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Federal workers get delayed start Tuesday

By Post Editor

Fun seekers could sled down Capitol Hill for the first time this past weekend since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. (Marvin Joseph/Post)

Updated 9:11 p.m.
Federal workers in the Washington area have two extra hours to get to work on Tuesday or may take unscheduled leave if necessary the Office of Personnel Management said Monday night.

Those who elect to take unscheduled time off for the entire workday must notify their supervisor of the decision. Teleworking and emergency employees must report on time regardless of the weather.

"Most everyone says tomorrow should be better," OPM Director John Berry said in an e-mail Monday night in response to questions seeking further explanation of his decision. "Roads are supposed to be clearer, all Metro will now be open for rail and bus, and most commuter rail and bus should be up. Delayed arrival is based on fear of early morning black ice patches on roads and walks from today's moisture and low overnight temperature projections."

"After three more days of clean up, things should hopefully go better, but repeating Friday['s operating status] will also give us a good baseline to see if the system is ready to return to 100 percent, which we will hopefully be able to do Wednesday," Berry said.

OPM had the same policy in effect Friday when a monstrous commute in and out of town prompted plenty of steamed questions from federal workers. At the time, Berry told The Federal Eye that the only factors he considers when making an operating status decision are safety and government operations.

“Convenience does not factor into this decision,” Berry said Friday.

The Capital Weather Gang predicted Monday that the day's light snowfall should have "few lingering impacts" Tuesday morning.

Local school systems are either closing for the day or opening their doors later than normal. The exception is the D.C. school system, which will be open as normal.

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By Post Editor  | February 15, 2010; 7:56 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Workplace Issues  
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I'm confused--I thought that on Friday, the government opened on time, but workers were allowed to be up to 2 hours late without penalty or having to take leave. As I read what you're saying about Tuesday, it's that offices will open 2 hours late, meaning people affirmatively don't have to show up until 2 hours after their normal arrival.

Posted by: NoMad3 | February 15, 2010 8:13 PM | Report abuse

NoMad3, the policy for Tues 16th is the same as that for Fri 12th. See

Posted by: noonoo | February 15, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

More typical government waste at the Tax payers expense. Even at the hint of snow the Office of personnel management announces that workers are allowed to leave early, then they announce workers are then allowed to arrive late while the tab is always being picked up by the tax payers. There is a huge deficit and people are out of work yet the federal government continues on and on and on with these perks all at tax payer expense. I can't wait for someone to call them out.

Posted by: BeaverCleavage | February 15, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

On my way home today, 19th street going toward Constitution still pinched down to one lane due to piles of snow, and no one was working on it.

If that is not remedied prior to the evening rush on Tuesday, that by itself will screw up a large portion of traffic in that part of the city. I think another debacle is in the offing.

Posted by: joe36 | February 15, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse


What they haven't told you is that during those two hours we gorge ourselves on donuts at "tax payers [sic] expense!"


Greedy Civil Servants

Posted by: horace1 | February 15, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

I work for the private sector and went downtown today. Easy commutes--coming home on the 16Y was a cakewalk, shortest commute ever. Can't speak for the metro. But I suspect that tomorrow will be Friday-lite. A minor nightmare.

Posted by: chunche | February 15, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

I feel as if the name "beavercleavage" immediately discredits anything said by that user. So, enough from you. Now, I am failing to see what the huge issue is here. Poor things, you have two extra hours to get to work. While I do agree that having time taken from your precious saved up leave sucks, if you cant make it to work on time WITH 2 EXTRA HOURS, you deserve that deduction.

Posted by: capsfan55 | February 15, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Hey Ed, how much money would the Feds lose if they didn't show up to work?

I am in shock you didn't include that number in this article!

