Federal Manager's Daily Report

State: Employees not authorized to telework from a foreign location without formal approval.

OPM has called attention to a State Department policy stressing that pre-approval is required for federal employees temporarily performing their U.S.-based duties overseas to telework.

A notice dated in September but only recently posted on telework.gov refers to what State calls “domestic employee teleworking overseas,” or DETO, policies, which are in addition to government-wide and individual agency telework policies.


It says that unless an exception applies, federal employees conducting official business in foreign countries are subject to State Department approval processes, which extend to working via telework.

“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 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,” it says.

It added that such arrangements are rare “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.”