Issue Briefs

OPM has revised its emergency dismissal policy—formally applying only in the Washington, D.C. area but used as a standard template for decisions elsewhere—in part to emphasize the role of telework in keeping federal agencies operating in severe weather or other types of emergencies.

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The status categories under the guidance are (note: employees designated as emergency essential are expected to report for and stay at work on their normal schedules in all situations unless otherwise instructed or unless excused due to hardship or unique circumstances):

* 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. 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 with delayed arrival with an option for unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework. Employees should plan to arrive for work no more than a designated length of time later than they normally would arrive and will be granted excused absence for that time. Employees who arrive later will be charged annual leave unless in cases of unusual circumstances or hardship. 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.

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* Federal agencies are open with an early departure. Employees leave the workplace a designated number of hours early with excused absence for that time. Employees who leave earlier will be charged annual leave unless in cases of unusual circumstances or hardship.

* Federal agencies are closed to the public. Employees are granted excused absence for the number of hours they were scheduled to work unless they fall into certain exceptions.