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Posted at 10:44 AM ET, 02/ 1/2011

Feds may take unscheduled leave Wednesday

By Ed O'Keefe

Federal employees in the Washington area will once again be able to take unscheduled leave or work from home Wednesday as winter storms continue to cross the region.

In an e-mail, Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry said he would permit federal workers in the region to take the unscheduled leave or to telework if necessary. No decision has been made on Wednesday's operating status -- whether to delay the opening of federal offices or to close -- and a final decision will be either later tonight or early Wednesday, Berry said.

"These decisions are made carefully with input from expert meteorologists from the [National Weather Service] and with operating officials across the region," Berry said in his e-mail to The Federal Eye.

"As to this morning, I would like to especially commend our Trasportation officials and road crews who worked through the night to pre treat road surfaces and allow for this morning's on time operating status.

Berry bases his decision to open or close on the conclusions of an early-morning conference call with dozens of local, regional and state transportation and law enforcement officials to review road conditions, Metro's operating status and the impending forecast.

In this case, forecasters are predicting ice to the north and west of Washington, with the possibility that the weather will move more south closer to D.C.

"Because this impact could affect many Federal workers commuting from these regions or areas, I believe that it is prudent to allow workers who live in these affected areas the increased flexibility and choice to address what may be a rapidly changing situation overnight and in the early morning hours," Berry said. "We are not mandating telework or leave - only allowing affected or concerned Federal workers the option."

Do you agree or disagree with his decision? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

Track the Washington-area forecast with The Post's Capital Weather Gang

By Ed O'Keefe  | February 1, 2011; 10:44 AM ET
Categories:  Workplace Issues  
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Next: FEMA mobilized as winter storms hit U.S.


OPM's consideration of a wide range of factors is admirable. Good job, folks!

Posted by: dawnforsythe1 | February 1, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I bet they blow it again.

Posted by: Trout1 | February 1, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I thought that it was a great idea to get ahead of the game by offering unscheduled leave early. However, considering that the date of the landing of the major portion of the storm was changed from Tuesday to Wednesday night, I think that the unscheduled leave notice should have included a note indicating that one should still listen for possible updates (since it seems that unscheduled leave wasn't really needed today, Tuesday).

Posted by: jacked1 | February 1, 2011 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I agree completely. He isn't closing the government, just saying people can take their leave. That is a fixed yearly cost regardless of when they take it. The benefit is you don't have people sitting in traffic for hours, in accidents, and other risky conditions. Also, parents w/ children out of school can take leave and not fear losing their jobs.

If only my federal agency cared about their workers enough to allow them unscheduled leave. Sigh...

Posted by: biketraveller22 | February 1, 2011 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Bless them for thinking this far ahead and opening people's options. This way people who have leave available to use, or telework arrangements in place, can decide what to do based on conditions tomorrow, and the rest of us are forewarned that we may have to take emergency leave. Well done.

(I hadn't realized, though, that the advancing weather was this threatening. Yike!)

Posted by: angelicat | February 1, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

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