Lawmaker: Let D.C.-Area Feds Telework Due to Metro Disruptions

OPM says it is finalizing guidance to that effect to respond to year-long maintenance project.

A prominent Washington, D.C.-area lawmaker is calling on the Obama administration to allow federal employees in the region to work from home more often as the Metro public transit system prepares for major maintenance projects expected to significantly disrupt commutes.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority finalized its SafeTrack plan this week after a series of high-profile issues with the metrorail system. The maintenance efforts are expected to last one year and impact tens of thousands of federal employees that ride the Metro daily.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., called on the Office of Personnel Management to intervene  and lessen the burden for federal workers.

“Recognizing the sizeable impact this will have on federal employees who overwhelmingly rely on Metro and federal facilities served by Metro, it is imperative that OPM push to expand telework opportunities for our federal workforce,” Connolly said.

Sam Schumach, an OPM spokesman, confirmed the agency is “finalizing” guidance to that effect. Feds should not expect a one-size-fits-all approach, however.

“Given the scope, duration and nature of the disruptions, the impact to agencies in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area will differ,” Schumach said. “That means individual agencies are best positioned to determine the impact that the SafeTrack project will have on their workforce and therefore agencies should make decisions regarding how to adjust.”

He added the forthcoming guidance will “help agencies and managers understand the tools at their disposal.”