OPM Wants to Make Sure Federal Employees Follow Dismissal Procedures Next Year

The Office of Personnel Management has released a copy of the current dismissal and closure procedures for federal employees in the Washington, DC area. Acting director Beth Cobert also stressed in a memo included with the procedures that she wants to ensure federal agencies and their employees comply with any guidance from OPM regarding a closure or change in operating status.

The Office of Personnel Management has released an up to date copy of the the current dismissal and closure procedures for the Washington, DC area.

“These Procedures reflect the principle that the Federal Government’s vital business must continue without compromising the safety of our employees and the general public,” acting director Beth Cobert wrote in a memo included with the procedures.

Although OPM is not recommending any changes to the official DC area closure and dismissal policies for next year, Cobert highlighted some information that OPM wants federal agencies and their employees to be aware of.


Cobert stressed in the memo that agencies should continue to incorporate telework arrangements into their agency emergency planning so that employees will be able to telework during emergency situations, thereby allowing the Federal Government to maintain productivity and ensure continuity of operations.

Communicating expectations

Cobert said in the memo that OPM’s closure announcements are only effective if federal workers know what is expected of them when a closure is announced. Therefore, she said each announcement should be accompanied by specific agency procedures in continuity of operations plans, written telework agreements, and/or collective bargaining agreements, as consistent with law.

Reminder to follow OPM’s status announcements

Cobert also stressed that federal employees in the Washington, DC area must follow any guidance published by OPM regarding a closure or change in government operating status. She noted that doing so “will allow for coordination with municipal and regional officials, and will reduce disruption of the highway and transit systems. This will both reduce traffic congestion and ensure that affected employees are treated as consistently as possible.”

The dismissal and closure procedures cover topics such as teleworking during an early dismissal or closure, what happens if you are on pre-approved leave when a closure is announced, and appropriate use of leave without pay.

The procedures also outline in detail what OPM’s various operating status announcements are and what each one means for federal workers in the DC area.

A copy of the complete dismissal and closure procedures is included below.

Washington, DC, Area Dismissal and Closure Procedures December 2015

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.