TO: All Agency Heads and Postal Service Officials, Twin Cities Metropolitan Area

 

FROM: Lane Harstad, Chair, Federal Executive Board of Minnesota

 

SUBJECT: Fiscal Year 2017 FEB All Hazards Policy for Federal Agency Non-Emergency Employees in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metropolitan Area

 

The following policy is the latest revision of the previous Federal Executive Board (FEB) policy regarding notifying the Federal Community of emergencies including terrorism activities and/or potentially hazardous weather situations. ALL PREVIOUS POLICIES ARE VOID. This statement is an effort to clearly define the roles of the Federal Executive Board and individual agencies to responding to emergencies including hazardous weather and man-made situations.

The FEB will serve as a central point for gathering accurate information and disseminating it to agencies regarding emergency situations including potentially hazardous weather conditions in the Twin Cities metro area. We will do this by consulting with relevant Federal, State and Local Governmental agencies. We will then communicate this information via the FEB website, FEB email, Communicator!NXT notification system and other internal communications and media sources depending on circumstances and time of the emergency or onset of hazardous conditions. Federal agencies outside the metro area should follow your own system developed by your managers or the public recommendations for Minnesota State Agencies/Employees.

Emergency Situations may include:

  • Local or Regional DHS NTAS Imminent Threat Alert (highest)
  • Widespread power outages affecting Federal government installations
  • Other emergency situations, terrorism and man-made disasters
  • Pandemic influenza outbreak or other widespread public health emergencies

Hazardous weather conditions may include:

  • Deep snow with capability for prolonged blocking of traffic
  • Intense icing conditions on highways or streets
  • Treacherous winds or continuing high velocity gusts
  • Floods
  • Tornado Warnings or extensive post-Tornado damage

The FEB will announce a recommendation for dismissal and closing procedures, based on the terms used by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management’s status of government operations. Once informed of this information and recommendation, agencies will be responsible for invoking their own emergency/hazardous weather policies for their Non-Emergency Federal Personnel. Decisions such as whether to dismiss or not dismiss Non-Emergency Federal Employees remain within an individual agency’s discretion.

The best way to check on the status of any FEB Emergency and/or Weather Warning is to check the FEB Website www.minnesota.feb.gov. In the event of a weather recommendation, the FEB will post a red banner visible at the header of every page of the FEB website, notifying if a recommendation is in force for Non-Emergency Employees. Another means to check on the status of a warning is to call the FEB Weatherline at (612) 713-7333. DO NOT CALL ANY OTHER FEB TELEPHONE NUMBER AS THE MESSAGE WILL ONLY BE LEFT ON THE WEATHERLINE (612) 713-7333. If internet/telephone service is disrupted, all agencies and employees should listen to WCCO-AM Radio Station 830 (AM) for our message. These procedures apply to morning or daytime warnings.

To announce ONLY your agency’s closure to the public through WCCO Radio/TV, register as an organization in advance of a threat by calling (612) 339-4444. WCCO staff will register your agency and provide you with the website to use for your agency closure announcement.

We request that all of your Non-Emergency Federal Employees are fully informed as to your agency's emergency and hazardous weather policy on a timely basis.

Should you have any further questions regarding the FEB's Emergency/Hazardous Weather Warning Policy, please call the FEB Office at (612) 713-7200.

Attachments:

- U.S. DHS National Terrorism Advisory System (replaced the previous DHS color code alert system)

- Emergency Communication Plan for Hazardous Weather Coordination and Possible Work Disruptions, with Recommendations

U.S. Department of Homeland Security – NTAS
 

Emergency Communication Plan for Hazardous Weather Coordination and Possible Work Disruptions

For Federal Agencies in Minnesota Twin Cities Metropolitan Area

FY 2017

Developed in accordance with Office of Personnel Guidelines

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

OUTLINE AND PURPOSE:

This Emergency Communications Plan (herein referred to as the Plan) outlines the Minnesota Federal Executive Board’s (FEB) procedures. The plan identifies responsibilities and provides interagency communication strategies that can be used by Federal Agency leaders in the Minnesota Twin Cities Metropolitan Area for workforce planning purposes. It also provides guidelines on designating emergency personnel, along with pay and leave policies, as developed by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

 

The Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 (the Act) defines “telework” or “teleworking” as a work flexibility arrangement under which an employee performs the duties and responsibilities of his or her position, and other authorized activities, from an approved worksite other than the location from which the employee would otherwise work. Agencies should incorporate telework arrangements into their agency emergency planning so that employees who would prefer to telework in the event of such an emergency, and who could perform duties from an alternate location, may do so.  Telework continues to enable a greater number of Federal employees to work during emergency situations. Recognizing our evolving use of technology, telework allows the Federal Government to maximize operational efficiency to the extent practicable without compromising the safety of our employees or the general public during heavy snow accumulation, significant road closures due to various events, and other emergency situations.

