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News Release

Friday, July 08, 2005
Contact: Debby Pafel
Tel: 202-606-2402

OPM Advises Agencies of Human Resources Flexibilities Available Due to Severe Weather Emergencies

Heads of executive departments and agencies may grant excused absences and make exceptions to biweekly premium pay limitations

Washington, DC - The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has issued detailed guidance on exceptions to human resources policies that executive departments and agencies may use if severe weather emergencies and natural disasters and their aftermaths impair the ability of federal employees to report for work.

"Federal employees are always generous and responsive in relief and recovery efforts during emergency situations," commented OPM Director Linda M. Springer. "Agency heads should consider all the human resources flexibilities available to them during such difficult periods."

Excused absences may be offered to employees who are requested—and approved by their employing agencies—to assist in special relief and recovery efforts in affected communities. Absences may also be extended to employees prevented from reporting to work or faced with personal emergencies resulting from disasters.

In addition to leave flexibilities, agencies may apply the annual premium pay limitation instead of the biweekly premium pay limitation to employees who receive premium pay for performing overtime work in connection with emergencies, such as severe weather or natural disasters.

Additional flexibilities include:

  • 30-day appointments to fill critical hiring needs
  • direct hire of individuals in the GS-0602 Medical Officers, GS-0610 and GS-0620 Nurses, GS-0647 Diagnostic Radiologic Technicians, and GS-0660 Pharmacists categories
  • contracts with private sector temporary employment firms
  • competitive service appointments for 120 days without considering special assistance programs

OPM may authorize other options upon agency request. Agency Chief Human Capital Officers and/or Human Resources (HR) Directors should contact their assigned OPM Human Capital Officer for details.

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OPM leads and serves the Federal Government in enterprise human resources management by delivering policies and services to achieve a trusted, effective civilian workforce. By Empowering Excellence in Government through Great People, we provide leadership and support to U.S. agencies on issues including human resources policy and oversight, background investigations, federal employee benefits, retirement services, guidance on labor-management relations, and programs to improve workforce performance. For more information, visit or follow OPM on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

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