Inclement weather, telework, and excused absence

It’s that time of the year again when the weather is either beautiful or terrifying. I want to address those times when the weather does not cooperate with your duties.

The 2014 HHS-NTEU Consolidated Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), Article 20, Section 4, states what a bargaining unit employee (BUE) must do to request administrative leave / excused absence when unable to make it to their duty station due to inclement weather and other emergency conditions. You must provide acceptable written justification to your supervisor. I recommend you do this via email with delivery and read confirmation requested and include any available traffic, weather, and news reports available to you as supporting documentation. You may also include photographs to document the conditions on the road. Please be respectful, factual, and detailed as to your attempts to drive to your duty station.

If you have an approved telework agreement, please also refer to Article 26, Section 6 A, of the CBA, which addresses teleworking BUEs experiencing power and internet access outages during inclement weather and other emergency conditions at their alternate duty stations. In such instances, you should call your supervisor to report and explain your inability to telework. As soon as you have internet access, you should follow up via email with delivery and read confirmation requested and include any available electrical or internet service provider outage reports available to you. Photos may also serve as evidence.

If management denies your written request and orders you to take another form of leave, you must obey the order first, then contact a Union representative immediately. Remember that Article 45 of the CBA only allows for 30 calendar days from learning of your supervisor’s decision to file a grievance. This timeframe includes any time spent consulting with a Union representative and preparing a grievance.

One of the remedies in your potential grievance would be for management to restore your leave and grant you administrative leave instead.

Please let me or another Union representative know if you have any questions or concerns on this matter.