The Foreign Service Journal, March 2024

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | MARCH 2024 65 AFSA NEWS The overwhelming majority of families lived on one income for a significant portion of a Foreign Service member’s career. More than a quarter of respondents with at least one dependent said that for more than 80 percent of the Foreign Service member’s career, they have relied on one income. When asked about possible factors that would help Foreign Service members with spouses or partners, having a consistent second income was the preferred situation, with more tandem and DETO opportunities coming in second. High Costs for Childcare— Many Bearing Costs Alone. The survey showed that most respondents pay between $2,500 and $3,500 per month for childcare/ dependent care, and almost half of survey respondents with dependents told us they are solely financially responsible for these dependents. When given a choice of remedies for the high cost and low availability of childcare, most respondents chose an increase in the childcare subsidy over an increase in the availability of on-site childcare, citing the flexibility of the subsidy. Regarding telework and childcare/dependent care, 60 percent noted that a return to the office four or five days a week would have a moderate or substantial effect on their child and dependent care arrangements. Domestic Housing Allowance Preferred Incentive. When asked which incentives to serve domestically would have the most impact, more than 80 percent of respondents mentioned a housing Other (10.2%) More tandem placements or DETO opportunities (21.3%) Measures to increase portability of spouse/partner career (7.8%) Increase in number of professional opportunities (14.2%) Consistent second income (31.8%) Higher pay for spouse/partner positions (14.8%) Which possible solution would be most financially beneficial to your family? 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Increased childcare subsidies or increased availability of childcare Increased transportation/ parking subsidies A housing allowance similar to the military Improved agency assistance in finding spousal employment Telework opportunities Student loan repayment option for D.C. assignments (if your agency does not have a SLRP program) What incentives would be most useful in persuading you to bid on a Washington, D.C. job? Please rank the options in the matrix below on a scale from 1 to 6 with #1 being the most useful. 1 2 3 4 5 6 increase in some allowances, linked assignments from Washington, D.C., overtime pay, flexible work hours, and an expansion of the student loan program to include those serving in domestic positions. n allowance, akin to the military’s; some mentioned an in- crease in locality pay or an increase in parking or childcare subsidies. Respondents’ recommendations for other incentives included an