Crews tackle piles of debris as clean-up continued Nov. 10 in the heavily damaged Rockaway neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Federal workers will see a different closure message on OPM's website if offices close because of bad weather. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images)
Federal employees snowed in this winter will be seeing a different closure message on the Office of Personnel Management’s website.
Angela Bailey, OPM’s associate director of employee services, said at a meeting of the Chief Human Capital Officers Council Tuesday that the agency is working on new wording for office closures this season.
Instead of the phrasing “federal offices are closed to the public” — in use since 2010 — employees will be told “Federal offices have closed — employees required to work must follow their agency’s policies.”
She said feedback OPM received convinced them to adjust the wording to avoid confusion and to provide employees with better clarity by referring them to their agencies.
Bailey said that puts the emphasis back on each agency to communicate with its employees and set clear policies and standards in regards to mobile work and telework.
She also said the agency is working on a new announcement to inform employees they can arrive late to work in the event of adverse weather conditions. Bailey said OPM will be able to change the announcement based on different events in order to cover as many emergency situations as possible.
“We certainly can’t predict everything under the sun,” Bailey said. “But we will do our best.”
Bailey said OPM is also creating a new page on its website to inform employees how hurricanes may impact their pay, benefits and work status.