printable banner

U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Washington, DC, Area Dismissal and Closure Procedures


January 15, 2014

Share

This Department Notice states the dismissal and closure procedures for Department of State employees in the Washington metropolitan area and explains Office of Personnel Management (OPM) status announcements for common situations. The procedures apply to employees with offices located inside the Washington Capital Beltway. Facilities outside the Beltway may prefer to develop their own plans, since they may be subject to different emergency and traffic conditions from those inside the Beltway. In unusual situations, however, OPM may issue guidelines affecting facilities outside the Washington Capital Beltway as well.

Questions on the dismissal and closure policies should be directed to the Bureau of Human Resources (see “Questions” at the end of this notice).

Telework Guidance

In 2010, OPM introduced unscheduled telework as an option for employees in certain circumstances. To perform unscheduled telework when OPM announces it as an option, employees must have an approved telework agreement in place. If the telework agreement is approved for unscheduled telework, employees must notify their supervisors when exercising this option on the day of an OPM announcement. If unscheduled telework has not been approved in their telework agreement, employees must request approval to telework from their supervisors the morning of an announcement. An employee with a telework agreement may request unscheduled telework even if he or she is not otherwise scheduled to telework on the day OPM announced unscheduled telework as an option. Non-emergency employees whose telework agreements do not specifically note in the comments field that they must telework during a closure or an early departure from work are not required to telework. They are, however, permitted to telework should they choose to do so.

Employees can view their agreements by clicking on the eOPF link listed under Employee Self Service (HR Online) on the HR homepage, Bureau of Human Resources, and then clicking on the telework folder. All employees who telework, even occasionally on a situational basis, must have an approved agreement through e-Telework. The online application is available through HR Online.

In rare circumstances, it may be necessary to require a non-emergency employee to report for an assignment that requires his or her presence at a worksite when Federal offices are open but unscheduled telework/unscheduled leave has been announced (e.g., providing a presentation or performing administrative duties at a pre-scheduled conference), as long as it is safe for the employee to do so. Bureaus or offices must establish procedures for individually notifying non-emergency employees if circumstances require them to report for work or remain at work when Government operations are disrupted. This should not be a last-minute surprise, but a special work circumstance that both the supervisor and employee know about, discuss, and plan for in advance as the special work requirement evolves. Requiring a non-emergency employee to come in under such circumstances would not change the status of a non-emergency employee to an emergency employee (see definition of emergency employee below).

Emergency and Mission-Critical Employees

Bureaus and offices should ensure that employees who are emergency employees are identified and notified in writing of their status. Emergency employees typically are employees responsible for providing essential facilities and information technology services. Examples could include Uniformed Security Officers; Operations Center staff; employees serving on the Incident Management Team coordinated by the Office of Emergency Management (A/OEM) (when notified by OEM that their presence is required to respond to the emergency situation); and others who perform essential duties that may not be suspended.

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 alternate worksite) when Government operations are disrupted, noting that the OPM announcements (i.e., unscheduled leave/unscheduled telework, delayed arrival, early or immediate departure, or Federal offices are closed in the Washington, DC, area) do not apply to them unless they are instructed otherwise.

Mission-critical Team employees are personnel from bureaus and offices who are designated to support the Department’s continuity programs. They may be called upon to work during emergencies involving national security, extended emergencies, or other unique situations. They are not automatically considered emergency employees for purposes of early dismissals, delayed arrivals, and closures. Bureaus should identify and notify staff members if they are Mission Critical Team employees.

In some cases, the work of emergency and mission critical employees must be carried out in the workplace and not from the telework location. Should these employees be unable to report to work and carry out their support functions because of individual hardships or circumstances unique to the employee, supervisors also may excuse them from work when Federal agencies are closed.

Reporting for Work

Employees who are required to work and fail to do so will be charged with absence without official leave (AWOL) for the period not worked and may be disciplined.

Receiving Operating Status Updates from OPM

  • OPM makes announcements to the media (local television and radio broadcasts, including WTOP and WAMU) on the status of Federal Government operations in the Washington, DC, area.
  • Announcements also are posted on its website at: OPM Operating Status & Schedules. Employees may receive direct operating status notifications by clicking on “Join our ListServ and get email updates.” Other useful links also appear on the OPM operating status webpage (including one for getting the OPM Alert Mobile App).
  • Recorded messages on operating status also are provided by OPM on (202) 606-1900.

Charts Listing and Explaining OPM Announcements and What They Mean for Department of State Employees

STATUS OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS WASHINGTON, DC AREA

The U.S Office of Personnel Management (OPM) provides the following announcements to the media when a disruption occurs before or during the workday in the Washington, DC, area.

Announcement

What the Announcement Means for Department of State Employees

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.

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. In accordance with the Department of State’s policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements, 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; or
(3) unscheduled telework (if telework-ready, see guidance below).

Telework-Ready Employees (employees who have an approved telework agreement) who are regularly scheduled to perform telework or who notify their supervisors 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 the Department of State’s policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining agreements.

