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OPM updates closure procedures for national capital area

The Office of Personnel Management held its yearly briefing on dismissal and closure procedures for federal offices in the Washington, D.C. area.


The Office of Personnel Management held its yearly briefing on dismissal and closure procedures for federal offices in the Washington, D.C. area.

OPM noted the addition of a new “stay off the roads” advisory to the list of dismissal options. The option instructs employees to stay off of the roads until a certain time because of unsafe conditions. OPM said the option was “informally implemented” last winter.

"The concern in deciding the operating status of federal offices in Washington, D.C., is to ensure the safety and well-being of the federal workforce community during emergent events and continuity of operations while continuing critical services the American people depend on,” OPM Director John Berry said in a statement. “As we saw last winter, it can be important to advise employees as early as possible to stay off the roads until it is expected to be safe."

Among other changes, OPM also revised its status message of "Federal Offices are Closed to the Public" to now read "Federal Offices are Closed—Emergency and Telework-Ready Employees Must Follow Their Agency's Policies.” The change was made on the basis of feedback from agencies and employees during Hurricane Sandy.

Berry also advised employees to review the updated procedures now and discuss telework options and requirements with supervisors.

“Do not wait for an emergency to find out what to do,” he said.

OPM said it would continue to work with local and regional governments and transportation authorities in making dismissal decisions.

The options are:

• Open.

• Open with the option for unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework.

• Open – (number of hours) delayed arrival, with the option for unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework.

• Open - Delayed Arrival - Employees should remain off the roads until (time). Federal offices will open to the public at (time). Employees have the option for unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework.

• Open – (number) Hour(s) staggered early departure.

• Open – (number) Hour(s) staggered early departure - all employees must depart no later than (time) at which time federal offices are closed.

• Immediate Departure - federal offices are closed.

• Federal Offices are Closed - Emergency and telework-ready employees must follow their agency's policies.

• Shelter-in-Place.

Employees in areas outside of the Washington, D.C., region should check with their agency regarding the operating status of their duty station, OPM noted.

The 2012 Washington-area procedures are available here.

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