OPM urges D.C.-area feds to telework through inauguration week

US Capitol Jan 6 Editorial credit: Alex Gakos / 

The west front of the U.S. Capitol, the traditional site of presidential inauguration ceremonies, on Jan. 6, 2021. (Photo credit: Alex Gakos/

The Office of Personnel Management is urging federal employees to telework through next week, and asking agencies to use "all available workplace flexibility options" for employees who might otherwise come to work in Washington, D.C amid the potential security threats and road shutdowns in the nation's capital posed by the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

Mike Rigas, acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, encouraged agencies to use "all available workplace flexibility options" for employees who might otherwise still be coming in to work in the capital from Jan. 15 through Jan. 22. The memo from Rigas, dated Jan. 13, makes no mention of the riot and insurrection at the Capitol Building on Jan. 6.

Rigas said that having feds telework would "minimize distraction to law enforcement and security officials” and “support law enforcement efforts during these events."

Rigas also cited increased traffic congestion next week and warned commuters who work downtown to be prepared for delays and to keep an eye on the news for any changes to traffic or government operating status.

Federal employees already have Mon. Jan. 19 off from work for Martin Luther King. Jr. Day, and D.C. area feds – even those teleworking – have Jan. 20 as a paid holiday.

The move comes as Washington is being transformed into a high-security zone in advance of the Inauguration and in response to the events of Jan. 6. According to published reports, security veterans say threat concerns are unprecedented.

The U.S. Secret Service accelerated the commencement of National Security Event Operations around the inauguration by one week – launching Jan. 13 instead of Jan. 19. That puts the Secret Service in charge of coordinating security, including an estimated 20,000 National Guard troops stationed in Washington, D.C. The move was made by Chad Wolf, who has since retired as the acting secretary of homeland security, at the urging of the director of the U.S. Secret Service.

About the Author

Natalie Alms is a staff writer at FCW covering the federal workforce. She is a recent graduate of Wake Forest University and has written for the Salisbury (N.C.) Post. Connect with Natalie on Twitter at @AlmsNatalie.


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