OPM announces new dismissal option for inclement weather


Its getting colder in the D.C. area, which can mean only one thing – an update from the Office of Personnel Management on their early dismissal and closure policies.

Instead of the phrase “Federal Offices are Closed to the Public” on the OPM website and in emails sent to feds, employees will instead see “Federal Offices are Closed — Emergency and Telework-Ready Employees Must Follow Their Agency’s Policies.”

OPM director John Berry said the new wording should encourage employees to consult with their agencies about telework policies and to plan ahead for inclement weather.

OPM is also implementing a new dismissal option called “delayed arrival” that states employees should remain off local roads until a set time. Feds will have the option to use unscheduled leave or telework.

The option was used informally last year to help federal employees preparing to commute into work, according to OPM.

“The concern in deciding the operating status of federal offices in Washington, D.C., is to ensure the safety and well-being of the federal workforce community during emergent events and continuity of operations while continuing critical services the American people depend on,” Berry said in a press release.

OPM will also try to advise employees on office closures as early as possible through its website and via email and social media, according to the agency.


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  1. OPM needs to make their decision about closure NO LATER THAN 4 AM each morning. Many of us in the DC metro area are dressed and headed out the door by that time and enroute to commuter services, or actually on the road into DC. If the USG wants to keep us safe and off the roads, then OPM must make the call on this issue earlier rather than later. Many USG employees & contractors live in different States (e.g., West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, the Richmond/Charlottesville/Tidewater areas of Virginia) and travel to DC every day. Even waiting until 4:30 AM is too late given the commuting area of DC employees. And OPM must remember, when there is inclement weather, sensible people leave earlier in an attempt to make it to work on time (not knowing if neighborhood road conditions are better or worse than main roads). In recent years, OPM has done well. Now is not the time to revert to making the call by 6 AM or in the case back in the ’90’s when they made the call by 9 AM. With telework and unscheduled leave as options, OPM should always err on the side of caution. (ALSO, I find it interesting that DC employees have to take leave but federal employees in other cities (e.g., Kansas City, New York, Dallas, Denver, Seattle, Chicago, etc.) are not required to take leave. They simply close government offices; an option taken away from DC employees.)

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