 

Employee participation in the telework program is voluntary. An agency may not compel an employee to participate in telework, even if some or all of the duties of the position can be performed at an alternative location. Therefore, an agency should never force an employee (who either does not wish to telework or is not eligible to telework) to sign a telework agreement to avoid providing excused absence to that employee on a day when Federal offices are closed to the public. Both employee participation and the signing of a telework agreement must be voluntary.

 

The following guidelines are suggested for situations that hinder significant numbers of employees in the Minnesota Twin Cities Metropolitan Area from reporting for work on time, or which require agencies to close all or part of their activities. These situations include adverse weather conditions (snow emergencies, severe icing conditions, floods, and tornadoes,) air pollution, disruption of power and/or water, and other emergency situations that would disrupt Government operations.

It is important for all Federal agencies affected by the same emergency conditions to try to coordinate, to the maximum extent possible, their plans for normal business operations, or the release/excusal of their employees, as well as appropriate leave policies to protect the wellbeing of Federal employees and customers. This coordinated effort promotes equitable treatment of employees, avoids confusion, lessens traffic congestion and reduces hazards inherent in some situations.

Agency-Specific Announcements: For agency-specific emergencies, OPM continues to believe that each agency is in the best position to determine the appropriate course of action. For example, power outages or flooding in a particular building could affect one or several facilities without requiring all agencies to take action. Agencies have the authority to release employees and/or close individual facilities to the public on a localized, building-by-building basis. Each agency should have a method for communicating and updating operating status announcements to employees as part of the agency’s emergency procedures.

 

OPM Washington, DC, Area Dismissal and Closure Procedures:  The most, up-to-date OPM Washington, DC, Area Dismissal and Closure Procedures can be found at https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/reference-materials/handbooks/dcdismissal.pdf.

 

SCOPE OF THIS PLAN:

Although each Federal agency is responsible for the safety of its employees and the Continuity of Operations, this guide assists Federal agencies in Minnesota with obtaining and coordinating relevant information that can be readily shared among Federal agencies and used for decision-making relative to the Federal workforce.

This Plan is relevant for all executive agencies located in the Minnesota area. Recommendations/coordination made by the Minnesota Federal Executive Board DO NOT pertain to agency personnel who have been designated as “emergency essential.”

The Plan does not replace Federal agencies’ individual emergency plans or building occupant emergency plans, but rather complements them and serves as a resource for information-sharing and uniform decision-making. The Plan was developed to mirror the  OPM Washington, DC, Area Dismissal and Closure Procedures that apply to employees in all Executive agencies with offices located inside the “Washington Capital Beltway” (the highway that circles the Nation’s capital).

Terms Identified for Emergency Notification:

Our FEB suggests utilization of the OPM Operating Status Announcements. A table is provided at the end of this plan identifying each term and the corresponding leave considerations.

 

IMPLEMENTATION

Hazardous Weather

The National Weather Service (NWS) will advise the Federal Executive Board’s (FEB) Executive Director of hazardous weather situations and provide advisories for other weather-related issues, such as tornadoes. This notification is usually made when warnings of snow or accumulations of ice have been issued. These forecasts or reports of snow and/or ice storm conditions are usually the basis for which telephone notification procedure becomes operational.

After consultation with the NWS, the FEB Executive Director will make advisory information available to affected Federal establishments when conditions indicate an early dismissal situation.

When hazardous conditions develop during the night or before normal duty hours, the NWS will contact the FEB Executive Director (or designated alternate) to advise him/her of the situation. The Executive Director or designated alternate will contact agency heads and make information available regarding weather conditions on the FEB website (www.minnesota.feb.gov), via the red banner on top of every page, and on the FEB weather line, 612-713-7333. In all cases, the final decision to dismiss employees or close offices will be made by the head of each agency and installation in the local area.

