Feds, DC Government Opening Friday on 2 Hour Delay with option for unscheduled leave/telework

Photo by PoPville flickr user yostinator

From OPM:

“Washington, DC, Area

Applies to: February 14, 2014
Status: Open – 2 hours Delayed Arrival – With Option for Unscheduled Leave or Unscheduled Telework

Federal agencies in the Washington, DC, area are OPEN under 2 hours DELAYED ARRIVAL and employees have the OPTION FOR UNSCHEDULED LEAVE OR UNSCHEDULED TELEWORK. Employees should plan to arrive for work no more than 2 hours later than they would be expected to arrive.”

From the Mayor’s Office:

“The District of Columbia Government will open on two-hour delay on Friday, February 14, 2014, due to inclement weather in the DC Metro area. Eligible employees will have the option for unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework. DCPS schools are closed, as previously scheduled.

The Snow Emergency has been discontinued.”

43 Comment

  • This is going to be fun with only ~34 out of metro’s 325 bus lines running in the morning…

  • This seems like a pretty bad idea unless DC can really improve the roads by morning. I just watched a cab spin out at 11th and E NW; there’s still an inch of icy slush splattered all over the roads. No idea what people out in Herndon or Loudoun with a foot or more are expected to do.

  • brookland_rez

    I’m a Fed employee and I usually scoff at the “unsupervised or telework” option allocated on such days like tomorrow, but I agree, it is pretty ridiculous to allow the Federal Gov’t to operation given the current conditions.

  • I was almost positive this 2hr delay was going to roll into a closure. There is only a fraction of buses running and the sidewalks are awful! I’m in snow boats about to walk through a foot of snow to work.

  • Yeah it was awesome not being able to take my normal bus this morning, then trekking to the metro on sidewalks that were basically just sheets of ice to come into an office where I know no one is going to get any work done anyway. Boo

  • Does anyone think this is ultimately a political decision that is made with little regard to public safety or even the functioning of basic public transport? It seems like the standards for a shutdown fluctuate wildly by OPM. I would love to know what sort of criteria they used for this seemingly awful decision. I live a mile from my agency, but even I am taking some extra leave due to the treacherous conditions.

    • It’s a “make up” day for when OPM issued a 2hr delay for rain a couple months ago.

    • Sounds about right. “Feds get 5-day weekend” would be a headline nightmare. Enough people probably have RDO today or will use unscheduled leave that OPM can avoid the perception of a closure (even if the workforce is greatly reduced today). Perception is really all that matters in that game.

      Not many people in my govvie/contractor office, but I guess we’re still in the delay period, too. Regardless, I think we’ll be at less than half full today.

  • I live in Trinidad and was able to make it all the way to Reston easy breezy. My commute was maybe 5mins longer than usual. I commend DC for the snow removal. I’m not sure if its because there are two schools on my street, as the reason they were plowed since yesterday but I was very surprised, escpecially since it’s Trinidad.

  • I took the S2 North to Silver Spring. I guess 16th was decent, although the bus slide around a few times. Getting your car to a major road seems to be the main issue

  • Clearly OPM had more faith in the DC government to clean the roads than I did. I think OPM is trying to thin the herds by sending us out on icy sidewalks without bus service.

  • Apparently someone at OPM doesn’t want to home alone on valentine’s day. Misery loves company.

  • I take the 31 in the morning, which wasn’t running. When I got to my bus stop at 8:10am to take the 32 instead, there were maybe 15 people already waiting, compared to the usual 5. We crammed on a bus, and then couldn’t pick anyone else up the whole rest of the way down Wisconsin. There must have been 30 people waiting at Calvert and Wisconsin. And usually with a government delay, the crowds are much lighter.

    I was pretty surprised the government stayed open. Even the streets downtown had some slick spots with over an inch of slush and ice.

    • I took the 32 after two passed me by and waited probably 40 minutes for a bus. I wish WMATA would run the busses on rush hour two-hours later to reflect the delay. Headways at 10AM meant that it was ~20 mins between each bus.

  • anonymouse_dianne

    I agree that this was a terrible decision primarily to avoid the headline “Feds get 5 day weekend.” Silly, two hours late and then they often give us two hours early closure. I am teleworking. Means I don’t have to fight the Nanny software at work.

  • I took the metro to work and did not think there was really any issue. Sure there was some ice/slush on the sidewalks, but who cares? In the NE/Midwest, people trudge through much worse to get to work on a regular basis. People here are so sensitive to snow. The roads looked fine to me (if you can’t drive in a little slush, then turn in your driver’s license) and it is warm, so they will only get better throughout the day (until it starts snowing again tonight ;-p).

    • I am from the Midwest, and I can tell you with certainty that DC actually had the best roads compared to the suburbs. It was dangerous coming in this morning. Small roads weren’t plowed at all and larger roads were slush and ice. It was worse than anything I’d seen in the Midwest.

      • Yeah, and that is why the feds give the option for unscheduled telework or unscheduled leave. That said, there is no reason to shut down the ENTIRE government because some feds live way out of the city and will have a tough commute.

        • Oh I agree with that. I’m just arguing the point that the roads were indeed bad, and should not have been traveled on early this morning.

          • I don’t work for the federal government but my office follows the federal government policies. It took me about an hour to dig out this morning, and then I got stuck a few times (I was parked on a street that didn’t get plowed) but once I got off of that I was fine.

            Unfortunately not everyone has the option to telework so it annoys me when I feel like I work so hard to get here and everyone else in the office stayed home! Such is the life of a temp.

