Long-distance telework, also referred to as remote work, is a flexible work arrangement in which an employee works most or all of the time from a different geographic area. This type of work arrangement is becoming increasingly more common. Remote work can help organizations recruit new employees with hard-to-find skillsets, or retain current employees who move due to spouse relocation or other life events.
Remote work arrangements raise various policy issues, including reassignment of official worksite, pay, and reimbursement for travel. Teleworkers and their managers should discuss and consider the implications of remote work arrangements so that everyone involved clearly understands the arrangement.
Official Worksite for Location-Based Pay Purposes
The official worksite for teleworkers remains the place where they would normally work, not their telework location, as long as they are regularly scheduled to be at that site at least twice each biweekly pay period. Otherwise, for permanent remote telework arrangements, the official worksite must be reassigned to the telework location. An agency must determine and designate the official worksite for an employee covered by a telework agreement on a case-by-case basis using the following criteria:
- the official worksite for an employee covered by a telework agreement is the location of the regular worksite for the employee's position (e.g., the place where the employee would normally work absent a telework agreement), as long as the employee is scheduled to report physically at least twice each bi-weekly pay period on a regular and recurring basis to that regular worksite
- in the case of a telework employee whose work location varies on a recurring basis, the employee need not report at least twice each bi-weekly pay period to the regular worksite established by the agency as long as the employee is performing work within the same geographic area (established for the purpose of a given pay entitlement) as the employee's regular worksite. For example, if a telework employee with a varying work location works at least twice each bi-weekly pay period on a regular and recurring basis in the same locality pay area in which the established official worksite is located, the employee need not report at least twice each bi-weekly pay period to that official worksite to maintain entitlement to the locality payment for that area.
- the official worksite for an employee covered by a telework agreement who is not scheduled to report at least twice each bi-weekly pay period on a regular and recurring basis to the regular worksite is the location of the telework site (e.g., home or other alternative worksite), except in certain temporary situations.
For more information, see the OPM Fact Sheet on Official Worksite for Location-Based Pay Purposes.
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Reassignment of official worksite affects pay. The employee whose official worksite is reassigned receives locality pay for the telework worksite, not the original worksite. For more information about locality pay, see the OPM Locality Pay Tables.
Reduction in Force (RIF)
Reassignment of official worksite may have implications for a RIF as the new location may be a different competitive area than the original worksite. For more information about RIFs, see OPM's Reductions in Force website.
5 U.S.C. § 5702 Per diem; employees traveling on official business has been interpreted to say that in circumstances where the official worksite is reassigned to the telework location, trips to the main worksite are "official business" and the employee is entitled to travel reimbursement.
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