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Posted at 1:22 PM ET, 12/16/2010

Federal employees may leave early due to snow

By Ed O'Keefe

Federal government offices in Washington are open, but employees who need to leave early because of the snowy weather may do so, the Office of Personnel Management says.

About 2 inches of snow are expected to fall across the region Thursday and several area school districts are closing early. The snow and ice is causing delays on the roads and rails.

Federal workers in the Washington area may leave early with unscheduled leave or the option of going home and teleworking, OPM said in a statement.

Nonessential workers must notify their supervisors of the decision. Employees who need to leave 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 if the employee has a telework agreement in place that is approved for unscheduled telework.

Workers considered "Emergency employees" must report for work as normal.

The new teleworking option was announced Wednesday as part of a revamp of federal leave policy. The change was permitted as part of federal legislation President Obama signed last week mandating the wider use of teleworking.

Though Thursday's decision officially applies to about 285,000 employees working at federal offices within the Beltway, most local jurisdictions, schools, universities and private employers follow the government's status. (Check with your school or employer to verify the schedule.)

This is the third early dismissal of the year for D.C.-area federal employees. Government offices closed for four consecutive days in February due to "Snowmageddon."

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By Ed O'Keefe  | December 16, 2010; 1:22 PM ET
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
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Comments

"Teleworking" no doubt includes running feverishly to the store for milk and toilet paper.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | December 16, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

LOL @getjiggly1

Posted by: lulu202 | December 16, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

This is ridiculous, for 1-2" of snow. Let the road crews do their work, and let people out at 4 or 5pm when the streets are clear.

The real problem, of course, is the area school systems that close schools early. Way to send the right message to our kids that education and hard work are important priorities. And way to prepare them for life in the "real world"!

Posted by: dcchinatown | December 16, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

LOL! I lived most of my life in NoVA. 3 flakes and the entire eastern end of Fairfax County came down on the Annandale Giant like a pack of rats.

Come on guys you'll live. Remember last year? You got what we here in upstate NY refer to as a mild winter. The trick is to get the plows out before you've got 6 inches on the ground.

Posted by: treadlefish | December 16, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

@dcchinatown, completely agree! Keep people in the office so that the road crews can work and get things clear before rush hour... letting people out to "telework" at this time of the year means "I'll check my blackberry every now and then while I'm standing in line at Macy's finishing up my Christmas shopping." Letting people work from home is more often just a free pass to go out shopping.

Posted by: chilipop | December 16, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

The issue, as it usually is, is money. The DC area doesn't budget for snow like upstate NY or the midwestern states.

Well, and a lot of people have trouble understanding you need extra time to slow down too.

Posted by: BrokenClipboard | December 16, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

This leave-early thing doesn't apply to D.C. "government" workers. Most don't report for "work" most days. Especially now they get direct deposit paychecks.

Posted by: kinkysr | December 16, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

This is the third early dismissal of the year for D.C.-area federal employees."

How exactly is this an early dismissal?? All that is being said by OPM is that federal employees are free to use their vacation time to leave early or go home and telework to make up the time(if their office allows teleworking).

Posted by: columbia1 | December 16, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I had already scheduled leave, unrelated to the snow, and left early. There didn't seem to be many people on the Metro at 1 PM so clearly there wasn't a flood of Federal workers affecting the rush hour yet.

Despite that the roads from Shady Grove northward (where we were supposed to get less than an inch but seem to have gotten twice that) were a mess. It didn't look like the roads had been very heavily treated, or at all in some cases, and I saw no evidence of plowing anywhere.

A full, normal rush hour after dark in this could be interesting.

Posted by: Tenmile1 | December 16, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking the same thing columbia1! Had they shut the government down and said to the Federal workforce "you can all go home," THAT would be early dismissal. At best its an OPTION for a form of early dismissal.

Posted by: kbinva1 | December 16, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

"Teleworking" What a crock. Going home to do teleworking is a complete and total fraud. Once again the taxpayers take it in the shorts. I dare wikileaks to find any real work accomplished after these feds get home.

Posted by: cr8oncsu | December 16, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

The feds can do NOTHING at home just as well as doing nothing in the office

Unbelievable less than one inch of Snow and the feds are told to go home

Posted by: syoung29 | December 16, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

"Unbelievable less than one inch of snow and the feds are told to go home."

No, what's really unbelievable is that you somehow read "the feds are told to go home", when in fact, they were not told that. Where in the article does it state that federal workers are being told to go home?
They are given the option to use leave and go home early. I can repeat that while you thaw your brain.

