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Beth Cobert: OPM, HHS Issue DC Heat Wave Directive to Federal Agencies

transmission tower against the sun during sunsetThe Office of Personnel Management and Department of Health and Human Services have directed federal agencies to prioritize the physical health and well-being of employees against Washington’s severe heat and humidity in the summer.

Beth Cobert, OPM acting director, said in a notice posted Friday federal agencies are encouraged to advise employees to remain hydrated and provide access to drinking water for all federal workers.

The notice added telework-ready employees may use OPM’s workplace flexibility policies to ask for supervisory approval to work from home when air quality conditions are poor.

“If permitted by agency policy, an employee working a flexible work schedule may choose to adjust arrival and departure times to avoid commuting during the hottest periods of the day,” Cobert said.

“Employees may also request annual leave, earned compensatory time off, or credit hours on a day when severe heat and humidity are threatening to the employee’s health and welfare.”

The notice also included links on federal government websites that provide information on how to deal with heat-related risks.

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