What feds need to know after Hurricane Irene

Sunday - 8/28/2011, 2:17am EDT

By Julia Ziegler
Federal News Radio

Hurricane Irene is expected to batter the East Coast through Sunday, with the potential for massive flooding. High winds could also cause severe damage to buildings in the storm's path.

The General Services Administration is providing a list of closed federal buildings on its website. As of Sunday afternoon, multiple buildings in the D.C. region had been listed. However, GSA reminds federal employees they should always check with their individual agencies for the most up-to-date building closures.

The operating status of the federal government will be provided on the Office of Personnel Management's website. OPM says it will update the D.C. area's operating status for Monday on Sunday night.

Federal News Radio will also be updating its website with the latest operating status and building closure information as it becomes available. Any closure information will also be sent out via our email alerts. If you haven't already, sign up now.

OPM Director John Berry sent out a memo to federal employees Friday reminding them to prepare and take caution during the storm.

He also pointed feds to a memo sent out to chief human capital officers in June urging them to prepare for the hurricane season.

The memo details everything from pay and leave benefits available to federal employees affected by disasters, to telework, to emergency hiring and other hiring flexibilities available during emergencies.

OPM reminded agencies that benefits for federal employees remain unchanged during emergencies - meaning all health, life or even long-term care insurance remain the same and in effect.

As for telework, OPM highlighted that "an agency may require teleworkers to continue working at their alternative worksites, if they are able to do so, on their telework day or on any of their regularly scheduled workdays during emergency situations when the agency is closed," as long as it's part of their telework agreements. Agencies do not have to designate teleworkers as emergency employees in order to require them to work during a closure, the memo said.

In addition to emergency hiring, the memo reminded agencies they can use their direct-hire authority, reemploy annuitants, enact temporary appointments and Senior Executive Service limited appointments, as well as hire contractors to get work done in the event of a disaster.

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