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Impact of 2015 Visit of His Holiness Pope Francis on Washington, DC, Commuters

Tuesday, September 1, 2015
CPM 2015-10
Chief Human Capital Officers
Impact of 2015 Visit of His Holiness Pope Francis on Washington, DC, Commuters


President Obama will welcome his Holiness Pope Francis to the Washington, DC metropolitan area on Tuesday, September 22 through Thursday, September 24.  For more information see       


The Federal Government in the Washington, DC, area will remain “OPEN” during these 3 days.  The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is committed to maintaining productivity and continuity of operations during this event, while ensuring the safety of Federal employees and the public.  Due to the increase in traffic, road closures, significant detours, crowded trains and buses, longer wait times at stops and stations, and related commuting disruptions on these days, Federal employees who work in the Washington, DC, Metropolitan area should expect significant commuting delays and travel disruptions. 


To help alleviate traffic congestion and minimize distraction to law enforcement and security officials, agencies are urged to permit employees to use their workplace flexibility options.  Accordingly, OPM strongly encourages agencies to allow employees to telework to keep the government operating while helping to minimize traffic congestion and support law enforcement efforts during this event.  Employees who can be spared from their duties may also request to adjust their work schedule and use their alternative work schedule day off or take annual leave, leave without pay, and /or previously earned compensatory time off or earned credit hours under a flexible work schedule. 


Those employees who must commute should allow extra time going to and from work whether by private vehicle or public transportation.  Employees are encouraged to monitor local news media for announcements on street closures for vehicular and pedestrian traffic, closures or disruptions to public transportation, building closures, or any possible changes to the Washington, DC, area Federal Government operating status.  Agencies should use all the communications tools they have in place, such as hotlines and website updates, to inform employees of any relevant, agency-specific issues. Any major changes affecting Federal employees and agencies will be announced by local media.


Additional Information


Agency headquarters-level may contact OPM’s Pay and Leave office at  Employees should contact their agency human resources office for further information on the workplace flexibilities available during the Pope’s visit. 


cc:  Human Resources Directors