Feds are allowed to stay home when it snows, but not when it's so hot that the pavement is literally melting. Wha?
Miles Grant of the National Wildlife Federation, writing in an unofficial capacity on his blog:
If federal government workers were allowed to telework in the most extreme heat (say, on days when the heat index is forecast to be over 105), there would be several real benefits:
Air quality. The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments is forecasting unhealthy air for the next few days thanks to a combination of heat and ozone pollution. With about 103,000 federal workers telecommuting in 2008, that's potentially a large number of tailpipes off the road.
Easing transportation strain. On extreme heat days, cars break down more often and Metro cars without air conditioning become unbearable hot cars.
More productive workers. If you have to start your day drenched in sweat, you're not going to be at your most productive — you're going to be watching the clock until you can go home and drink a gin & tonic the size of your head. Teleworkers, on the other hand, are scientifically proven to be more productive than their commuting counterparts.
Maybe one reason that the U.S. government has no policy on days like today is that they are so unusual. Now that they're more likely to be the new normal, however, perhaps they should.