Employees should be advised of the notification procedures within their employing agency. Radio and/or television announcements of agency closings do not substitute for personal communications with agency officials. Agency heads or a designee are asked to notify the FEB Office of closings; this allows information sharing across agencies so that a coordinated approach can be accomplished. In all cases, the final decision to dismiss employees or close offices will be made by the head of each agency and installation in the local area.

 

All other Emergencies

In the event of any other situation, the Federal Executive Board will coordinate emergency and other interagency actions, including communications to ensure Federal agencies receive updated information regarding initiatives and events that affect the Federal community. The FEB will maintain a list of emergency contacts within the Federal community (as well as alternates) with off-duty contact information for use in the event of other emergencies. This information will not be published or distributed; however, will be made available to ‘responding’ Federal agencies, if determined appropriate in the event of a disaster.

 

NOTIFICATION PROCESS:

The Minnesota FEB collects and maintains a database of emergency contact information for each local agency head and their deputy or other designated official for use in the event of a widespread emergency during work and/or non-work hours. This information is used only in the event of a widespread local or national emergency. The Executive Director will hold this information securely at all times.

Participation in this notification process is voluntary. In order to ensure and maintain an executive-level exchange, communications are designed for Federal agency heads, deputies, or designated alternates only. The designated official should have decision-making authority relative to the Federal workforce. Each agency is requested to submit a minimum of two points of contact.

In the event of a localized emergency, the Minnesota FEB considers it prudent to notify all of our agency contacts of the issue regardless of whether they are personally affected or not. Notification will take place via website (www.minnesota.feb.gov) and the FEB weather line 612-713-7333.  This will make federal leaders aware of situations in the area and throughout the state in an effort to avoid rumors among employees, particularly if there is media coverage. It is also helpful should the situation become more widespread.

NOTE: It is not appropriate to delegate this agency responsibility to Facilities or Building Managers, COOP planners, or contractors and other non-Federal employees.

Notifications will be activated by collective agreement among the Minnesota FEB leadership and only during those cases deemed as emergency. Scheduled and spontaneous tests will take place throughout the year on all systems to ensure that they are working.

 

Appropriate Use of Leave Without Pay: Three of OPM's operating status announcements state that an employee may “use” leave without pay (LWOP) on a day when unscheduled leave is announced (i.e., “Open with Option for Unscheduled Leave or Unscheduled Telework;” “Open--XX Hours Delayed Arrival with Option for Unscheduled Leave or Unscheduled Telework;” and “Open – Delayed Arrival – Employees Must Report To Their Office No Later Than XX:XX with Option for Unscheduled Leave or Unscheduled Telework”).

LWOP is defined as a temporary nonpay status and absence from duty. LWOP must be requested by the employee and approved by the supervisor. OPM’s procedures themselves do not create an automatic entitlement to use LWOP when the option for unscheduled leave is made available. It is the responsibility of each agency to manage LWOP, and in some circumstances, an agency may determine that it is inappropriate to approve LWOP. Except for these rare circumstances, OPM encourages agencies to permit the use of LWOP if an employee does not have available paid leave or other paid time off (e.g., earned compensatory time off) to his or her credit and is impacted by the emergency or event that generated the announcement for unscheduled leave.

The administration of leave is based on internal agency procedures, in compliance with any collective bargaining requirements, as applicable and consistent with law. Each agency is responsible to develop and administer its own internal policies on leave, including LWOP, and communicate those policies to its supervisors and employees.

OPM uses the following language in the Procedures and encourages agencies to develop and communicate any additional policies needed for the pre-approval of LWOP for the applicable OPM operating status announcements. Employees are well aware of their leave balances, and if a supervisor and employee have the conversation in advance, LWOP can be a useful flexibility alongside telework and adjustments to flexible work schedules (including AWS days off) when emergencies arise.

“Non-Emergency Employees. Non-emergency employees must notify their supervisor of their intent to use unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework (if telework-ready). In accordance with their agency’s policies and procedures, and subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements (as consistent with law), non-emergency employees have the option to use (1) earned annual leave, compensatory time off, credit hours, or sick leave, as appropriate; (2) leave without pay; (3) their alternative work schedule day off or rearrange their work hours under flexible work schedules; or (4) unscheduled telework (if telework ready).”

