It’s On! OPM Calls It – Feds Get Out at 12pm Too

by Prince Of Petworth January 22, 2016 at 3:31 am 28 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Jim Havard

From OPM:

“Status: Open – with Option for Unscheduled Leave or Unscheduled Telework. 4 hours Staggered Early Departure – Employees Must Depart No Later Than 12:00 PM at Which Time Federal Offices are Closed

Federal agencies in the Washington, DC area are OPEN and employees have the OPTION for UNSCHEDULED LEAVE OR UNSCHEDULED TELEWORK. Employees, who report to their worksite, should depart 4 hours earlier than their normal departure time, but NO LATER THAN 12:00 PM, at which time FEDERAL OFFICES in the Washington, DC area are CLOSED.”

Ed. Note: Standby for lots of restaurant/bar info and other SnoWayOut, awesomeness and info. And remember to send your snowy photos to [email protected] or @PoPville on twitter or of course to the Flickr pool. Thanks!

  • FridayGirl

    I saw this last night and thought “Clearly no one showed them the Hitler video.”
    On a brighter note, I’m looking forward to (hopefully) getting an early/mid-afternoon drink when I get home! Waiting for that bar info.

    • Kukki Bakemono

      Haha, I texted my friend after I saw the status update, “OPM Hitler is going to be so pissed…”

    • Now that the feds can leave early, it’s really a snow day!

    • Nah I have a few friends who work there, they definitely saw it lol

      • FridayGirl

        Ugh. (Then again, I feel bad for the lower-down-the-chain folks at OPM, too. I’m mostly curious if the head of OPM is at home teleworking. Hah.)

        • Yeah I would say less than 0.1% of the agency has anything to do with this type of decision making.

  • El

    Let the midday cluster*ck begin

  • J

    What a ridiculous decision. So tens of thousands of Feds hit the road at noon just as the snow starts. Just shut it down so road crews can prepare

    • sproc

      On the plus side, a lot more people seem to be taking the trains than normal. My Red and Yellow trains were much more crowded than normal. Maybe just because so many bus lines suspended, though.

      • FridayGirl

        +1. I had to metro in (buses suspended) but will probably walk home to avoid the chaos. But my trains were virtually empty a little before 8.

  • Sultan of Shaw

    Looks like Team OPM’s blasting off agaaaaaiiiinnnnnnn!

  • textdoc

    What a dumb decision. “Leave four hours early, but no later than 12 noon” works only for people who normally come in no later than 7:30 (if you look solely at departure time) or 8 (if you look at it as “work four hours and then leave,” because who’s going to stay in the office for a half-hour lunch break if they’ve already put their four hours in?).

    • Huh? I don’t think you’re reading this the same way I’m reading it…

      • textdoc

        “Employee who report to their worksite should depart 4 hours earlier than their normal departure time, but NO LATER THAN 12:00 PM” — If you normally work 8:30-5, or 9-5:30, or 9:30-6, your normal departure time is later than 12 noon. Not clear whether people’s workplaces will then grant them more than 4 hours of excused absence, or whether they’ll be expected to use leave to account for the time beyond 4 hours.

        • If your normal tour of duty has you arrive at 9AM then you must leave at noon. If you normally arrive at 6AM and leave at 2 for example then you can leave at 10AM instead.

        • As for whether or not you have to use leave, that’s dependent upon your agency policy, OPM doesn’t dictate that.

          • textdoc

            Sure, but IMO it’s dumb for OPM to create this kind of ambiguity — usually it’s clear as to whether time not worked would be excused absence or leave.
            Also, because many people start work at 8 a.m. or later (probably more people than start at 7:45 or earlier, though I could be wrong), OPM’s decision means that a LOT of people will be leaving exactly at noon, which means that departures won’t exactly be staggered and there will be more pressure on Metro, more traffic on the roads, etc.

          • textdoc

            I doubt most agencies even have a policy in place as to whether people who work less than 4 hours on a day like this are going to be charged for leave. I suspect inidividual HR departments will be trying to figure it out on the fly.

          • FridayGirl

            I agree with you textdoc. Also, I’m at the office, no one is here and I have yet to hear whether no one else is going to show up or not. Which is kind of silly. I’m a staff assistant, so it’d be great to know whether I have staff to assist or not….. otherwise I don’t know why I’m here. OPM made the weirdest decision possible, imo.

          • Oh I don’t disagree that they could have made a better decision, just trying to make sure people understand what their options are (as best can be described in the general guidelines they provide).

          • Pixie

            Agreed, Textdoc, it’s a totally dumb call.

          • Bnel

            OPM does in fact give guidance on this:


            “For example, if a 3-hour staggered emergency early dismissal is announced with a final departure time at 2:00 p.m., and an employee works 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the employee should leave at 12:30 p.m. (i.e., the employee’s early departure time). However, if an employee works 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., the employee should depart at 2:00 p.m. (the final departure time) instead of the employee’s staggered departure time at 3:00 p.m. In this case, the employee would receive 4 hours of excused absence (i.e., 2:00 to 6:00 p.m.).”

  • JohnH

    While I am certainly no professional meteorologist, it’s already started snowing in Lynchburg and almost up to Charlottesville. Unless it’s stopping at McDonalds for breakfast, guessing it will be snowing before noon.

    • FridayGirl

      “Unless it’s stopping at McDonalds for breakfast…”
      Hahahahaha thank you for making my day. I needed that. I’ll make a bet it starts well before noon out in the ‘burbs.

  • Philippe Lecheval

    And Metro is already screwed up. Naturally they aren’t reporting any problems, but headways between Red Line trains seem to be anywhere between 8–12 minutes.

    • Pixie

      What was up with the red line today, I thought we were supposed to have normal rush hour service this morning?

  • Anon

    Yay for forced PTO! Thanks a lot, Obama!

    • Danielle

      I hope that was sarcasm bc Obama has nothing to do with OPM.


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