Q&As Overseas Policy
- Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) Number 1400.25 Vol 1230, 26 July 2012, subject: DoD Civilian Personnel Management System: Employment In Foreign Areas and Employee Return Rights.
- Memorandum, DAPE-CPZ, Subject: Foreign Area Employment - Overseas Tours, dated 30 August 2012.
- Q: How does the 2-year physical presence requirement apply to the 5-year limitation on foreign area employment?
A: Commands may waive the 2-year physical presence requirement for employees/candidates who are subject to the 5-year limitation and who are returning to a non-foreign area without completing two years of physical presence in a non-foreign area. DoD has advised us that commands that choose to waive the 2-year physical presence requirement must also approve an extension of the 5-year tour limitation for the employee:
- If the employee's time spent in a foreign area exceeded the 5-year limitation; or
- If the new initial tour will cause the employee to exceed 5 years. (See DoDI 1400.25, Vol. 1230, para 4.h.(1))
- Q: If an employee receives approval to waive the 2-year physical presence requirement, does this waive previous time spent in the foreign area?
A: Such an approval would waive the requirement to complete two years of physical presence in a non-foreign area; however, according to DoD, it does not waive previous time spent in the foreign area.
- Q: How do we apply the new policy to employees who have intervening periods of employment in positions that are not covered by the new policy? For example, an employee spent 6 years in a competitive service position in the foreign area. The employee then accepted a NAF position, or a position with a contractor in the same or other foreign area, and then subsequently applied for and was selected for a competitive service position in some foreign area.
A: DoDI 1400.25 Vol. 1230, para 4.,h., (1), states that "[t]he 5-year foreign area limitation is computed by counting all foreign area service in a DoD position in the competitive service that has not been interrupted by at least two years of physical presence in the United States." Employment periods in positions that are not covered by the policy will not be counted towards the 5 year limitation. However, previous employment periods in covered positions in a foreign area that have not been interrupted by 2-year physical presence in a non-foreign area, shall be counted towards the 5-year limitation. The amount of time spent in one or more covered positions without a 2-year break will determine which approval authority levels will apply to the employee/candidate.
For example, Tom spent seven years in an appropriated fund (AF) competitive service position in a foreign area. Tom remained in the foreign area and later accepted a NAF position. Tom spent two years in the NAF position in the foreign area and then opted to apply for an AF competitive service position in the foreign area. The hiring official for the AF position would like to offer it to Tom. The command must therefore approve a 2-year extension for Tom, based on the time spent in the overseas AF competitive service prior to the NAF position. The intervening time spent in the NAF position is not counted towards the 5 year limitation.
- Q: Are all employees who return to the non-foreign area required to complete the 2-year physical presence requirement even if the time spent in the foreign area was less than five years (e.g. a 3 year tour)?
A: DoD has advised us that the intent of the DoDI 1400.25 Volume 1230, is for all employees to complete two years in the non foreign area before returning to a foreign area.
- Q: How do we treat employees who are deployed from a foreign area to a forward deployment location?
A: At present, there is no authority to exempt employees who deploy from foreign areas from the 5-year limitation on foreign employment. Extensions for employees who are in a temporary duty status, and whose position of record is located in a foreign area, must be coordinated and approved by the appropriate official.
- Q: How do I apply DoDI 1400.25 Vol 1230, to employees (family members) whose sponsor has transferred from the commuting area where the employee is assigned; who have separated from the sponsor; or, who have ceased to be family members?
A: Application of the DODI in these circumstances depends on the type of appointment that the family member received. The DoDI 1400.25, Vol. 1232, describes family member employment in foreign areas. If the family member is on a Schedule A, excepted service appointment, then the family member may only remain in the foreign area for two months, unless extended in accordance with provisions described in DoD 1400.25, Vol. 1232, Enclosure 2, paragraph 5.b. Employees who are on Schedule A Family Member Appointments will not be placed on rotation agreements.
Where the family member is on a career or career-conditional appointment and where the sponsor has transferred from the commuting area of his or her foreign duty station; or where the family member has separated from the sponsor or is no longer a qualifying family member, the family member employee will cease to be exempt from the 5-year limitation on foreign employment. These employees are subject to the "previously exempt employee" procedures specified in, Memorandum, DAPE-CPZ, Subj: Foreign Area Employment - Overseas Tours, dated 30 Aug 12, para. 5.b.(4).
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