 

No Additional Pay or Paid Time Off for Employees Who Must Work or Remain at Worksite After the Normal Tour of Duty

Employees who are required to work on site (e.g., at the office) or telework during their regular tour of duty on a day when Federal offices are closed (or when other employees are authorized a delayed arrival or an early departure) are not entitled to receive overtime pay, credit hours, or compensatory time off for performing work during their regularly scheduled non-overtime hours.

Further, during a shelter-in-place or other emergency, employees may be restricted to their agency's premises for periods that extend beyond their normal tour of duty because of events beyond the agency’s control. Most employees will not be entitled to any additional pay for this extended period. However, employees who are required to remain in a state of readiness to perform work during this extended period may be entitled to overtime pay for standby duty.

The rules on standby duty are found in 5 CFR 550.112(k), for employees who are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and in 5 CFR 551.431, for FLSA-covered employees. The key issue in determining whether an employee is entitled to overtime pay for standby duty is the nature of the restrictions placed on the employee. An employee is in a standby duty status if, for work-related reasons—

  1. the employee is restricted by official order to a designated post of duty, and
  2. the employee is assigned to be in a state of readiness to perform work with limitations on the employee's activities so substantial that the employee cannot use the time effectively for his or her own purposes.

The Comptroller General has ruled that periods of time during which an employee is required to remain at a work location are not considered compensable hours of work if the employee is detained for reasons that are not under the control of the agency or are not related to work requirements. (See Comp. General opinion B-187181, October 17, 1977.)

Failure to Report for Work

An emergency employee is required to work on a day when Federal offices are closed (or when OPM has authorized a delayed arrival or an early or immediate departure), and for such an employee, the day is a workday and normal time and attendance rules apply. A telework-ready employee may be required to work (based on agency policies and individual telework agreements, which may be subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements, as consistent with law) on a day when Federal offices are closed (or when employees working at the office receive either a delayed arrival or an early departure announcement), and for such an employee, the day is a workday and normal time and attendance rules apply.

However, in rare situations an agency may determine that circumstances justify granting excused absence to an emergency employee or a telework-ready employee (required to work based on agency policies and telework agreements, which may be subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements, as consistent with law), and such an employee may be granted excused absence (administrative leave) by the agency. This could occur, for instance, if weather conditions make it impracticable or dangerous for an emergency employee to travel to the worksite, or if power outages or network connection problems prevent telework.

If an employee who is required to work fails to report for work without adequate reason for his or her absence, the agency may place the employee on absence without leave (AWOL), and the employee may potentially be disciplined for AWOL by the agency. Each agency is responsible for determining whether the employee has adequate reasons for his or her absence.

Employees who are not designated as emergency employees or not required to telework should be granted excused absence when their office is closed and they are prevented from working due to the emergency. However, excused absence should not be granted to employees on (1) leave without pay, (2) official travel, or (3) a flexible or compressed work schedule day off.

 

 

ADDENDUM: FEDERAL EXECUTIVE BOARD RESPONSIBILITIES

Federal Executive Boards were established on November 10, 1961 by Presidential Memorandum. As outlined in Part 960 of Title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations. “Federal Executive Boards shall be responsible for… emergency operations, such as under hazardous weather conditions, responding to blood donations needs, and communicating related leave policies.” (Reference: 5 CFR Part 960.107.) Subsequent policy memorandums issued by the Director, US Office of Personnel Management have requested that Federal Executive Boards, nationwide, play a critical role in emergency preparedness and response from a workforce planning perspective in their communities.

As a central management agency of the United States Federal government, the US Office of Personnel Management includes Federal Executive Boards in its national communications plan during times of national emergencies and local crises. Their plan calls for “immediate notification of changes to the operating status of the government to...Federal Executive Boards and other key Federal and local authorities…” (Reference: Federal Manager’s Decision Maker’s Emergency Guide. 2002 available at www.opm.gov) The US Office of Personnel Management and the US Department of Homeland Security at the headquarters level have identified the FEB network, nationwide, as an integral resource for information about government-wide operations following an emergency. (Reference – February 14, 2002 Memo) Due to the diverse geographical area covered by the Minnesota FEB, as well as the diversity of agency missions, our chosen role in emergency decisions and notifications is that of providing a “recommendation” based on up-to-date, consistent, and accurate information from our FEB members.

