Storms with high winds were expected in the D.C. area Monday evening.

Storms with high winds were expected in the D.C. area Monday evening. Philip Yabut / Getty Images

D.C.-area feds told to leave offices by 3 p.m., ahead of storms

All federal employees in the Washington region who commuted for in-person work on Monday must leave two hours early, OPM said.

The Office of Personnel Management on Monday announced that federal employees in the Washington, D.C., region who commuted to work should head home two hours early, amid forecasts of serious thunderstorms and possible tornado activity in the area.

According to The Washington Post, federal meteorologists warned residents to brace for a series of severe thunderstorms and high winds Monday evening and said conditions could be ripe for a derecho. The National Weather Service also issued a tornado watch for much of the region.

OPM, which makes decisions on whether to close federal facilities in the Washington region due to inclement weather, issued a bulletin Monday afternoon announcing an early “staggered release” of feds in the area, provided they commuted to their traditional work sites. Although generally speaking, all D.C.-area federal workers should leave two hours before their shift is scheduled to end, most employees should head home by 3 p.m., OPM said

“Employees of federal agencies in the Washington, D.C., area are authorized for early departure,” the agency wrote. “Employees should depart two hours earlier than their normal departure time and may request unscheduled leave to depart prior to their staggered departure time. All employees must depart[sic] no later than 3 p.m. at which time federal offices are closed.”

Teleworkers, whether they commuted to work Monday or not, are not off the hook, however. Those working from home or through remote work arrangements are expected to continue working and not eligible for weather and safety leave. And employees with telework agreements who came into their traditional work sites must complete their day’s work once they return home.

Those without telework agreements will receive weather and safety leave equivalent to the number of hours remaining in their workday when they leave their work site. And “emergency employees” are expected to remain on the job unless otherwise directed by their agencies.

Federal employees may request to use unscheduled leave, either paid or unpaid, or other forms time off if they wish to leave before their scheduled early departure time, although in doing so, they will forfeit weather and safety leave. And employees who are already on preapproved leave, either paid or unpaid, likewise will not receive weather and safety leave.