Winter weather like snow, sleet, and ice can sometimes make it difficult or unsafe to travel to work for your shift. That is why it is a good idea to become familiar with the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) guidance on weather and safety leave. The guidance was based on the Administrative Leave Act of 2016 and was last updated November 2018. Although federal agencies must continue vital business without compromising the safety of its employees and the general public, some agencies have to remain operational regardless of the weather outside.
Here are some of the important procedures federal employees need to follow if they want to take time off for weather and safety leave:
- Review the federal agency’s procedures about employee expectations for operating status announcements. Federal employees also need to know where to find operating status alerts on the agency’s website.
- Federal employees should know which flexibilities are available during specific agency operating procedures. Examples of flexibilities include unscheduled telework, unscheduled leave, leave without pay, or an alternative day off.
- A federal agency can grant paid weather and safety leave if it deems it is too dangerous to safely travel to or from work due to severe weather. It is important to note that there is no annual limit on paid weather and safety leave.
- Employees who telework are usually excluded from taking weather and safety leave. However, there are exceptions. For example, if the employee couldn’t have expected a sudden change in weather and did not obtain the necessary equipment to work from, then they might be eligible for weather and safety leave.
- If a federal employee is on preapproved leave, then they can’t use weather and safety leave if a severe weather event occurs during their time away from work.
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At John P. Mahoney, Esq., Attorneys at Law, we handle federal employment law cases across the United States. We have the skills and resources you need to make sure your labor rights are fully protected. Stop by our law firm today if you need legal advice regarding issues you are facing at work.
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