OPM has reminded agencies of the personnel authorities available to them emergencies such as that created by Hurricane Ida, meanwhile asking agencies to assess the impact on their employees for a potential emergency leave transfer program.
OPM traditionally sends such memos after significant natural disasters, and previously had reminded FEHB carriers of the flexibilities they have for providing medical coverage beyond the specific terms of their contracts.
Under an emergency leave sharing program, employees may donate annual leave to employees of the same or other agencies who are adversely affected, or have family members who are adversely affected, by the disaster or emergency. The NTEU union already has called for such a program in response to Ida.
However, OPM said that before such a program can be established, it must determine that a substantial number of employees are experiencing severe adverse effects from the emergency. Such a determination “is only possible based on information from agencies with affected employees,” OPM said, asking agencies to tell it the number of employees “severely adversely affected.”
The memo also reminded agencies that they may: grant paid weather and safety leave if employees “cannot safely travel to, or perform work at, their normal worksite, a telework site, or other approved location,” with certain restrictions applying to teleworkers; and authorize advance payments, continuation of pay, and payments for travel and subsistence expenses to employees who are ordered to evacuate from an area because of imminent danger to their lives as a result of a severe weather condition or other emergency situation.
The memo also referred agencies to long-standing guidance regarding a number of other special pay flexibilities and short-term hiring flexibilities.