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Early Dismissal for Federal Workers on Friday

By Ed O'Keefe

The Federal Government is already operating on Friday morning with an unscheduled leave policy, but also plans to dismiss workers four hours early.

That means employees who report for work today will be dismissed four hours earlier than their normal departure time.

The Office of Personnel Management said it will continue to monitor weather conditions closely and may reassess the early dismissal if the forecast warrants a change.

This is the first early dismissal of the Obama administration and the second unscheduled leave day of the calendar year. The federal government loses roughly $100 million in productivity and opportunity costs each time it closes D.C.-area offices, according to OPM Director John Berry.

Track the weekend forecast with The Capital Weather Gang ... Plan your snowy commute with The Post's Dr. Gridlock ... Find out what's NOT happening this weekend with our Going Out Gurus.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | February 5, 2010; 6:50 AM ET
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
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Comments

The writer cites the cost of lost productivity and opportunities resulting from weather related early dismissals. While some truth may lie in those words, the writer should remember that there is little capability to handle large amounts of snow or ice in the capitol region. When a heavy snowfall hits, gridlock ensues. Would he rather the people stay until the normal end of the day, fearing how they will get home and being essentially unproductive during the entire time? Lost productivity of that kind is lost in the office, not out of it.

A dose of reality is well placed when one considers the alternatives of traffic gridlock from cars unable to move during bad weather, accidents, lost time in future from these events. Tempering that with the cost of some lost time to get people home and off the streets in bad weather shows that a few hours given up is a better choice.

Posted by: ronjeske | February 5, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Lost productivity? You think anything of note is getting done this morning?

Posted by: member5 | February 5, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Knowing what it's like getting caught in DC traffic on the best of days--I know what it'll be like for those driving home today; even leaving early. I've just listening to the radio as I was doing errands I counted 5 accidents and that was before the snow started to fall.

Now that the snow falling, it's 12:40pm as I write this, I not only expect more accidents, but slower traffic, panicky drivers and people racing to the grocery stores, malls and other places for any last minute shopping for items that they can not or will not be able to find.

In other words, it's just going to get worse before people get home and hunker down. At least that's what I think.

Posted by: joemosaic | February 5, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'm home now, having played sardine on the blue and orange lines of the Metro. Thanks to the great work by VA and Fairfax County road crews, the drive home from the Metro station was safe. Though I don't have school kids, the early release makes supremely good sense for everyone, including those who are NOT tied up in traffic jams, and those who do NOT have accidents due to icy conditions. "Lost productivity?" You got that one wrong, Mr. Berry.

Posted by: AngryFed1 | February 5, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

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