Interagency Benefits Comparison Chart 2014

Comparison of USAID and Department of State Benefits

FSI Day Care Services

USAID: NO
State: YES

“I am part of a tandem, and we had to take time off from training because of child care issues. USAID officers are not allowed to use FSI daycare (or we are allowed but we are last on the waiting list which makes it virtually impossible to get a spot).”

FSI Spousal Language Training/Area Studies

USAID: Partial (if funds available)
State: YES (if space available)

“The lack of language training for spouses further minimizes the positive impacts that diplomatic families can have in serving as U.S. representatives overseas.”

“This also impacts the safety of the spouses if they lack the language training.”

“Spouses should be eligible for the full language training course, just like State spouses, when I am required to take a full language course. He is the one who has to run the household by himself if he’s not lucky enough to work. He, and other spouses, need to be able to function at a new post right out of the box.”

Oakwood Suites Program/Washington Housing During Training

USAID: NO
State: YES

“I was in language training for the first time last year (tested out when I was a NEP). When one has a family, it is extremely hard to find suitable housing within per diem at certain times of the year. It also requires one to shell out massive amounts of money on rent in advance, and folks run into early termination fees if they break a lease. State officers have options to use a direct transfer system for several properties near FSI. Having the option to use this system would be great (especially since some properties are in excellent school districts).”

Per Diem for Training Between Assignments in Washington (gradually reduced)

USAID: 100% first 30 days plus gradual decrease
State: 100% first 60 days plus gradual decrease

“Per diem decreases faster for USAID FSOs exasperating the expense of time in D.C.”

Per Diem for Eligible New Hires (outside 50 mile distance from Washington, D.C.)

USAID: NO
State: YES

“In my personal case, with a newborn and insanely high rent and day care, my husband stayed at home during the day and worked at a restaurant at night and on the weekend, just so we could afford rent in a run-down apartment (this is also a salary issue—most of us took giant pay cuts to join).”

“I've heard of a new hire sleeping in his car to get by in Washington.”

Entry Level Salary Grades

USAID: Lower Grade Setting
State: Higher Grade Setting

“These employees with families took substantial pay cuts, spent savings and took out loans to survive the hardship of living in Washington, D.C., at the provided pay level.”

Language Incentive Program

USAID: Partial
State: YES

“In one of my last posts, the pol econ officer and the embassy rule of law liaison received language training prior to their assignment, while USAID officers did not. We were left out of meetings that were held in the local language, oftentimes because of a lack of translators.”

Foreign Language, Leadership and Professional Training Classes (employees and eligible family members)

USAID: Partial
State: YES

“USAID intimacy in various government ministries highlights the lack of language training that USAID FSOs receive. Outside of a few languages, there is the perception that there is very little need for a USAID FSO to receive language training to operate effectively in a country. While it is possible to operate in a USAID mission through FSNs and to communicate on programs directly with expatriate chiefs of parties, this puts FSOs, USAID and the USG at a great disservice and underutilizes a highly effective and capable resource.”

“On EFM access to FSI courses: if you are part of State, your spouse’s CDO approves the course and State pays. If your spouse is with USAID, you do not qualify.”

“State FSOs are provided with language training for all relevant posts. USAID employees are only provided with language training at select posts. Example: If a State FSO is assigned to the Philippines, they attend FSI for Tagalog. If a USAID FSO is assigned to the Philippines, no language training is provided.”

Difficult-to-Staff Incentive Differential (DSID)

USAID: NO
State: YES

“USAID no longer participates in this program, even in countries where USAID/State FSOs co-exist; for example, State gives incentive pay to FSOs in Nigeria. I know that HR made an unprecedented number of assignment appeals for African hardship posts. Perhaps reinstating this incentive could ease the pain a bit.”

“We too have posts that are difficult to staff in comparison to our State colleagues. Should this incentive be put in place for those, let’s say, 10 percent of posts that are the most difficult to staff in USAID, I believe the agency would find it much easier to recruit and retain staff in these locations.”

Diplomatic Plates for Vehicles

USAID: Partial
State: YES

"In some countries, USAID FSOs are not given Diplomatic Vehicles License Plates despite the fact that they are also commissioned Foreign Service Officers."

Ease of Post Transfer

USAID: Post-to-Post
State: Centralized

“State orders are done centrally so their HR staffers know all the ins and outs. State also has IT systems to facilitate the whole process. It would be helpful if the gaining post, employee, and USAID/HR could access and use a centralized system. USAID should also look at providing more training on FAR, FAM and other regulations. Both in Washington and overseas, in almost every instance, the knowledge gap between State and USAID management/executive/HR officers is stark.”

Washington Positions in Regard to Promotion

USAID: Can be detrimental
State: Importance recognized and rewarded

“USAID/Washington positions give all levels of officers great insight into the workings of the interagency and USAID. In terms of promotion, USAID/Washington positions should not be considered a detriment. Good work should be rewarded, wherever it is. USAID is losing valuable input into programs and policy due to disincentives for FSOs to serve in Washington.”

EFM Employment

USAID: PSC process
State: State is able to use their equivalent of operating funds to hire EFMs

“EFM hiring and treatment of EFMs is why I am looking elsewhere for employment.”

USAA

USAID: NO
State: YES

“I hear conflicting information on whether USAID qualifies. I've been told by USAA that I do not.”