    • If you are able bodied and live/work near the metro or live/work near a road that has been plowed then it may have been easy for you to get around. But many people rely on the bus – when the bus isn’t running they have limited options for getting around. And if you are less able bodied then walking on icy sidewalks is a nightmare.
      None of my neighbors could get out of the alley this morning because of the snow/ice, and even if they could the side roads are dangerous.

      • The point is that it costs hundreds of millions of dollars to close the government for a day and just because some people can not get to work does not justify it when a majority can. As far as the alley is concerned, there are tools known as shovels, that help remove snow. Instead of sitting inside all day during the off day, if you and a few neighbors had shoveled the alley, it would not be a problem. I grew up in MA and when it snowed, we woke up an hour or two early and went out to shovel the driveway, so we could get to school/work. Don’t sit there and tell me that you were surprised to find snow in your alley today.

        • Unnecessarily obnoxious response. The point was not that everyone was sitting inside on their butt yesterday and expecting this morning that the snow would have magically disappeared.
          The point was that even if folks could drive out of their alley, the side roads were still dangerous and slippery. And while I agree that the city isn’t responsible for plowing alleys, they are responsible for plowing the roads. And when the roads aren’t plowed, driving is dangerous. THIS is the point.

          • THE point also is that some of the side streets were plowed. Just because your street was not plowed doesn’t stop the rest of the city from operating.
            You don’t see anyone complaining that their street was plowed, so sucks that they had to go to work so you?

        • Nowhere did I suggest that the government should have shut down. But rather that because ONE person had an easy commute – for whatever reason – others may have had a different experience when the sidewalks are icy/buses aren’t running/roads are unsafe.

      • So no one decided to shovel the alley areas? How else will the snow get removed? I shoveld my car out and also the alley way behind my car so I could get out today.

    • It’s great that your personal commute was easy. Many government offices are not right on a Metro line and many commuters do not own a car. The alternative for my fiance this morning would have been to walk a mile on the side of a highway, without a sidewalk for much of the way. Employees shouldn’t be punished/put into a dangerous situation simply because they are bus commuters.

      • If it was so difficult or dangerous, she could take unscheduled leave or perhaps a taxi to get to work. What did all the private sector workers in your neighborhood do? I am sure they found a way to get to work somehow.

      • Punished how? By teleworking or taking unschedule leave?

        • Not everyone is able to telework. And “unscheduled leave” isn’t some great boon — it’s them granting you the privilege of using YOUR OWN VACATION TIME to stay home.

          • I think we all know what unscheduled leave is. If you are not working, why should you be paid if you are not using leave? Feds (and like I said, I am one) have been given more than enough free vacation days in the last 6 months to not have to complain about working one day when it is a little more difficult than normal to get to work.

          • I KNOW THAT! but thanks anyway. I think people on here just LOVE to whine about any and everything. It’s OK to have a snow day, but they can’t suck up a day of their own vacation time even thought they get to stay home and do what they want for one day.

  • My dear federal colleagues,

    Please take a look around you at all of the struggling minimum wage workers were at work on-time at the stores, coffee shops, cafeterias, etc, you pass by grumbling on your way to your office. Now think how fortunate you are.

    • +1 Im sure if these complainers were on the way to the airport for a vacation trip- They would’ve done everything possible to get to the airport without a single complaint.

    • They are at work on time because their business thrives from morning/lunch rushes. If a business wasn’t entirely dependent on this type of consumerism, they probably were not open yesterday or early this morning.

      • I doubt it is “their business” if they are working for minimum wage. Of course, the owner would want the business open for consumer purposes, but that doesn’t mean it is any easier for the workers to get there to collect minuscule pay checks then some fed (and I am a fed). I think that was his/her point.

        Also, with regards to the general statement that places not dependent on consumerism being closed yesterday and this morning, I don’t think you could be more wrong. All my friends in the private sector had to either work from home yesterday or go into the office.

    • +1M ! Folks, sometimes it takes effort to get into work. The government gave you two hours to get that accomplished.

  • Lot of whining here — 80% of my (private sector) office made it in OK today, so not sure what all the complaining is about.

    • Some people live near main roads, have access to transportation — Public or otherwise, and are hardy enough that braving a possible slip and fall is likely to be an inconvenience. Those people should go to work — or enjoy an extra day of leave if they have it. Other people may rely on transportation options — including walking — that were not safe and possibly were not available this morning. They may not be near reasonably plowed streets or reasonably cleared walkways, and may not be able bodied enough to deal with the probable consequences of a fall on an icy street. Maybe that’s just 20% of us — maybe it’s more. But safety should be a priority. And empathy would be nice — but clearly that’s becoming more and more of a luxury.

  • Lots of grumpy people today! Eek! I live in Alexandria and work in Crystal City (I’m a Fed). I decided to drive in, mostly because I was being lazy and didn’t want to trudge in the snow and fall on my tush. That said, I also tried to park on the side of the road near work, and I got stuck for a while. Some resolve (and cursing under my breath) allowed me out of that situation, and I parked in the garage. I am not sure how buses are running in Alexandria/Arlington, but the roads seemed mostly fine other than some secondary roads, which were slushy and I had to drive slowly over. 2Hr delay seems about right- that said…I think there are 3 people here besides me, in a Division of over 100. Happy Valentine’s Day, Popville- take a deep breath and try to enjoy the sunshine, even if it’s through a window!

  • Wow, people are really grumpy today. I could barely walk my dog a half block on the ice-covered sidewalk, much less the five blocks to my bus stop. But even if I could, the BUSES WEREN’T RUNNING. This was in Petworth, not the boonies. They shut down the B-W Parkway because there were so many accidents. I know how many of you upright, responsible citizens hate wasting taxpayer dollars, as do I, but the fact is that this morning was just as treacherous–if not more–as yesterday was. Try to have a little freaking understanding and sympathy, folks.

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