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Image has all four logos for the work-life programs against a white background. In the left top hand corner is the light green telework logo with two upward arrows and the word telework inside the bottom arrow. On the right top hand corner is the red health and wellness logo with the words health and wellness in a white heart. In the left hand bottom corner is the purple family and dependent care logo with three white icons of people joined together as if in a hug and the text family and dependent care across the icons in purple. In the right hand bottom corner is the yellow employee assistance program logo, containing a white hand icon and the text employee assistance program in yellow. A blue line is below all the logos with the words #WorkLife4Feds in white text aligned right. Besides this bar is the blue work-life logo with contains to white chain links and the text work-life beside it to the right. Underneath to the left is the text OPM.gov

In today's world, employees often seek work-life solutions.  I’m happy to report that the Federal Government is a leader in promoting work-life balance for its workforce.  Work-life solutions are powerful management tools which help the Federal Government recruit and engage qualified talent, and give employees the resources to help them pursue healthy, fulfilling lives.  In fact, analysis of the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) data has identified work-life support as a key driver of engagement in the Federal workforce.

The Federal Government offers a variety of work-life programs and flexibilities to assist agencies in promoting work-life balance for their employees.  To assist agencies, OPM recently produced a series of new work-life brochures on family and dependent care, worksite health and wellness, telework, and employee assistance programs.  These work-life brochures increase awareness of options available in the Federal Government and illustrate their potential value for individuals, families, and organizations.

Managers and employees in our Federal community are invited to take the Introduction to Leave, Work-Life, and Workplace Flexibilities Course, explore OPM's Work-Life website and Telework.gov, and reach out to your local HR office for more information about services potentially available to you.

In the upcoming months, OPM will release the Government-wide results of the first Federal Work-Life Survey, which was administered in early 2017.  This new data will inform our analysis of the work-life needs and priorities of Federal employees.  These survey results will be used to help evaluate the relationship between work-life programs and organizational benefits.  Finally, senior leaders and managers will be able to consider these results as they make decisions regarding these programs. 

OPM will continue working with agency leaders across the government to ensure they have the necessary tools for an engaged, productive workforce.  Ultimately, our goal is to create work environments where each employee contributes to the success of the agency while reaching his or her full potential.  I believe that work-life solutions can be valuable tools in this endeavor.


Pope Francis’ visit to Washington, D.C. this week is expected to draw tens of thousands of visitors to the city and create traffic congestion across the region. Depending on where your office is located, this could have a significant impact on your commute.

While the Federal Government will remain open during the pope’s visit – Tuesday evening through Thursday – OPM has strongly encouraged agencies to allow employees to use any workplace flexibilities available to them, especially telework. In the D.C. area, 70 percent of Federal employees are eligible to telework and those who take advantage of that option this week will be helping to alleviate congestion and ensure public safety while remaining fully productive, despite the logistical challenges associated with the pope’s visit.

If you do not yet have a plan in place for telework or using other flexibility options, talk with your supervisor. Additionally, if you are on an alternative work schedule, consider whether you can move your day off to give yourself flexibility during the visit. There are a number of options, and we encourage supervisors to be as flexible as possible.

Decreasing the number of commuters into and leaving the city this week will help alleviate traffic congestion and stress on public transportation. If you are required to commute to the city during this time, be sure to allow plenty of extra time. If you are driving, check the street closures ahead of time, and if you are using public transportation, keep an eye out for alerts and changes in schedules from the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority.

And, as always, watch local news outlets for additional changes and alerts. You can get up-to-date information on the papal visit and the areas of the city that will be affected at PopeFrancisVisit.com.

Brenda Roberts is the Deputy Associate Director for Pay and Leave at the Office of Personnel Management. 

Two purple quotation marks with purple background. Headline: OPM STRONGLY ENCOURAGES AGENCIES TO ALLOW EMPLOYEES TO TELEWORK TO KEEP THE GOVERNMENT OPERATING WHILE HELPING TO MINIMIZE TRAFFIC CONGESTION AND SUPPORT LAW ENFORCMENT EFFORTS DURING THIS EVENT. Subhead: BETH COBERT. Footer: ACTING DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT.  



Winter officially begins next week. As you may already know, OPM is responsible for deciding when to change the Federal government’s operating status in the Washington, D.C. area, and for getting the word out about any changes.

While we are all hoping for an uneventful winter weather season, I want to make sure all Federal employees know what to do when severe weather hits.

I take many factors into consideration when deciding the status of Federal government operations inside the Beltway.  The most important is the safety of the Federal workforce and the surrounding community.  Our employees are our most important asset.  The second concern is  continuity of operations.  The government never really closes.  Emergency response personnel and teleworkers keep our operations going even when employees can’t physically get to work.

During a live-streamed event earlier today, Dean Hunter, OPM's Director of Facilities, Security and Contracting, explained the decision-making process, and Brenda Roberts, OPM’s Deputy Associate Director of Pay & Leave, gave an overview of the policy that informs those decisions.