Posted by: bassclef | December 16, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Some people work hard & some people use any excuse to avoid work. The planets have to be in proper alignment before they'll lower themselves to do any, ahem, "work."

The only time they move quickly is at quitting time. Then they fly out like they're butt is on fire.

Posted by: TaxiDriver | December 16, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Oh look, the "I just KNOW all government workers are lazy" crew is out and about, posting their wild fantasies as per usual.

Good to know some things never change - Death, taxes and the clueless.

Posted by: Ken_Davis1 | December 16, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Well, thank you very much! I'm a fed worker and I bust my *** all the time! I work in an office with cast-in-concrete deadlines every 4 weeks. In over 50 years, my agency has NEVER MISSED A DEADLINE! People's lives depend on us doing our work correctly and on time and we take it very seriously!

I saw this headline and wondered if we were being let out early - which would be ridiculous! The too many words mean that IF we want to take vacation time to go home early, we can do that. Most of the time, this is the case anyway! When my child was in elementary school, I might have needed to leave early to meet the school bus - there could be any number of reasons - but go ahead, jump to conclusions - it's fine! We love working for you to keep you safe and alive - with lots of abuse. Oh yeah - but we get "double the pay of private sector jobs" - NOT!

Posted by: blinn | December 16, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Of course in the private sector EVERYONE busts their butt 24-7. They come in on Christmas Day & even when they're coughing up blood.

Federal employees are the reason we're in this sorry financial state. Not the wars! Oh no. Blame it on the Feds.

Make war not love = GOP.

Posted by: TaxiDriver | December 16, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

to: cr8oncsu before you make ignorant comments maybe you should actually think first before posting comments. I am a Fed and work in an adminstrative position. When I telework on inclement days, my regular flexiplace day, or if I am contagious with a bug but still want to keep my deadlines, I work from home. I am busy. Oftentimes I get more done from home than I would in the office without the interruptions from staff. When I telework the staff can reach me via email. I edit reports, answer letters from from private citizens, and complete travel requests. With employees working from home rather than wasting time and gas on the road commuting during inclement weather, we are actually saving taxpayers money. Get a clue.

Posted by: froggee357 | December 16, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

The so-called new "policy" is really OPM's way of telling all Federal workers that from now on, you get to use up all your vacation time because otherwise, you will be sitting on an interstate for hours trying to get to and from work. I think OPM is going to discover that the "policy" will make things worse as a large number of people that would otherwise not be on the road, will be the next time there is a big snow.

There wasn't a big snow today - the problem was mainly that the roads were already so cold, what fell, stuck and make things slippery a lot earlier than usual.

Posted by: Georgetowner1 | December 16, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

"Unbelievable less than one inch of Snow and the feds are told to go home"
Interesting since I'm a fed and took a day of vacation so I could be home to allow a plumber to work on our water heater. The "private sector" plumber called at 11:00 and said all of their trucks had been pulled off the road and he needed to reschedule.

Posted by: justanotherguy | December 16, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

They won't be closing down anymore due to winter weather coz it costs the Fed gov $100 million everytime they do that. From now on it's take annual leave or telecommute. Working from home is the "in thing" that Uncle Sam will be pushing hard. I'd rather be in the office. Too many distractions at home.

Posted by: TaxiDriver | December 16, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

"Some people work hard & some people use any excuse to avoid work. The planets have to be in proper alignment before they'll lower themselves to do any, ahem, "work."

The only time they move quickly is at quitting time. Then they fly out like they're butt is on fire.

Posted by: TaxiDriver "


THAT is coming from someone who is a Taxidriver? You must be real proud of yourself. Go ahead, grab another donut!

Posted by: darbyohara | December 17, 2010 7:20 AM | Report abuse

I kind of like this approach because it helps reduce the amount of paid leave they'll have to pay out to employees, but I wonder how many actually turn in leave requests for their early departures.

Trains that are normally cattle cars were half-empty last night, so a lot of people clearly left early. The only question is whether they were honest about it.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | December 17, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I see getjiggly1's posts all the time. S/he seems to have an awful lot of spare time to make baseless, denigrating comments about Federal workers, especially during what are working hours for most people. Hmmm. I wonder what other productive pursuits occupy getjiggly1's work day. Get back under your bridge, troll.

Posted by: finserra | December 17, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I see getjiggly1's posts all the time. S/he seems to have an awful lot of spare time to make baseless, denigrating comments about Federal workers, especially during what are working hours for most people. Hmmm. I wonder what other productive pursuits occupy getjiggly1's work day. Get back under your bridge, troll.

Posted by: finserra | December 17, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Nice double contribution, useless 'crat.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | December 17, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

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