These procedures are based on the principle that the business of the Federal Government is vital to serving the public everywhere. No provision of these guidelines may be applied in contravention of contractual agreements; agency instructions or guidelines; Comptroller General Rulings; or other pertinent controlling policies, authorities and instructions governing the granting of annual leave or authorization of excused absence without charge to leave during emergency situations. Application of this guidance must be consistent with the provisions of applicable collective bargaining agreements or other controlling policies, authorities, and instructions. The purpose of this strategy is to provide information when an emergency situation arises. Agencies are encouraged to follow these procedures; however, agencies continue to have the responsibility for discretionary authority to determine normal business operations, grant a reasonable amount of excused absence for individual hardships or circumstances unique to an employee. For example, factors such as distance, availability of transportation, or available alternatives to childcare or eldercare may be considered. In all cases, the final decision to dismiss employees or close offices will be made by the head of each agency and installation in the local area.

The Minnesota FEB will:

  • Strive to provide Agency heads with accurate, up-to-date, and consistent information received from the National Weather Service and State and Local government agencies so that informed decisions can be made about agency operations;
  • Maintain a database of emergency contact information for local agency heads and their designated alternates and update on a yearly basis;
  • Provide regular status reports to OPM FEB Operations and DHS / Federal Protective Service’s 24 hour Mid Atlantic Mega Center (800 525-5726,) when necessary;
  • Distribute OPM, Administration, and other guidance as appropriate.
  •  

ADDENDUM: AGENCIES’ RESPONSIBILITIES

  1. Agencies should establish policies and procedures to be consistent with and implement OPM’s Washington, DC, Area Dismissal and Closure Procedures. This includes revising and updating employees’ written telework agreements and incorporating such agreements into emergency planning, including updating internal agency announcements based on OPM’s latest changes.
  2. Agencies should develop explicit procedures in advance that employees may use during emergencies to notify their supervisor promptly of their intent to use unscheduled leave or perform unscheduled telework (if telework-ready) prior to the start of the workday or as soon as practicable. Agencies should also develop similar procedures for employees to request unscheduled leave when announcement is an early departure with either a staggered or final departure time or an immediate departure after the workday has already begun.
  3. At least annually, agencies should identify emergency employees (including COOP employees) and notify them in writing. The written notice should include the requirement that emergency employees report for work or remain at work (or work at home or report to an alternative worksite) when Government operations are disrupted and an explanation that announcements of unscheduled leave/unscheduled telework, delayed arrival, early or immediate departure, or Federal offices are closed in the Minnesota FEB area do not apply to them unless they are instructed otherwise.
  4. Agencies should establish policies for the use of unscheduled telework. For the majority of OPM’s operating status announcements, it is expected that telework will be either an available flexibility or a requirement to allow telework-ready employees to avoid lengthy commutes or avoid using leave.
  5. To implement and/or maintain telework readiness, agencies should continue to (1) review their current telework policies to ensure that telework is integrated as part of the flexibilities permitted during disruption of normal operating procedures and that telework agreements require telework when Federal offices are closed; (2) ensure that the IT infrastructure is in place to allow large numbers of employees to telework simultaneously; (3) establish new situational (ad hoc) telework arrangements for employees who can telework, and wish to do so on a situational (ad hoc) basis, but typically do not; and (4) permit or require all employees who can telework, and who wish to do so on at least a situational (ad hoc) basis, to practice it regularly and frequently to maintain effectiveness and ensure functionality.
  6. OPM urges agencies to adjust their policies, procedures, and telework agreements, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements, as applicable and consistent with law, so that when the Minnesota FEB recommends that Federal offices in the Minnesota FEB are are closed, employees with telework agreements will be expected to work on those days rather than be granted excused absence (administrative leave). Agencies and employees should take into account the quid pro-quo benefits of telework. That is, telework is an option to maintain work productivity without compromising employee safety, and telework is an option available all year long to help employees balance personal and work needs.
  7. For employees who are expected to telework when Federal offices are closed, it is imperative that they have the opportunity to telework on a regular basis to ensure that they will be able to function effectively and efficiently.
  8. For telework-ready employees, any requirements concerning the unscheduled telework option should be explicit in their telework agreements. If an agency determines that certain circumstances may require non-emergency employees to report for work or remain at work when Government operations are disrupted, the agency should establish a procedure for notifying them individually prior to the emergency.
  9. Agencies must establish internal policies for employees regarding the use of unscheduled leave and flexible work schedules. This includes explicit policies on the use of leave without pay, ability to change an AWS day off, or flexibility to rearrange starting and stopping times under a flexible work schedule when a Minnesota FEB operating status recommendation is made that includes one of these flexibilities. If an agency determines that certain circumstances may require non-emergency employees to report for work or remain at work when Government operations are disrupted, the agency should establish a procedure for notifying them individually prior to the emergency.
  10. Agencies must notify employees that, if they are required to report for work and fail to do so, they will be charged absence without leave (AWOL) for the period not worked and may potentially be disciplined for AWOL upon further determination by the agency. (See Failure to Report for Work above.) In unique situations, an agency may determine that circumstances justify excusing emergency employees or non-emergency employees from duty, and they may be granted excused absence (administrative leave).
  11. Agencies are responsible for determining dismissal policies, emergency procedures, and leave policies for employees on shift work and alternative work schedules (i.e., flexible or compressed work schedules) and for informing employees of these policies. Agencies should consult OPM’s Handbook on Alternative Work Schedules to determine the “normal arrival and departure times” of employees on flexible schedules. The handbook is available on OPM’s website at http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/referencematerials/handbooks/alternative-work-schedules.
  12. Agencies should have shelter-in-place plans developed to use during certain emergencies. These plans should be communicated clearly to their employees and tested periodically.
  13. During an agency-specific closure or dismissal, agencies should have their own methods for communicating and updating their status of operations to employees. These methods could include agency website notices, emergency call-in phone numbers, phone trees, automated emails, media announcements, etc. To the extent possible, each agency should notify the Minnesota FEB Executive Director of any agency-specific closure or dismissal.

