October 4, 1999
MEMORANDUM FOR HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
Each year, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) issues "emergency dismissal or closure procedures" for agencies and employees in the Washington, DC, area. These procedures, which are designed to apply not just in adverse weather conditions, but in all kinds of emergency situations, were developed over a period of many years in consultation with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. This year, in consultation with the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, OPM has revised the emergency dismissal or closure procedures specifically to apply in the event of possible work disruptions associated with unanticipated Year 2000 (Y2K) computer conversion problems in January 2000. As in the past, the attached procedures are based on the principle that the business of the Federal Government is vital to serving the public everywhere.
The attached procedures will apply in any situation that prevents significant numbers of employees in the Washington, DC, area from reporting for work on time or which requires agencies to close all or part of their activities, including adverse weather conditions (snow emergencies, severe icing conditions, floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes), air pollution, disruption of power and/or water, interruption of public transportation, possible Y2K work disruptions, and other emergency situations. Similar emergency dismissal or closure procedures have been established by Federal Executive Boards (FEBs) and Federal Executive Associations (FEAs) in other major metropolitan areas. As explained in greater detail below, OPM and the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion strongly urge FEBs, FEAs, and all Federal agencies to revise any existing emergency dismissal or closure procedures that may be applicable to agencies and employees located outside the Washington, DC, area-or to establish new procedures, if appropriate-consistent with the procedures that are applicable in the Washington, DC, area.
Possible Y2K Work Disruptions
We believe the Federal Government will be ready for the next millennium, and we are confident that Federal agencies have taken the necessary steps to avoid major disruptions in Federal computer systems. However, we recognize that disruptions resulting from non-Federal system problems are possible, particularly in the case of Federal installations located in isolated areas or outside the United States.
Major unanticipated Y2K work disruptions in the Washington, DC, area. In the event of major unanticipated Y2K work disruptions affecting large numbers of Federal employees in the Washington, DC, area, OPM will use the attached emergency dismissal or closure procedures as the basis for announcing an area-wide policy on emergency dismissal or closure. We ask Federal agencies located in the Washington, DC, area to comply with the attached procedures and any announcements made by OPM in order to ensure consistent treatment of employees in similar circumstances. Independent action by agencies should be avoided in the event of area-wide work disruptions because any changes in the working hours of Federal employees in this area must be coordinated carefully with municipal and regional officials in order to minimize disruption of the highway and mass transit systems.
Isolated Y2K work disruptions in the Washington, DC, area. In the event of isolated Y2K work disruptions affecting an individual agency or component of an agency, or a particular office building or small geographic area within the Washington, DC, area, the head of each agency (or an appropriate designee) is authorized to use his or her discretionary authority to excuse from duty employees not designated as "emergency employees" for Y2K purposes. The procedures for communicating such decisions to affected employees must be established well in advance of January 1, 2000.
Y2K work disruptions outside the Washington, DC, area. Emergency dismissal or closure procedures similar to those for the Washington, DC, area have been established by FEBs or FEAs in other major metropolitan areas within the United States and should be followed in the event of major area-wide interruptions of essential services in those areas. We ask all FEBs and FEAs to revise any already existing procedures or to establish new procedures consistent with the attached procedures specifically to address possible Y2K work disruptions. Outside major U.S. metropolitan areas, individual Federal agencies also should establish emergency dismissal or closure procedures and communicate those procedures to affected employees well in advance of January 1, 2000. The attached procedures may serve as a model for this purpose.
Y2K work disruptions outside the United States. The Department of State has developed emergency dismissal or closure procedures for civilian Federal employees stationed outside the United States. The Chief of Mission is authorized to excuse civilian employees from duty or to close Federal installations to civilian employees in emergency situations. Such determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis by the Chief of Mission.
Designating "Emergency Employees"
Agencies are responsible for identifying "emergency employees" and notifying them in writing that they are designated as "emergency employees." The term "emergency employee" is used to designate those employees who must report for work in emergency situations. It is vitally important that agencies designate which employees are "emergency employees" for the purpose of possible Y2K work disruptions, and which employees are "emergency employees" for the purpose of adverse weather conditions and other emergency situations. Employees designated as "emergency employees" for the purpose of possible Y2K work disruptions typically will include those on the agency's "business recovery team" or "day 1 team."
OPM will use the attached emergency dismissal or closure procedures for any disruptions caused by adverse weather conditions, Y2K disruptions, or other emergency situations in the Washington, DC, area. Announcements of the current weather status and/or the status of Government operations in the event of Y2K disruptions or other emergencies will be available on OPM's home page. Recorded messages on operating status also will be provided by OPM's Office of Communications on (202) 606-1900.
OPM has established backup systems for communicating with agency personnel directors if normal fax, phone, and email systems are disrupted in the Washington, DC, area. A memorandum providing instructions for using the backup systems will be provided to agencies later this year.
For More Information
A copy of the newly revised "Emergency Dismissal or Closure Procedures for the Washington, DC, Area" may be downloaded from OPM's web site at http://www.opm/oca/compmemo/html/dismissal.htm.
For further information about the attached emergency dismissal or closure procedures, please contact OPM's Office of Compensation Administration on (202) 606-2858 or by FAX on (202) 606-0824 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information about the closing of Federal activities in the Washington, DC, area, please contact Jon-Christopher Bua, Director, Office of Communications, at (202) 606-2402. Additional information about other OPM Y2K initiatives can be found on OPM's web site at http://opm.gov/y2k.
Page created 4 October 1999