Snowy weather telework and leave rules reissued

Wind and snow and icy temperatures have gripped much of the country this week. Perhaps just in time, the Office of Personnel Management just this month is issuing a reminder to help employees across the federal government know what to do in the event of a weather event.

“Weather and safety leave is a form of paid absence provided under the authority of 5 U.S.C. 6329c,” the OPM notice reminds feds. “Agencies may grant weather and safety leave only when employees are prevented from safely traveling to or from, or safely performing work at, an approved location due to an act of God[.]”

What is an “act of God”? OPM defines it as “an act of nature, such as a severe snowstorm, earthquake, etc.” Their list also includes a “terrorist attack.”

In the end, OPM notes, an act of God includes for feds these or any other such “condition that prevents employees from safely traveling to or from, or safely performing work, at an approved location.”

“Employees should contact their agency human resources office for further information on the implementation of the procedures,” the document states.

The rulebook—“Governmentwide dismissal and closure procedures”—actually covers far more than just snow days. It offers links to procedures regarding the four different types of leave: administrative leave, investigative leave, notice leave and weather and safety leave.      

Reader comments

Fri, Jan 17, 2020

Terrorist attacks are an act of War not an act of God

Fri, Nov 22, 2019 Climatologist

Nice try replying to the global warming may occur, but not at the insane pace it is going since the industrial revolution and what is directly proportionate to the increased carbon from man-made causes. Yes, ignorance is bliss. I suggest you go cure that. I come from a family of climatologists and can clearly state you have no idea what you are talking about and that your head is firmly where there is no oxygen.

Fri, Nov 22, 2019 Kelly Washington, DC

Paid leave for weather? A thing of the past with telework-ready employees being required to work or take personal leave. Unless the power is out, we work from home. Of course, as more agencies eliminate telework, we can go back to snow days.

Thu, Nov 21, 2019 Jeff

Agreed. I feel as they know the environmental harm being done will create more violent weather but they cannot admit it. But putting measures in place to deal with such weather definitely makes an eyebrow raise.

Thu, Nov 21, 2019

Keywords-look at the science. Global warming would happen regardless. Ignorance is bliss.

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