Issue Briefs

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Following is an explanation for federal employees regarding the meaning of agency operating status announcements that was included with an OPM memo telling agencies to consistently inform employees of changes due to weather or other reasons and to make sure their employees understand the implications of those announcements such as the general requirement for teleworkers to continue working.


The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) provides the following operating status announcements for the Washington DC, Area Metropolitan area. These operating status announcements are intended to provide a template for departments and agencies to use in other geographic areas.

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Announcement: OPEN

What Announcement Means: “Federal agencies are OPEN.”

Employees are expected to report to their worksites or begin teleworking on time. Normal operating procedures are in effect.

Announcement: OPEN WITH OPTION FOR UNSCHEDULED LEAVE OR UNSCHEDULED TELEWORK

What Announcement Means: “Open and employees have the option for unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework.”

Non-Emergency Employees must notify their supervisor of their intent to use unscheduled leave, unscheduled telework, or a combination of both.

Unscheduled Leave. In accordance with their agency’s policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements (as consistent with law), 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 move their alternative work schedule (AWS) day off to account for the workday.

Based upon supervisory approval, an employee may rearrange their work hours under flexible work schedules.

Telework 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 (as consistent with law).

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

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

What Announcement Means: “Open under XX hour(s) delayed arrival and employees have the option for unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework. Employees should plan to arrive for work no more than XX hour(s) later than they would be expected to arrive. ”

Non-Emergency Employees who report to the office will be granted weather and safety leave for up to XX hour(s) past their expected arrival time.

Unscheduled Leave. In accordance with their agency’s policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements (as consistent with law), non-emergency employees may notify their supervisor of their intent to:

(1) use earned annual leave, compensatory time off, credit hours, or sick leave, as appropriate;

(2) use leave without pay;

(3) request to move their alternative work schedule (AWS) day off.

Telework 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 (as consistent with law).

Based upon supervisory approval, an employee may rearrange their work hours under flexible work schedules.

Pre-approved or Unscheduled Leave. Employees on pre-approved leave for the entire workday or employees who requested unscheduled leave for the entire workday should be charged leave for the entire workday.

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

Announcement: OPEN – DELAYED ARRIVAL – EMPLOYEES MUST REPORT TO THEIR OFFICE NO LATER THAN X :XX – WITH OPTION FOR UNSCHEDULED LEAVE OR UNSCHEDULED TELEWORK

What Announcement Means: “Open under a delayed arrival where employees must report to their office no later than XX:XX and have the option for unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework.”

Non-Emergency Employees who report to the office will be granted weather and safety leave up until the announced reporting time.

Unscheduled Leave. In accordance with their agency’s policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements (as consistent with law), non-emergency employees may notify their supervisor of their intent 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 move their alternative work schedule (AWS) day off.

Telework 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 (as consistent with law).

Based upon supervisory approval, an employee may rearrange their work hours under flexible work schedules.

Pre-approved or Unscheduled Leave. Employees on pre-approved leave for the entire workday or employees who requested unscheduled leave for the entire workday should be charged leave for the entire workday.

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

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

What Announcement Means: “Open. Employees should depart XX hours(s) earlier than their normal departure times and may request unscheduled leave to depart prior to their staggered departure times.”

Non-Emergency Employees who report to the office will be dismissed from their office XX hour(s) early relative to their normal departure times and will be granted weather and safety leave for the number of hours remaining in their workday.

Departure Prior to the Early Departure Time. Non-emergency employees who depart prior to their staggered early departure times may request to use unscheduled leave. Employees will be charged leave for the remainder of their workday and will not be granted weather and safety leave.

Telework Employees performing telework must continue to telework or take unscheduled leave, or a combination of both, for the entire workday or the remainder of the workday, as applicable, in accordance with their agency’s policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements (as consistent with law).

Pre-approved or Unscheduled Leave. Employees on pre-approved leave for the entire workday or employees who requested unscheduled leave for the entire workday should be charged leave for the entire workday.

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

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

What Announcement Means: “Open. Employees should depart XX hour(s) earlier than their normal departure time and may request unscheduled leave to depart prior to their staggered departure time. All employees must depart at no later than XX:XX at which time Federal offices are closed.”

Non-emergency Employees who reported to the office will be dismissed from their office early relative to their normal departure time or at the final departure time and will be granted weather and safety leave for the number of hours remaining in their workday beyond their early departure time or their final departure time.

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

Telework 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 (as consistent with law).

Pre-approved or Unscheduled leave. Employees on pre-approved leave for the entire workday or employees who have requested unscheduled leave for the entire workday should continue to be charged leave for the entire workday.

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

Announcement: IMMEDIATE  DEPARTURE–FEDERAL OFFICES ARE CLOSED

What Announcement Means: “Immediate departure. Employees should depart immediately. Federal offices are closed.”

Non-emergency employees who reported to the office should depart immediately. All non-emergency employees will be granted weather and safety leave for the number of hours remaining in their workday.

Departure Prior to Immediate Departure Time. Non-emergency employees who depart prior to the immediate departure time may request to use unscheduled leave. Employees will be charged leave for the remainder of their workday and will not be granted weather and safety leave.

Telework 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 agency’s policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements (as consistent with law).

Pre-approved or Unscheduled leave. Employees on pre-approved leave for the entire workday or employees who have requested unscheduled leave for the entire workday should continue to be charged leave for the entire workday.

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

Announcement: FEDERAL OFFICES ARE CLOSED

What Announcement Means: “Federal offices are closed. Emergency and telework employees continue to work.”

Non-emergency employees generally will be granted weather and safety leave for the number of hours they were scheduled to work, except that employees will not be granted weather and safety leave if they are –

•                a telework employee,

•                on official travel outside of the duty station,

•                on pre-approved leave (including leave without pay), or

•                on an alternative work schedule (AWS) day off.

Telework Employees must telework the entire workday or request leave, or a combination of both, in accordance with their agency’s policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements (as consistent with law).

Emergency Employees are expected to report to their worksite unless otherwise directed by their agencies.

Announcement: SHELTER- IN -PLACE

What Announcement Means: “Federal offices are under shelter-in-place procedures and are closed to the public.”

Employees Located at the Agency Worksite. All employees should follow their agency’s emergency procedures for shelter-in-place. Employees should remain in their designated safe area until they are notified by agency officials that they may return to the office or leave the worksite.

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

Note: As a general principle, agencies may issue a new or hybrid operating status announcement at any time, depending on the particulars of an emergency, for the safety of employees and continuity of Government operations. Agencies should always attempt to use OPM’s published operating status announcements.

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