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OPM Federal Government Operating Status For Thursday, January 27, 2011: 2 Hour Delayed Arrival Policy

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The Federal Government is open for business -- but it's too bad their Facebook status can't say "it's complicated."

With the Washington D.C. metro area getting hammered by snow, the OPM Federal Government Operating Status for Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011 is:

"OPEN under 2 hours DELAYED ARRIVAL and employees have the OPTION FOR UNSCHEDULED LEAVE OR UNSCHEDULED TELEWORK. Employees should plan to arrive for work no more than 2 hours later than they would normally arrive."

D.C. Public Schools and the D.C. Government had already declared themselves CLOSED for Thursday, but federal employees weren't so lucky.

Nobody really seemed to like the U.S. Office of Personnel Management's announcement on Facebook within the first hour of its posting, but some people put a thumbs-up on the comments expressing frustration over OPM's decision.

Gina Menditto Amos didn't seem happy: "I just spent 12 hours on the George Washington Parkway and you want me to go to work today???"

Christal Prout wrote:

Dear OPM, some of us do not have the option for "unscheduled telework". I will travel 3 hours to get to work today, since my normal commute is about 1.5 hours on a good day. I will get there, because I do not have the option to "work from home" and get paid for it. Only when I get there, the staff I support will not be there, because they all have that option - and most live close by. This would be fine a fine decision, if we ALL had the option to sit at home and get paid for the day because we have "unscheduled telework". What a joke.

Before Thursday's announcement, the OPM Facebook page got messages from concerned citizens. Said Angela Renea Waddell, "I hope the Feds are closed tomorrow. I need 1 day off...or two hour delay." Carla Carly Evans asked for a liberal leave, noting, "It should be my choice if I want to risk my life and property getting to work."

Yesterday (Wednesday, Jan. 26), OPM had announced that offices were OPEN but workers "should depart two hours earlier than their normal departure time from work due to impending snow."

Some have been venting to OPM for how it handled Wednesday. Omid Jahanbin wrote, "OPM has shown a complete disregard for the safety of DC area residents by the stunt you have decided to pull today. Instead of having the effective intelligence to call the day off, you have chosen to keep government open until the rush hour."

THE FULL OPM ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THURSDAY, JANUARY 27, 2011:

Non-emergency employees are expected to report to their office for work no later than the designated number of hours provided past their normal arrival time. Employees should plan their commutes so that they arrive for work no more than xx hours later than they would normally arrive. For example, if OPM announces a 2-hour delayed arrival policy, employees who normally arrive at 8:00 a.m. must arrive for work no later than 10:00 a.m. Such employees will be granted excused absence (administrative leave) for up to the designated number of hours past their normal arrival time.

An employee who arrives later than the designated number of hours should be charged annual leave for the excess time. For example, if OPM announces a 2-hour delayed arrival policy, and an employee arrives for work 3 hours later than his/her normal arrival time, the employee should be charged annual leave for 1 hour. However, in the case of unusual circumstances or hardship, an agency may determine to grant excused absence for the excess time.

Note: For employees working under flexible work schedules, agencies should consult OPM's Handbook on Alternative Work Schedules (see information on "Excused Absence" in the "Flexible Work Schedules" section) to determine the "normal arrival and departure times" of employees on flexible schedules. The handbook is available on OPM's website at http://www.opm.gov/oca/aws/index.htm. Employees under flexible work schedules may also request a change in their work schedules.

Non-emergency employees must notify their supervisor of their intent to use unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework. They may-

Use annual leave, earned compensatory time off, earned credit hours, or leave without pay; or
As permitted by their agency's policies, procedures, and collective bargaining agreements, telework from home on a non-telework day, if the employee has a telework agreement in place that is approved for unscheduled telework.
Non-emergency employees may request sick leave if they meet the qualifying conditions under law, OPM regulations, and follow their agency's policies and procedures.

Employees scheduled to telework on the day of the announcement are expected to begin telework on time or request unscheduled leave.

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

Posted on January 27, 2011 at 3:40 AM