Frequently Asked Questions: Dismissal and Closures

If Federal offices are closed on my regular AWS day off, am I entitled to an additional “in lieu of day off?”

If Federal offices are closed on your regular AWS day off, you are not entitled to an additional “in lieu of day off.” Additionally, employees cannot be granted excused absence on a non-workday.

If Federal offices are closed for an extended period of time, may I be recalled to work if I am designated as a Tier III non-emergency employee?

During extended Federal Government closures, NIH may deem that changing circumstances require Tier III employees to report to their worksites. NIH has established procedures for notifying and recalling Tier III employees. Tier III employees are expected to remain in contact with their supervisor at all times during dismissal or closure situations to maintain continuity readiness.

If I am a Tier III non-emergency employee who is not on a written telework agreement, will I be granted excused absence when my worksite is closed and I am prevented from working due to the emergency?

As a Tier III non-emergency employee, you will be granted excused absence when your worksite is closed and you are prevented from working due to the emergency. However, excused absence will not be granted to employees on (1) leave without pay, (2) official travel, or (3) a flexible or compressed work schedule day off.

If OPM announces an early or immediate departure, may I leave my worksite prior to the announced departure time?

Yes. Tier II and III non-emergency employees who depart prior to the early, immediate, or final departure time 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.

Will I receive additional pay or paid time off if I am required to report to my worksite or telework during my regular tour of duty on a day when Federal offices are closed (or when other employees are authorized a delayed arrival or an early departure)?

Employees who are required to report to their worksite or telework during their regular tour of duty on a day when NIH offices are closed are not entitled to receive overtime pay, credit hours, or compensatory time off for performing work during their regularly scheduled non-overtime hours.

May I use LWOP (Leave Without Pay) on a day when unscheduled leave is announced by OPM?

Three of OPM’s operating status announcements state that an employee may “use” LWOP on a day when unscheduled leave is announced. You must request LWOP and it must be approved by your supervisor. OPM’s procedures do not create an automatic entitlement to use LWOP when the option for unscheduled leave is made available.

If OPM announces an early departure and I am teleworking, should I stop teleworking at that time?

If OPM announces an early departure and you are teleworking, you should continue teleworking for the entire day. If you are impacted by the emergency, then you may request appropriate leave, earned compensatory time off, credit hours (if permitted), or may ask to reschedule your flexible work schedule day off when additional time is needed. Your supervisor may exercise his or her authority to grant excused absence to teleworkers on a case-by-case basis (e.g., for electricity/infrastructure/connectivity issues, childcare or eldercare issues).

Am I required to telework during a delayed arrival announcement from OPM?

NIH cannot require you to telework when OPM announces a delayed arrival announcement.

Telework should always be voluntary during these particular announcements and employees will be given the opportunity to perform unscheduled telework, take leave, use a combination of the two, or report to the official worksite. If you are approved to use unscheduled telework versus report to the worksite, you should work the entire day.

What are the details of the new OPM “Delayed Arrival” announcement?

OPM will announce a designated time by which employees should report to their duty location. All Tier II and III non-emergency employees who commute to their worksite on that day are expected to arrive no later than the designated time and will be granted excused absence (administrative leave) up until that designated time. If an employee arrives after the designated time, he or she will be charged leave. If unscheduled telework is announced as an option, employees who choose this option should telework for their entire tour of duty. If unscheduled leave is announced as an option, employees who choose this option will be charged leave for their entire tour of duty. Tier I emergency employees are expected to report on time for their usual tour of duty, unless directed otherwise.

If I am Tier II employee on a written telework agreement and I cannot telework during Federal offices closure, will I be granted an excused absence?

In rare situations, your supervisor may determine that circumstances justify granting excused absence if you are on a written telework agreement. This could occur, for instance, if power outages or network connection problems prevent telework. If you are required to work and fail to report for work without adequate reason, your supervisor may place you in an absence without leave (AWOL) status, and you may potentially be disciplined for AWOL. Supervisors should contact the OHR Employee & Labor Relations Office for guidance.

Note: Excused absences is granted on a case by case basis. Case by case considerations include: an employee’s inability to telework due to lack of power or connectivity; equipment failure or unavailability; or lack of available public transportation.

If I am a Tier I emergency employee and cannot report for work during an emergency situation, may I be granted excused absence?