Posted by: Bious | February 15, 2010 9:18 PM | Report abuse

I think everyone is looking at this from the wrong angle. 2 hours late arrival is typically not followed by the private sector, so this decision actually helps to ease congestion by spreading the rush hour over a wider period. This will benefit both private and public sector by making the overall commute more tolerable for everyone. So what if some people can get to work 2 hours later and you aren't in that group, life's not fair, get over it. But some must complain just to complain, so have at it.

- a non federal employee

Posted by: santanaf | February 15, 2010 9:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to do my best not to snicker at the private sector whiners when I roll over tomorrow for an extra hour of sleep. Heaven knows it's hard enough not to do when I think that I'm in one of the few professions that gets lifelong health care and a pension--thanks, by the way--on top of the employer contribution, and all after I ramped up my salary in the private sector prior to "going government!"

"Federal workers blahblahblah." Yeah. Thanks. Just keep stroking that check in April, chumps.

Posted by: DaveinVA | February 15, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

DaveinVa has a small

Posted by: chunche | February 15, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Hey, DaveinVA, nice try. But most of us know a teabagger posing as a federal employee when we see one. Real federal employees have nothing to gain by ticking off taxpayers in the private sector.

Posted by: lydgate | February 15, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

2 hours late, 8 hour work day, $100 million, hrm, does that mean 2 hours late equals $25 million lost?

Posted by: santanaf | February 15, 2010 9:51 PM | Report abuse

OK, I wasn't expecting this. Four days have passed without any appreciable snowfall and the federal government still has the same delay?

Posted by: blr851 | February 15, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

I tried to get to my bus stop, at about 2:30, and could not come close, even to get to the street requied a climb over snowpack above me ankle, and twice the leangth of my snow shovel, or I could go to another stop which is farther away and be walking on ice for about a quarter mile and walking in a busy street about half the way. Neless to say I am not going to work. I SUGGEST IF ANYBODY HAVE KIDS-- WALK THERE ROUTE IF YOU CAN.

Posted by: minerdude | February 15, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Get to work you lazy federal employees!!!!!
I live in a northern climate. When it snowed, if I had to leave for work at 5 a.m. to be on time at 8 a.m.,,,,I did it. Now get your lazy good for nothing rear ends out of your houses and get to work. You are being paid,,,,earn it!!!

Posted by: AnnsThought | February 15, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

I agree with santanaf. A delay in start times is a win-win for all employees in the Washington area. The largest employer in the area is the federal government, which is the primary contributor to our awful traffic situation - even when there is no snow clogging our roadways. Instead of everyone racing to get to the same space at once, it makes sense that traffic will be better if we stagger our start times to reduce our collective impact on the roads. If you are able to put aside your innate hatred (perhaps jealousy) of federal employees and their perceived benefits, you might be able to see that some things that benefit federal govt employees actually benefit us all.

Posted by: enchantress71 | February 15, 2010 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Do these people ever actually work?

Posted by: stratman1 | February 15, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

To AnnsThought, I have been thinking about what happening here, and you have to understand that 12 in. is so rare here, the last time before this season was 7 years ago( and only 4 times in 40 years) that even the leaders who eed to remove the snow probably have litter or no experence at this, then add that in the last 16 days National at the low end got 38.3, Dullas 51.2, and BWI 54.7 (American Univ. got about 14 in more than National) I hope you can understand the problems this area is having

Posted by: minerdude | February 15, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Ya a federal employee, my work doesn't "go away" even if I'm not at work. It isn't like being on a factory line, or working retail, for instance - the work just accumulates, and waits for me to come back to it. So four days off, when I couldn't plan ahead and get someone else to handle the tasks/work load, is just four days that I'll be working (on my own time) to catch up - an extra hour or two each night, a Saturday or Sunday here or there...even today on a "holiday" will be a while before I see a normal workday - I'm not sure that folks outside of government recognize that not punching a clock means that the work comes home with us.

