Federal government offices in the Washington, DC area are closed again on Friday, January 7, 2022 due to more snow moving into the region according to the Office of Personnel Management. This will be the second closure this week after federal government offices in the DC region closed for snow on Monday, January 3.
Non-emergency federal employees will be granted weather and safety leave for their scheduled number of hours. Telework employees are generally not entitled to weather and safety leave according to OPM.
As much as 4 inches of snow is predicted to fall overnight in the area and temperatures are not expected to get above freezing on Friday, prompting the federal government to close its offices in anticipation of a messy commuting situation.
…WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 AM EST FRIDAY…
* WHAT…Snow. Total snow accumulations of 2 to 4 inches, with localized amounts up to 5 inches.
* WHERE…The District of Columbia, portions of central, northeast, northern and southern Maryland and northern Virginia.
* WHEN…Until 7 AM EST Friday.
* IMPACTS…Plan on slippery road conditions. The hazardous conditions could impact the morning commute.
* ADDITIONAL DETAILS…Snow may fall at 1 inch or greater per hour overnight. Visibility will drop down to one quarter mile or less during the heaviest snow.Source: National Weather Service
The snowstorm that hit at the start of the week led to a portion of I-95 in northern Virginia to close, stranding some motorists in their cars for over 24 hours. As a result of that storm, federal government offices in Washington, DC had delayed arrival procedures in effect on Tuesday and Wednesday this week.
Operating Status for Friday, January 7, 2022
FEDERAL OFFICES in the Washington, DC area are CLOSED. Emergency employees and telework employees continue to work.
Non-emergency employees generally will be granted weather and safety leave for the number of hours they were scheduled to work. However, weather and safety leave will not be granted to employees who are:
- emergency employees who are required to report for duty;
- telework program participants (with certain narrow exceptions);
- on official travel outside of the duty station;
- on preapproved leave (paid or unpaid) or other paid time off; or
- on an Alternative Work Schedule (AWS) day off or other non-workday.
Emergency Employees are expected to report to their worksite unless otherwise directed by their agencies.
Telework Employees (i.e., employees who are participating in a telework program, including those who perform telework regularly and those who telework on an ad hoc basis) generally may not receive weather and safety leave. They must account for the entire workday by teleworking, taking unscheduled leave (paid or unpaid) or other paid time off, or a combination, in accordance with law, regulations, agency policies and procedures, and any applicable collective bargaining requirements (as consistent with law).
Leave. In general, an employee on preapproved leave (paid or unpaid) or other paid time off should continue to be charged leave or other paid time off and should not receive weather and safety leave.
About Weather and Safety Leave
According to OPM:
Weather and safety leave is provided at an agency’s discretion for such events related to the closure of the official Federal worksite due to natural disasters, such as: hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, earthquakes, landslides, snowstorms, or during building specific emergencies such as a fire or power outage. While there are no specific time limitations on the amount of weather and safety leave that an agency may provide, the use of this authority should be aligned with the nature of the emergency During the period an employee is provided weather and safety leave, an agency should be planning for the return of its employees back to a work status, either at the office duty location or at an alternative location approved by the agency.
During a weather or safety-related event that affects a Federal duty station (or the surrounding commuting area), employees who participate in an agency’s telework program may still be able to telework at a designated alternative worksite (most typically the employee’s home). As long as the designated approved telework site is functional, the employee may be required to telework, or request to be absent from duty (either paid leave or leave without pay) if he/she chooses not to perform work, unless one of OPM’s regulatory exceptions permitting the use of weather and safety leave applies. Specifically, agencies may provide weather and safety leave to a telework program participant if, in the agency’s judgment, the employee could not have reasonably anticipated the severe weather or emergency and thus is not prepared to telework. (See 5 CFR 630.1605(a)(2)(i).) Additionally, agencies may provide weather and safety leave to a telework program participant if the employee is prepared to work at the telework site but is prevented from safely working there due to the severe weather or emergency situation. (See 5 CFR 630.1605(a)(2)(ii).)Handbook on Pay and Leave Benefts for Federal Employees Afected by Severe Weather Conditions or Other Emergency Situations