area – excused absence may be appropriate. The agency is responsible for determining whether employees are required to continue working or will be granted excused absence under these circumstances.

Employees on an alternative work schedule (AWS) day off. If Federal offices are closed to the public on the employees’ regular AWS day off, they are not entitled to an additional “in lieu of” day off. AWS employees who fulfill their biweekly work requirement in less than 10 working days are already entitled to an AWS day off. Such employees may not receive an additional day off. In addition, employees cannot be granted excused absence on a nonworkday. AWS employees whose agency’s offices are closed to the public on their AWS day off may not be granted excused absence for the scheduled nonworkday.

H. OPM Announcement: SHELTER-IN-PLACE

What OPM Announcement Means: “FEDERAL OFFICES in the Washington, DC, area are under SHELTER-IN-PLACE procedures and are CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC.”

General Description. Shelter-in-place (SIP) procedures are conducted when employees (and visitors) must remain in the office or take immediate shelter in a readily accessible interior location to protect themselves. An SIP may be needed for a variety of reasons, which could include severe weather (e.g., tornadoes) or danger from exposure to outside contaminants in the event of a release into the atmosphere of hazardous materials such as radiological, biological, or chemical contaminants. A shelter-in-place announcement could be used in conjunction with other OPM operations status announcements for the Washington, DC, area. It is anticipated that an OPM shelter-in-place announcement for the Washington, DC, area would be extremely rare and likely would be in effect for a relatively short period of time. OPM’s announcement is not intended to supersede any agency-specific SIP plans or procedures, and agencies retain the authority to act on their own without an OPM SIP announcement as circumstances dictate.

Employees Located at Agency Worksites. All employees should follow their agency’s emergency procedure for shelter-in-place announcements. Employees should remain in their designated safe area until they are notified by agency officials that they may return to their offices or leave their worksites.

Employees Prevented from Entering Agency Worksites. Employees who are unable to enter their buildings due to shelter-in-place procedures should be granted excused absence (administrative leave) for the duration of the announcement.

Telework-Ready Employees. Telework-ready employees performing telework are expected to continue working during the shelter-in-place, unless affected by the emergency or otherwise notified by their agencies.