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Washington-Area Federal Offices Will Send Employees Home Early on Friday

D.C. offices will close at noon, ahead of anticipated blizzard.

The Office of Personnel Management announced Thursday evening that federal offices in the Washington, D.C. area will close at noon on Friday ahead of an anticipated snowstorm. 

Emergency and telework employees are expected to work. Non-emergency federal employees in the area will have the option to take unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework. OPM instructed those who do go into the office to head home four hours earlier than their normal departure times, and no later than 12 p.m. The agency said it will "continue to monitor the the weather situation and make updates if necessary." 

In a December memorandum, acting OPM Director Beth Cobert encouraged agencies to "continue to incorporate telework arrangements into their agency emergency planning so that employees will be able to telework during emergency situations allowing the federal government to maintain productivity and ensure continuity of operations."

Friday marks the first scheduled interruption at D.C.-area federal offices during the 2015-2016 winter. The metropolitan region is bracing for snow throughout the weekend with accumulation forecasts ranging from 16 to 30 inches.

Here is the full announcement 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.

OPM will continue to monitor the weather situation and will make updates if necessary.

Unscheduled Leave/Unscheduled Telework. Non-Emergency Employees must notify their supervisor of their intent to use unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework (if telework-ready). Employees performing unscheduled telework or requesting unscheduled leave do not receive excused absence.

Excused Absence. Non-emergency employees, reporting to the worksite, will be dismissed from their office early relative to their normal departure time or at the final departure time and will be granted excused absence (administrative leave) for the number of hours remaining in their workday beyond their early departure time or their final departure time.

Departure Prior to Early Departure Time. Non-emergency employees who depart prior to their staggered early departure time or final departure time may request to use unscheduled leave. Such employees will be charged leave for the remainder of their workday and will not be granted excused absence.

Telework-Ready Employees. Employees performing telework must telework or take unscheduled leave, or a combination of both for the entire workday in accordance with their agency's policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements (as consistent with law).

Pre-approved and Unscheduled leave. Employees on pre-approved or unscheduled leave should be charged leave for the entire day or remainder of the workday, as applicable.

Emergency Employees. Emergency employees are expected to report and remain at their worksite unless otherwise directed by their agencies.