The Department of State’s Authority Regarding Domestic Employees Teleworking Overseas
On June 7, 2016, the Department of State (DOS) distributed an Executive Secretary Memorandum, entitled ‘Requirements for Executive Branch Employees Teleworking in Foreign Locations,’ also known as a Domestic Employee Teleworking Overseas (DETO) arrangement. The Memorandum included policy and DOS guidance on DETO Agreement provisions that set forth minimum DETO requirements, which must be included in an agency’s DETO policy. It applies to all Federal Executive Branch agencies considering DETO Agreements for their agency employees. The DOS policy requirements are in addition to the requirements addressed in the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010, supporting U.S. Office of Personnel Management policy and respective agency telework policies.
Specifically, unless exempted by Presidential directive or legislation, Executive Branch Federal employees conducting official U.S. Government business in foreign countries are subject to Department of State’s Chief of Mission (COM) authority and their presence at an overseas post must be pre-approved via the National Security Decision Directive 38 (NSDD38), if over one year, or the Country Clearance process, if less than one year. Domestic Employees Teleworking Overseas fall under this category.
DETOs are generally defined as overseas remote work arrangements wherein the Federal Executive Branch employee temporarily performs the work requirements and duties of his/her domestic Civil Service or Foreign Service (FS) position from an approved overseas location via a DETO Agreement. Employees have no authorization to telework from a foreign location without an approved DETO Agreement.
DETO arrangements are extremely rare in the Federal Government due to increased security concerns and costs to employing agencies. Federal agencies considering a DETO arrangement should do so on a case-by-case basis, and only if the agency has an established DETO policy in place for enforcement and administration.
Individual Federal employees should direct inquiries to their agency telework coordinator and/or Human Resources Office to obtain employing agency DETO Policy guidance.
For additional information regarding DETO guidance from the U.S. Department of State, Executive Branch Federal agency representatives should send an email to DETOPolicy@State.gov.