14. For weather-related situations in certain large metropolitan areas outside of the Washington, DC, area, the Federal Executive Boards provide up-to-date, accurate, and consistent information, such as from the National Weather Service, to their local Federal agency leaders to assist them in making informed decisions on the appropriate operating status for their Federal agency employees in those areas. Each local Federal agency head makes workforce status decisions for his or her agency employees and should report that workforce status decision to his or her agency Headquarters. Federal employees in geographic areas outside of the Washington, DC, area should check with their own agency regarding the operating status of their duty station. Additional Resources for Emergency Guidance

In any emergency situation, Government operations may be disrupted for extended periods. OPM has provided numerous resources to enable Federal agencies to continue functioning effectively during an emergency situation. The following information offers further guidance on continuing operations during extended emergencies and emergency preparedness:

Handbook on Pay and Leave Benefits for Federal Employees Affected by Severe Weather Emergencies or Other Emergency Situations

https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/reference-materials/handbooks/emergencybenefits.pdf

Telework.Gov – Emergency Planning

https://www.telework.gov/guidance-legislation/telework-guidance/telework-guide/

 

Ready.gov – Emergency Planning

http://www.ready.gov

ADDENDUM: GUIDANCE FOR EMPLOYEES

Employees should contact their agencies to request annual leave, leave without pay, and/or use of earned compensatory time off or credit hours when an “unscheduled leave” policy is announced. Agencies should notify their employees of the procedures for making such requests.

Employees must be aware that those positions identified as “emergency” may vary depending on the emergency situation. An agency’s response can depend on the nature of the emergency, nature of agency mission, and the emergency location. There may be a need for identifying different categories of emergency personnel.

Employees are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the procedures that have been put into place at their agency, as well as the means of notification that an agency will use to inform and instruct employees.

Employees are encouraged to develop personal family plans for use during times of emergency. These plans should outline in advance what should be done in an emergency. Be prepared to assess the situation, use common sense and whatever you have on hand to take care of yourself and your loved ones. Think about the places where your family spends time: school, work and other places you frequent. Ask about their emergency plans. Find out how they will communicate with families during an emergency. If they do not have an emergency plan, consider helping them develop one. The US Department of Homeland Security hosts a web site to provide guidance to the general public for all sorts of emergency situations. (Source: www.ready.gov)

                                   

ADDENDUM: TERMS, DEFINITIONS AND LEAVE CONSIDERATIONS

STATUS OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS 

 

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) utilizes the following announcements when a disruption occurs before or during the workday.  These terms are also encouraged for federal agencies in the field for term familiarization and consistency. 

