The Office of Personnel Management told government agencies they can allow their D.C.-based workers to telework next week in anticipation of the NATO Summit being held in Washington.

The NATO Summit will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, marking the first time D.C. hosts the Summit since 1999. The last time it was held in the U.S. was in 2012 in Chicago.

The District expects higher rates of vehicular traffic and commute times for those working in the D.C. area, propelling OPM to urge agencies to allow those workers the ability to telework, request leave or explore other avenues to compensate for next week.

OPM is asking agencies to be more flexible in their workplace practices, telling employees they can request annual leave, earned compensatory time off or other authorized time off.

Even though the Summit is being held July 9 to 11, agencies and their employees should still expect traffic-related issues, like road closures and increased travel times, the entirety of next week.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser released Monday a traffic plan and security map, outlining the temporary areas of impact D.C. residents and workers should look out for during the week of the Summit.

The OPM announcement follows the fight from Republican lawmakers to make telework for federal workers stricter, citing the necessity for in-person work and how agencies, like OPM, don’t know how many employees are teleworking.

Some agencies, like OPM and the Office of Management and Budget, have defended the Biden administration’s telework policy, saying they need help from Congress to gather telework data on its effectiveness.

Cristina Stassis is an editorial fellow for Defense News and Military Times, where she covers stories surrounding the defense industry, national security, military/veteran affairs and more. She is currently studying journalism and mass communication and international affairs at the George Washington University.

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