Your supervisor may grant a reasonable amount of excused absence to a Tier I employee who is unable to report to the worksite or faces a personal hardship. For example, factors such as distance, availability of public transportation, or health/medical limitations may be considered. Tier I employees who cannot report to their designated worksite are expected to continuously update their supervisor on their status and their ability to commute to the worksite during the emergency.

Note: Excused absences is granted on a case by case basis. Case by case considerations include: an employee’s inability to telework due to lack of power or connectivity; equipment failure or unavailability; or lack of available public transportation.

If I am a non-emergency Tier II employee, am I permitted to telework for part of the day in the event of a closure, delayed arrival, or early dismissal?

Yes, Tier II employees who are scheduled to telework or who request ad hoc telework in the event of a closure, delayed arrival, or early dismissal may telework for part of the day with permission from their supervisor. Hours teleworked and hours worked at the worksite for the day should add up to your established tour of duty. Tier II employees must submit an ad hoc request in ITAS for the use of unscheduled telework before the close of the pay period.

If I am on an approved adhoc telework agreement what is the expectation for me to prepare for an unscheduled telework day?

As a Tier II employee on an approved adhoc telework agreement, you should prepare for impending closures by bringing home your laptop and any important documents you may need to telework for the entire workday. This will allow you to telework even if you lose internet connectivity. Failure to prepare for an emergency situation is not an excuse to not telework.

When NIH announces that offices are closed, does this mean that I will automatically receive excused absence (administrative leave)?

When NIH offices are closed, Tier I employees are required to arrive at their worksite for their tour of duty on time unless otherwise directed by their supervisor. Tier II employees whose written telework agreements stipulate that they will telework during office closures are required to telework or request unscheduled leave. Tier III employees prohibited from working due to the closure, delayed arrival, or early dismissal will be granted excused absense.

What are supervisors required to do to prepare employees to telework or be telework-ready?

Supervisors should clearly communicate their expectations for teleworkers during an emergency situation. Employees and supervisors should have discussions concerning possible issues that may prevent an employee from teleworking during an emergency closure or dismissal. Furthermore, supervisors are strongly encouraged to allow their employees to telework routinely to ensure there are no equipment or connectivity issues.

Under OPM’s new Federal Office Closure Announcement, will I be required to telework?

If OPM issues a “Federal Office Closed” announcement and you are covered under a written telework agreement and approved for ad hoc telework, you are required to telework on the effective day of the announcement, as required by the written telework agreement. If you are not covered under a written telework agreement, you will not be required to telework and will be granted excused absence. If you are covered under an ad hoc telework agreement and do not telework, you have the option to request unscheduled leave.

Can I be forced to sign a telework agreement in lieu of receiving an excused absence when Federal offices are closed?

No. Your supervisor cannot coerce you to sign a telework agreement to avoid providing excused absence on a day when Federal offices are closed.

Is telework voluntary?

Telework is voluntary, but a written agreement that outlines expectations is required before an employee can participate in telework.

If I am an employee working outside the Washington, DC area (e.g. Frederick, Baltimore, etc.) should I follow the Washington, DC area dismissal procedures?

No. You should consult the following for dismissal and closure procedures:


  • Baltimore, MD – Follow instructions provided by the Baltimore Federal Executive Board Inclement Weather Advisory or local Baltimore radio and television stations

  • Frederick, MD – Follow instructions provided by the Fort Detrick Inclement Weather (Public Affairs Office); call Ft. Detrick 301-619-7611 or toll free 1-800-256-7621, “press *8, 37611#”; TDD 301-619-2293; or tune in to local radio station WFRE 99.9FM

  • Research Triangle Park, North Carolina – Follow instructions provided on the NIEHS homepage; the Junctionweb site; or call the NIEHS Voice Response System at 919-541-1919.

  • Hamilton, Montana – Follow instructions provided at the Rocky Mountain Laboratories web site; contact the RML Hotline at 406-375-9675, or tune into the local radio station KLYQ 1240 AM in Hamilton.

What is the geographic area affected by the Washington, DC Area Dismissal and Closure Procedures?

This dismissal procedure applies to NIH employees with worksites located inside the Washington Capital Beltway and all NIH facilities in Montgomery County.