 

1. OPEN

“Federal agencies in the Washington, DC, area are OPEN.”

Employees are expected to report to their worksites or begin telework on time. Normal operating procedures are in effect.

Employees account for their hours of work by WATS:

  • Working at a worksite in the DC area,
  • Alternative work schedules (AWS) day off,
  • Teleworking, or
  • Scheduled leave or other paid time off.

 

2. OPEN WITH OPTION FOR UNSCHEDULED LEAVE OR UNSCHEDULED TELEWORK

“Federal agencies in the Washington, DC, area are OPEN and employees have the OPTION for UNSCHEDULED LEAVE OR UNSCHEDULED TELEWORK.

Non-Emergency Employees must notify their supervisor of their intent to use unscheduled leave or

unscheduled telework (if telework-ready). In accordance with their agency’s policies and

procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements(as consistent with law), non-emergency employees have the option to use:

(1) earned annual leave, compensatory time off, credit hours, or sick leave, as appropriate;

(2) leave without pay;

(3) their alternative work schedule (AWS) day off or rearrange their work hours under flexible work

schedules; or

(4) unscheduled telework (if telework-ready).

Telework-Ready Employees who are regularly scheduled to perform telework or who notify their

supervisor of their intention to perform unscheduled telework must be prepared to telework for the entire workday, 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).

Emergency Employees are expected to report to their worksites on time unless otherwise directed by their agencies.

 

3. OPEN – XX HOUR(S) DELAYED ARRIVAL – WITH OPTION FOR UNSCHEDULED LEAVE OR UNSCHEDULED TELEWORK

“Federal agencies in the Washington, DC, area are OPEN under XX HOUR(S) DELAYED ARRIVAL and employees have the OPTION FOR UNSCHEDULED LEAVE OR UNSCHEDULED TELEWORK. Employees should plan to arrive for work no more than XX hour(s) later than they would be expected to arrive.” 

Non-Emergency Employees who report to the office will be granted excused absence (administrative leave) for up to XX hour(s) past their expected arrival time. In accordance with their agency’s policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements (as consistent with law), nonemergency employees may notify their supervisor of their intent to use: (1) earned annual leave, compensatory time off, credit hours, or sick leave, as appropriate; (2) leave without pay; (3) their alternative work schedule (AWS) day off or rearrange their work hours under flexible work schedules; or (4) unscheduled telework (if telework-ready). (Employees who request unscheduled leave should be charged leave for the entire workday.)

Telework-Ready Employees who are regularly scheduled to perform telework or who notify their supervisor of their intention to perform unscheduled telework must be prepared to telework for the entire workday, 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 Leave. Employees on pre-approved leave for the entire workday or employees who requested unscheduled leave for the entire workday should be charged leave for the entire day.

Emergency Employees are expected to report to their worksite on time unless otherwise directed by their agencies.

 

4. OPEN – DELAYED ARRIVAL – EMPLOYEES MUST REPORT TO THEIR OFFICE NO LATER THAN XX:XX – WITH OPTION FOR UNSCHEDULED LEAVE OR UNSCHEDULED TELEWORK

“Federal agencies in the Washington, DC, area are OPEN under a DELAYED ARRIVAL where

employees in the Washington, DC, area must REPORT TO THEIR OFFICE NO LATER THAN

XX:XX and have the OPTION FOR UNSCHEDULED LEAVE OR UNSCHEDULED

TELEWORK.”

Non-Emergency Employees who report to the office will be granted excused absence (administrative leave) up until the announced reporting time. In accordance with their agency’s policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements (as consistent with law), non-emergency employees may notify their supervisor of their intent to use:

(1) earned annual leave, compensatory time off, credit hours, or sick leave, as appropriate;

(2) leave without pay;

(3) their alternative work schedule (AWS) day off or rearrange their work hours under flexible work

schedules; or

(4) unscheduled telework (if telework-ready).

(Employees who request unscheduled leave should be charged leave for the entire workday.)

Telework-Ready Employees who are regularly scheduled to perform telework or who notify their

supervisor of their intention to perform unscheduled telework must be prepared to telework for the entire workday, 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 Leave. Employees on pre-approved leave for the entire workday should be charged leave for the entire workday.

Emergency Employees are expected to report to their worksite on time unless otherwise directed by their agencies.

