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Coping with Severe Heat and Humidity

Friday, July 22, 2016
CPM 2016-07
MEMORANDUM FOR: 
CHIEF HUMAN CAPITAL OFFICERS
From: 
BETH F. COBERT, ACTING DIRECTOR
Subject: 
Coping with Severe Heat and Humidity

As we experience severe heat and humidity this summer, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is partnering with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to remind Federal agencies to be proactive in protecting the health and well‑being of our employees.  We should take all available steps to help protect our employees during potentially dangerous heat waves.  Federal agencies are encouraged to remind their employees of the need to remain adequately hydrated during severe heat.  Providing immediate and ready access to potable drinking water will help to protect the health and well-being of Federal employees during severe heat and humidity.

During days with severe heat and humidity, agencies are reminded of OPM’s workplace flexibilities that may be used to reduce health risks.  With supervisory approval and to prevent work disruptions, a telework-ready employee may telework from home on a day when air quality conditions are poor.  Additionally, 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.  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 following links provide additional information on workplace flexibilities:

Finally, OPM wants to make the Federal community aware of the resources available from various Federal health authorities and local governments that provide information and advice on the best ways to cope with severe heat and dangerous weather conditions to protect ourselves and our families.  The following links to official Federal Government information dealing with heat-related risks may be helpful:

Additional Information 

Agency headquarters-level human resources offices may contact Pay and Leave at OPM at pay-leave-policy@opm.gov.  Employees should contact their agency human resources or payroll office for further information on this memo.

cc:  Human Resources Directors