The Office of Personnel Management is encouraging federal managers to consider giving their employees work flexibility during two weeks of extensive track work scheduled for the D.C. Metro system.
“The impact on agencies and employees in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area will vary. As a result, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management would like to take this opportunity to remind agencies to review the policies and procedures on workplace flexibilities that they established during the 2016 [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority] SafeTrack project and update them as necessary,” OPM director Jeff Pon wrote in an August 10 memo.
“OPM strongly encourages agencies to allow affected employees to utilize various workplace flexibilities throughout the upcoming improvement project. Ultimately, individual agencies are responsible for ensuring continuity of operations and are in the best position to determine which flexibilities are appropriate for their workforce.”
The track work, which impacts commuters on the orange, blue and silver lines, will last from Aug. 11 to Aug. 26 and reduce the number of trains on those lines to every 20 minutes, with single tracking between four stops in the middle of the city.
According to the WMATA service advisory, the track work will likely result in “extensive delays and crowding in the system,” and riders on those lines were encouraged to use alternate transportation.
This is not the first time OPM has had to address transportation delays caused by Metro track work, as it issued policies and procedures when the WMATA Safe Track program was instituted in 2016. OPM encouraged agencies to reference those procedures during the mid-August Capital Improvement Project.
According to that guidance, alternate work schedules can include:
- Flexitour – employees select fixed arrival and departure times during the disruption period that they must adhere to every day.
- Gliding – employees can vary their departure and arrival times each day, so long as they work the full number or required hours.
- Variable day – employees can vary the length of each work day so long as they meet the 40 hour full time requirement by the end of the week.
- Variable week – employees can vary the number of hours they work in a given week, so long as their biweekly total amounts to the 80 hours required for full time work.
- Maxiflex – employees can vary the number of hours and days they work each week, earning credits for hours outside basic work requirements, so long as they meet the biweekly requirement.
All work flexibilities are subject to agency approval and union bargaining requirements, according to the OPM guidance.
Via twitter, OPM also told federal employees to consult with their agencies to determine available workplace flexibilities.
According to WMATA, 35 Metro stations serve federal facilities, and 39 percent of Metrorail’s peak period commuters are federal employees.