OPM tells agencies to expand telework during Metro rebuilding

WASHINGTON — Federal agencies should consider expanding telework opportunities for workers as part of their response to Metro’s upcoming year of rebuilding that is expected to only worsen the region’s notoriously bad commutes, the Office of Personnel Management said.

OPM released a two-page memo Friday afternoon expanding on its initial statement issued after Metro put out its updated schedule for the massive repairs that will reduce service or shut down portions of the rail system for weeks at a time.

The office is telling agencies to renew telework agreements with employees, review whether other workers are eligible for telework and enter into written telework agreements with interested employees.

Agencies should also review their policies for alternative schedules, the memo said.

An interagency working group will share ideas, best practices and discuss any concerns that arise all to help agencies and their workers negotiate what is expected to be an even more difficult commute.

Individual agencies are expected to decide how best to accommodate workers during the Metro rebuilding, OPM said.

OPM plans to reach out to the labor unions and other employee groups for feedback and suggestions. And the office expects to issue additional guidance to agencies to ensure they know what tools are available, the memo said.

Metro is urging regular riders to find alternative transportation, a switch that will strain other transit options and put more cars on the region’s already congested roads. Federal workers make up about 20 percent of rush hour Metrorail riders.

The construction work is set to begin June 4 and last through next March.

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