Federal Employees News Digest

OPM announces new weather-related leave policy

The Office of Personnel Management has issued new regulations regarding its weather or safety related leave, and it affects teleworkers.

Weather and safety leave is a paid time off authorized under the Administrative Leave Act that is generally used in conjunction with an “operating status announcement” posted on OPM’s website, commonly when it is determined that employees cannot safely travel to and from work due to weather conditions or safety concerns.

The most important change under the regulation is that an agency will no longer be able to grant weather and safety leave, in most cases, to an employee who teleworks from home or an approved out of office location.

“Because employees who are participating in a telework program under applicable agency policies are typically able to safely perform work at their approved locations (e.g., their homes), such an employee will generally not be granted weather and safety leave,” an OPM memo states. “If, in the agency’s judgment, the employee could not reasonably have anticipated these conditions, and thus was unable to prepare for telework or otherwise unable to perform productive work, the agency could exercise the discretion to grant weather and safety leave,” it adds.

The new regulation will take effect May 10, which is 30 days from the time of publication.

In the same memo, OPM announced it will reconvene its interagency working group for dismissal and closing procedures in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.

It is asking chief human capital officers who would like to have a representative from their agency in the working group to submit his or her name along with contact information (email address and telephone number) to  pay-leave-policy@opm.gov with the subject heading, “Dismissal and Closure Working Group,”  by close of business April 13.

Read the full memo here.

Reader comments

Tue, May 15, 2018

I can only telework from home 2 days one week and 1 day the next. These are set days. However, on the days I do not telework I do not carry my laptop home the night before. So does this new policy mean that if there are conditions that were unforeseen such as flooding or a snowstorm that drops far more snow than predicted if predicated at all that I have to take annual leave if it is on a day I was supposed to be in the office? That seems a bit extreme. Any thoughts on that other than it is up to your supervisor? There should be clear instruction from OPM on this. The way this reads it seems all or nothing.

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Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
Mike Causey Columnist
Tom Fox VP for Leadership and Innovation, Partnership for Public Service
Mathew B. Tully Legal Analyst

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