Posted by: my-thoughts | February 15, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the other posters that part of the logic is to spread the commute out so that everyone can get to work more efficiently. Part of the idea is, also I'm sure, to keep managers from getting too irate when the inevitable delays happen. I know on Friday I left for work a mere 20 minutes later than normal (because I had more digging out to do than I thought), and arrived to work a little over 1.5 hours late. I wouldn't have minded taking leave for that, but my manager would have been pissed if I called once and said I would be 15 to 20 minutes late, then again when the train I timed myself perfectly to catch was too packed to board and said that it was now looking more like 40 to 50 minutes, then again when the second train was too packed to board, then again when the train I transferred to didn't move for 10 minutes and I gave up and walked...I know that would annoy me as a supervisor. By just saying you can be up to 2 hours late it eliminates all that annoyance and ALSO meant that the outside callers trying to reach me on Friday had a good idea when they could reach me and ALSO weren't annoyed by phone calls not being returned promptly.

Posted by: MsD2 | February 15, 2010 10:38 PM | Report abuse

So they'll talk about the snow for 6 hours instead of 8 and start doing actual work again Wednesday.

Posted by: fireball72 | February 15, 2010 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Bious - Mmmm...Why don't you tell us how much $$$???

Santanaf - If you did your homework, that $100 million is an age old calculation that doesn't take other factors into consideration such as teleworking. OPM is working on a new calculation that is much lower. Then you can readjust.

For the others: Those of use who work tirelessly to get sex offenders, murderers and other federal offenders off the street for your safety ought to be a little more appreciated than what you ignorantly post here. Unless, you're all a bunch of private sector whinies who didn't get their end-of-the-year bonuses funded by my tax dollars by way of ripping off the rest of us economically. Go kick another person out of their home to make yourselves feel better.

Posted by: schrute | February 16, 2010 12:37 AM | Report abuse

To all the posters re: "spreading the commute out so that everyone can get to work more efficiently" -- did any of you actually READ the article?

OPM makes the determination as to delays or closures based solely on two factors: safety and government operations. Convenience is not a factor, no is anything to do with private operations. The extra time on Tuesday is to allow for black ice concerns for those government workers who might benefit from leaving when its warmed up, and for ALL government workers who represent the majority of DC commuters. Period.

For those who teleworked over the duration of the two storms it was business as usual. For those who could not, the last week makes clear that telework policies need to be adopted by some agencies who are able to do so without security and IT/budgetary concerns. Contractors to the government might have to use PTO or LWOP in many situations and Federalized employees never had it any easier as they too have children and daycare/schools and metro all play important roles in "government operations" - one of the two determining factors by OPM.

Those who don't understand all this and think the government subsidizes paid time off in bad weather situations --- oh come on. The ignorance of some of the people posting here is amazing, and the word ignorant doesn't intend to be insulting, it means lack of knowledge. If you don't know what's really involved in the decision making process and how workers are organized and paid in the federal sector then you should be aware your opinions will be ridiculed.

Posted by: JimGoldbloomVA | February 16, 2010 12:43 AM | Report abuse

The real issue should be how money are the taxpayers actually SAVING every time the government shuts down.

Posted by: ExPatYankee | February 16, 2010 1:46 AM | Report abuse

A 2-hour delay is NOT 2 hours off. The government is still open standard operating times. As a fed, I don't "get" 2 free hours off today. On Friday I went in at my normal time as did 6 of my 7 office mates. I've done the same today. Contrary to what some private sector employees and civil servants believe, a 2 hour delay does not mean that you set your alarm 2 hours later.

Posted by: christineva | February 16, 2010 6:14 AM | Report abuse


What they haven't told you is that during those two hours we gorge ourselves on donuts at "tax payers [sic] expense!"


Greedy Civil Servants
Best. Post. Ever. Thank you!

Posted by: hoya_alumna | February 16, 2010 6:38 AM | Report abuse

Would the private sector employees who were hired by my HOA to clear snow from my neighborhood please get to work.

Posted by: justanotherguy | February 16, 2010 6:54 AM | Report abuse

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