 

5. OPEN - XX HOUR(S) STAGGERED EARLY DEPARTURE

“Federal agencies in the Washington, DC, area are OPEN. Employees should depart XX HOUR(S) earlier than their normal departure times and may request UNSCHEDULED LEAVE to depart prior to their staggered departure times.” 

Non-emergency Employees:

  • Excused Absence: Non-emergency employees will be dismissed from their offices XX hour(s) early relative to their normal departure times and will be granted excused absence (administrative leave) for the number of hours remaining in their workdays. 
  • Departure Prior to Early Dismissal Time: Non-emergency employees who depart prior to their staggered early departure times 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 performing telework must continue to telework or take unscheduled leave, or a combination of both for the entire workday or the remainder of the workday, as applicable, in accordance with their agency’s policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements (as consistent with law). 

Pre-approved leave: An employee on pre-approved leave for the entire workday or an employee who has requested unscheduled leave before an early departure policy is announced should continue to be charged leave for the remainder of the workday. 

Emergency Employees:

  • Emergency Employees are expected to remain at their worksite unless otherwise directed by their agencies. 

 

6. OPEN - XX HOUR(S) STAGGERED EARLY DEPARTURE – ALL EMPLOYEES MUST DEPART NO LATER THAN XX:XX AT WHICH TIME FEDERAL OFFICES ARE CLOSED

“Federal agencies in the Washington, DC, area are OPEN. Employees should depart XX HOUR(S) earlier than their normal departure times and may request UNSCHEDULED LEAVE to depart prior to their staggered departure times. All employees MUST DEPART at no later than XX:XX at which time FEDERAL OFFICES in the Washington, DC, area are CLOSED.” 

Non-emergency Employees:

  • Excused Absence: Non-emergency employees will be dismissed from their office early relative to their normal departure times 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 times 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. 
  • Pre-approved leave.  Employees on pre-approved leave for the entire workday or employees who have requested unscheduled leave before an early departure policy is announced should continue to be charged annual or sick leave for the entire day or remainder of the workday, as applicable. 

Telework-Ready Employees performing telework must continue to 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). 

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

 

7. IMMEDIATE DEPARTURE – FEDERAL OFFICES ARE CLOSED

IMMEDIATE DEPARTURE. Employees should depart IMMEDIATELY. FEDERAL OFFICES in the Washington, DC, area are CLOSED.”

Non-emergency employees should depart immediately from the office. All non-emergency employees will be granted excused absence (administrative leave) for the number of hours remaining in their workday unless they are:

  • on official travel outside of the Washington, DC, area,
  • on leave without pay, or
  • on an alternative work schedule (AWS) day off. 

Telework-Ready Employees performing telework must continue to telework for the entire workday or take unscheduled leave for the remainder of the workday, as applicable in accordance with their agencies’ policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements (as consistent with law). 

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

 

8. FEDERAL OFFICES ARE CLOSED  – EMERGENCY AND TELEWORK-READY EMPLOYEES MUST FOLLOW THEIR AGENCY’S POLICIES

FEDERAL OFFICES in the Washington, DC, area are CLOSED.  Emergency and telework-ready employees required to work must follow their agency’s policies, including written telework agreements.” 

Non-emergency employees will be granted excused absence (administrative leave) for the number of hours they were scheduled to work unless they are:

  • required to telework,
  • on official travel outside of the Washington, DC, area,
  • on pre-approved leave (including  leave without pay), or
  • on an alternative work schedule (AWS) day off. 

Telework-Ready Employees who are scheduled to perform telework on the effective day of the announcement or who are required to perform telework on a day when Federal offices are closed must telework the entire workday or request leave, or a combination of both, in accordance with their agencies’ policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements (as consistent with law). 

Emergency Employees are expected to report to their worksite unless otherwise directed by their agencies.

 

9. SHELTER-IN-PLACE

FEDERAL OFFICES in the Washington, DC, area are under SHELTER-IN-PLACE procedures and are CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC.”  

Employees Located at Agency Worksite: All employees should follow their agency’s emergency procedures for shelter-in-place. Employees should remain in their designated safe area until they are notified by agency officials that they may return to the office or leave the worksite.

Telework-Ready Employees performing telework are expected to continue working during the shelter-in-place, unless affected by the emergency or otherwise notified by their agencies.