Teleworkers who have unscheduled telework included as an option in their telework agreement must notify their supervisors on the morning of an OPM announcement when exercising this option. Teleworkers who do not have unscheduled telework included as an option in their agreement must receive approval to telework from their supervisors.

Emergency Employees are expected to report to their worksites on time unless otherwise directed. Mission critical employees are not automatically considered emergency employees for purposes of early dismissals, delayed arrivals, and closures.

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 but may report earlier. In accordance with the Department of State’s policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements, 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; or
(3) unscheduled telework (if telework-ready, see guidance below).

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

Telework-Ready Employees (employees who have an approved telework agreement) who are regularly scheduled to perform telework or who notify their supervisors 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 the Department of State’s policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining agreements.

Teleworkers who have unscheduled telework included as an option in their telework agreement must notify their supervisors on the morning of an OPM announcement when exercising this option. Teleworkers who do not have unscheduled telework included as an option in their agreement must receive approval to telework from their supervisors.

Pre-approved Leave. Employees on pre-approved leave for the entire workday should be charged leave for the entire day.

Emergency Employees are expected to report to their worksites on time unless otherwise directed. Mission critical employees are not automatically considered emergency employees for purposes of early dismissals, delayed arrivals, and closures.

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 but may report earlier. In accordance with the Department of State’s policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining requirements, 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; or
(3) unscheduled telework (if telework-ready).

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

Telework-Ready Employees (employees who have an approved telework agreement) who are regularly scheduled to perform telework or who notify their supervisors 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 the Department of State’s policies and procedures, subject to any applicable collective bargaining agreements.

Teleworkers who have unscheduled telework included as an option in their telework agreement must notify their supervisors on the morning of an OPM announcement when exercising this option. Teleworkers who do not have unscheduled telework included as an option in their agreement must receive approval to telework from their supervisors.

Pre-approved Leave. Employees on pre-approved leave for the entire workday should be charged leave for the entire day.

Emergency Employees are expected to report to their worksites on time unless otherwise directed. Mission critical employees are not automatically considered emergency employees for purposes of early dismissals, delayed arrivals, and closures.

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 office 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 workday.

Departure Prior to Early Departure Time. Nonemergency 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 (employees who have an approved telework agreement) performing telework must continue to telework if this requirement is noted in their agreement.

Pre-approved Leave. Employees 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 entire day or the remainder of the workday, as applicable.

Emergency Employees are expected to remain at their worksites for the duration of their workday unless otherwise directed. Mission critical employees are not automatically considered emergency employees for purposes of early dismissals, delayed arrivals, and closures.

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 time and may request UNSCHEDULED LEAVE to depart prior to their staggered departure time. 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 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 workday.

Departure Prior to Early Departure Time. Nonemergency 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.

Pre-approved Leave. Employees on pre-approved leave for the entire workday or employees who 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 (employees who have an approved telework agreement) performing telework must continue to telework if this requirement is noted in their agreement.

Emergency Employees are expected to remain at their worksites unless otherwise directed by their agencies. Mission critical employees are not automatically considered emergency employees for purposes of early dismissals, delayed arrivals, and closures.

IMMEDIATE DEPARTURE
FEDERAL OFFICES ARE
CLOSED

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

Non-emergency employees (including employees on pre-approved paid leave) will be granted excused absence (administrative leave) for the number of hours they were scheduled to work 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 (employees who have an approved telework agreement) performing telework must continue to telework if this requirement is noted in their agreement.

Emergency Employees are expected to remain at their worksites unless otherwise directed by their agencies. Mission critical employees are not automatically considered emergency employees for purposes of early dismissals, delayed arrivals, and closures.

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 (including employees on pre-approved paid leave) will be granted excused absence (administrative leave) for the number of hours they were scheduled to work 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 (employees who have an approved telework agreement) who are scheduled to perform telework within the Washington, DC must telework if this requirement is noted in their agreements.

Emergency Employees are expected to report to their worksites unless otherwise directed. Mission critical employees are not automatically considered emergency employees for purposes of early dismissals, delayed arrivals, and closures.

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 the Department of State’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 (employees who have an approved telework agreement) performing telework are expected to continue working during the shelter-in-place unless affected by the emergency or otherwise notified by their agencies.

Questions

Bureaus and offices should ensure that employees who are emergency employees are identified and notified in writing. Employees may direct general questions regarding dismissal and closure procedures to the HR Service Center at HRSC@State.gov or may call 866-300-7419. Questions also may be directed to HRLeave@state.gov (202-261-8171). Employees should send telework-related questions to telework@state.gov or may call (202) 261-8178.



Back to Top
Sign-in

Do you already have an account on one of these sites? Click the logo to sign in and create your own customized State Department page. Want to learn more? Check out our FAQ!

OpenID is a service that allows you to sign in to many different websites using a single identity. Find out more about OpenID and how to get an OpenID-enabled account.