Federal employees permitted to telework during Metro shutdown

Greg Nash

Federal employees in Washington will be allowed to telework on Wednesday while the D.C. Metro system is closed for safety inspections.

 

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced on Tuesday that the federal agencies would open on Wednesday, but allow employees to telecommute or take unscheduled leave.

The decision comes after lawmakers representing the D.C. region warned of the difficult commuting conditions that are likely to result on Wednesday while the subway system is closed down for 29 hours.

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"This decision, while perhaps necessary, will cause significant inconvenience and will disrupt the functioning of the federal government in our nation’s capital," Rep. Gerry ConnollyGerry ConnollyDems urge treaty ratification after South China Sea ruling Lawmakers back bill allowing transit benefits to apply to Uber Memorial Bridge, ports among projects slated to get transportation grants MORE (D-Va.) said in a statement.

Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) also called for federal workers to be allowed to telework, while Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said telework or unscheduled leave should be options.

Van Hollen also said that "WMATA should offer bus service free of charge, systemwide" in light of the "massive inconvenience" to travelers.

"The shutdown of the Metrorail system for an entire day in the middle of the work week is an astonishing admission that safety has not been the priority it needs to be at WMATA," he added in a statement.
 
Metro officials announced Tuesday afternoon that it would close the rail system from midnight Tuesday night through 5 a.m. Thursday to allow for an inspection of 600 underground jumper cables.

An electrical fire in a Metro tunnel Monday caused significant delays on several lines.

Updated at 6:24 p.m. Harper Neidig contributed.