OPM Issues Reminder on Weather Emergency Policies

As Hurricane Dorian pounds the Carolinas, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has issued a reminder about flexibilities and procedures available to help federal employees in emergency weather situations.

According to a Sept. 4 memo, an agency may grant weather and safety leave when it has determined that employees cannot safely travel to, or perform work at, their normal worksite, a telework site or other approved location because of severe weather. However, “employees with the ability to telework will not receive weather and safety leave as they are not prevented from performing work at an approved location.” Exceptions may be made, according to OPM, and agencies may consider extending weather and safety leave to employees teleworking on a case-by-case basis. 

“We strongly encourage agencies to take steps to ensure that telework-ready employees are prepared to effectively telework and have access to agency IT systems and networks, as may be necessary, should an emergency or weather condition so warrant,” the memo states.

For employees forced to evacuate, agency heads may authorize advance payments, continuation of pay, and payments for travel and subsistence expenses. 

If you have questions about your entitlement to weather and safety leave (formerly considered to be administrative leave), check with your local chapter.  NTEU contracts generally contain provisions that specifically address this topic.

The memo also mentions Emergency Leave Transfer Program (ELTP), which allow federal employees to donate annual leave to colleagues of the same or other agencies who are adversely affected by weather or other emergencies. NTEU routinely works with federal agencies to establish these programs after OPM authorizes their use.

Read the full memo here