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Snow & Dismissal Procedures Archived Status

Status: Alert
Early Departure
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Federal Government Operating Status
Washington, DC, Area
Applies to: Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Federal agencies in the Washington, DC, area are OPEN. Employees should depart 2 hours earlier than their normal departure time from work.

Non-emergency employees will be dismissed from their office early relative to their normal departure times from work and will be granted excused absence (administrative leave) for the number of hours remaining in their workday beyond their designated early departure time. For example, if a 3-hour early departure is announced, employees who normally leave their offices at 5:00 p.m. would be authorized to leave at 2:00 p.m. (i.e., the employee's early departure time).

Note: For employees under flexible work schedules, agencies should consult OPM's Handbook on Alternative Work Schedules (see information on "Excused Absence" in the "Flexible Work Schedules" section) to determine the "normal arrival and departure times" of employees on flexible schedules. The handbook is available on OPM's website at http://www.opm.gov/oca/aws/index.htm.

As permitted by their agency's policies, procedures, and collective bargaining agreements, and with prior supervisory approval, a telework-ready employee who is located in the Washington, DC, area may depart prior to the scheduled early departure time without charge to annual leave provided the employee makes up the work time later in the day by teleworking.

Emergency employees and telework employees are expected to remain on duty, unless otherwise directed by their agencies.

Exceptions

  • Personal situations. Supervisors may exempt individual employees from early departure times to avoid personal hardships (e.g., when there is no available public transportation or no alternative forms of child/elder care are available to the employee). However, agencies should bear in mind that the purpose of the early departure policy is to allow an orderly release of Federal employees in the Washington, DC, area so as to avoid traffic gridlock and overcrowding of the public transit systems.
  • Employee who leaves before early departure policy is announced or before his or her early departure time. An employee who leaves work before an early departure policy is announced, or before his or her early departure time, should be charged annual leave or leave without pay beginning at the time the employee left work and for the remainder of his or her scheduled workday (unless agency policies, procedures, and collective bargaining agreements allow a telework-ready employee to obtain supervisory approval to leave early and complete the workday at home teleworking). However, agencies may exempt individual employees from early departure times and grant a reasonable amount of excused absence to allow an employee to leave work early if he or she has an individual hardship or unique circumstance. For example, factors such as distance, availability of public transportation, or childcare or eldercare responsibilities may be considered.
  • Telework. Depending on their agency's policies, procedures, and collective bargaining agreements, and as defined in an employee's individual telework agreement, a telework employee may be required to continue to work at the telework site to complete the workday when an early office departure policy is announced.
  • Employee who teleworks from a remote location. Depending on their agency's policies, procedures, and collective bargaining agreements, and as defined in an employee's individual telework agreement, an employee who teleworks from a remote location may be required to continue working when early departure procedures are implemented in the Washington, DC, area. If the agencies in the area of the employee's remote telework location announce an early departure policy because of adverse weather conditions (e.g., a snow emergency), the employee should follow his or her agency's policies and procedures.
  • Employee on pre-approved leave or employee who has requested unscheduled leave. An employee on pre-approved leave for the entire workday or an employee who has requested unscheduled leave before an early departure policy is announced should be charged annual or sick leave for the entire workday. An employee scheduled to take pre-approved leave commencing after his or her early departure time (e.g., for a doctor's appointment) may not be charged leave for that period. Instead, the employee should be granted excused absence for the remainder of the workday following his or her early departure time.
  • Employee on official travel. An employee who is on official travel during normal working hours when an agency dismisses its employees early is not entitled to additional pay or paid time off (e.g., compensatory time off or credit hours).
  • Employee scheduled to return to work. If an employee is scheduled to return from leave after an early departure policy is announced, the agency should charge leave for the period prior to the employee's early departure time and grant excused absence for the remainder of the workday following the employee's early departure time.

Posted on January 26, 2011 at 11:17 AM

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