Brenda also told us about the change to this year’s policy. OPM is revising an outdated leave practice of allowing employees who are already scheduled to be on paid leave when the Federal government closes to take excused absences. With the change, if Federal offices close, employees who are on pre-approved leave remain on leave, rather than switching to an “excused absence” status.

We made this change to take into consideration today’s workplace flexibilities. With the increasing use of telework to help us assure continuity of operations, it’s now obsolete to provide excused absences for those employees already scheduled to be on leave when an emergency hits.

We had two guests with us at today’s webcast. Chris Strong, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service, helped us understand how the weather service informs OPM about upcoming storms and the difficulties in predicting those weather events.

We were also joined by Caroline Laurin, deputy chief spokesperson for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).  Because so many Federal employees take public transportation to work, it’s crucial for all of us to know the status of trains and buses by consulting with WMATA. The authority relies on our decisions to let them know how many crews, trains, and buses are needed for rush hour commutes during difficult weather. Caroline stressed how important it is that employees comply with OPM’s status decisions.

We need to be prepared for weather and unexpected emergencies all year round.  It is important that agencies and their employees know their personnel designations, telework policies, and emergency preparedness plans before an event occurs.  The past few years have taught us that our dismissal and closure procedures extend beyond winter weather emergencies and can be necessary at any time.

We want to make sure that Federal workers stay safe and that we continue to serve the American people even during times of difficult weather events. And the best way to make sure that happens is for everyone to be informed.

So, please take a few minutes to read the updated Dismissal and Closure Guide on the OPM website. And if you didn't get a chance to tune into the panel discussion, it's available on our YouTube channel.


As we begin this year’s Labor Day celebration, I want to take a minute to thank each and every member of our Federal family for your hard work and for the excellent service you provide the American people. One way for us to honor your efforts is to make sure you have the flexibilities you need to help balance your life at work and at home.

From the moment he took office, President Obama has promoted and supported the kind of flexible benefits that will help us recruit, empower and retain a world class Federal workforce. During the historic White House summit on Working Families on June 23, the President signed a memorandum outlining his vision for such a workplace culture.

OPM recently issued guidance to Federal agencies to make sure that we deliver on the President’s vision.

Workplace flexibilities go beyond the traditional annual leave, sick leave and family and medical leave. Working with their supervisors, Federal employees have the right to request alternative work schedules, job-sharing, telework, part-time work and leave transfer programs.

Our memorandum reminds agencies that they “must not create arbitrary and unnecessary barriers” that would keep employees from asking to take advantage of workplace flexibilities. And I will be asking agencies to report to me about what best practices they are using to create a culture and workplace environment that supports the use of these programs. I also want agencies to report any barriers that may unnecessarily restrict the use of these flexibilities so we can work together to remove obstacles.

The bottom line is, I don’t want Federal employees to worry about retaliation when they seek work schedule flexibilities. And we want to make sure agencies have the procedures and policies in place to create a culture that allows employees to feel comfortable making requests.

We talk a lot here about employee morale and how to best create a workplace where employees feel engaged and appreciated. What better way for us to show our appreciation for the incredible work our 2 million-strong, talented workforce does than to be sensitive to the tug employees often feel between their desire to do their jobs and the need to take care of a family situation or emergency.

What’s more, these flexibilities are not just good for employees. I know that if you believe, when a family emergency comes up, that your manager will bend over backwards to accommodate you, you will go the extra mile when a critical situation arises at work.

We are one Federal family. We need to look out for each other, help each other and trust each other to do the best for the American people we serve.

Enjoy your well-deserved Labor Day holiday!


 

We all think we’re old hands when it comes to sitting in downtown D.C. traffic while a visiting dignitary or presidential motorcade needs to pass.

Take it from me. You haven’t seen anything yet.

Dozens of motorcades will be going through the Federal city on Tuesday and Wednesday as the President hosts the United States-Africa Leaders Summit. This gathering is expected to be the largest event any U.S. President has ever held with the heads of state and government leaders from Africa.

Despite the closed streets, difficulty parking and traffic, the Federal government will remain open for business. I urge you to work with your supervisors and managers to come up with a plan that lets you get the job done with the least amount of hassle.

The good news is that we are prepared. Just like when a harsh winter storm, summer derecho or any other natural disaster hits, OPM has thought through how best to keep the government operating while keeping our Federal workforce family safe.

And one of our strongest tools is telework. Federal employees are teleworking at an all-time high. In the D.C. area, 70 percent of employees are telework eligible.

So I urge you to think about how best to handle this upcoming traffic situation. Whether you drive to work or take public transportation, you should allow extra time if you are coming into the District. You should also consider taking advantage of such flexibilities as Alternative Work Schedule, taking leave or, as I said, teleworking.

One thing I am sure of: Our world class Federal workforce will – as you always do – find a way to make sure we continue to provide excellent service to the American people.

For a full listing of street closures, click here.

For a handy map of impacted areas, click here.


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