Cash in Lieu changes are another indication of lack or "customer service"

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Special Reports: August 10, 2004 - PC changes "cash in lieu" travel policy: June 28, 2004: Headlines: Travel: Policy: Peace Corps: Peace Corps changes policy for paying "cash in lieu" to Volunteers at their Completion of Service (COS) : Cash in Lieu changes are another indication of lack or "customer service"

By MohalesHoek ( - on Wednesday, September 08, 2004 - 12:13 pm: Edit Post

Recently our "cash in lieu" was almost $200.00 each less than the cheapest one way ticket from South Africa, unless one wanted to travel for almost three days, no stops permitted, through Europe. If the cash in lieu amount is the same as the one way ticket provided by Peace Corps where is the savings. In-country staff only have to order a check instead of making a plane reservation, obtaining tickets and then transporting a PCV to the airport.

Cash in lieu offered a good way for a PCV to travel home on their own.

Budget cuts should be considered in PC staff. Consider 27 PC staff in a small mountainous country in southern Africa with fewer than 100 PCVs/PCTs. How about the need for expensive Toyota Land Cruisers? Escessive holidays for staff (American and host country holidays off for staff) Make budget cuts sure but not on the little spent on the PCV.

By RPCV ( - on Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 7:20 pm: Edit Post

Your response is understandable. However, I've been on both sides of the issue as a PCV and as a staff member ... While it didn't happen in every country, many posts provided cash-in-lieu based on expensive one-way quotes from travel agencies, as opposed to purchasing the most economical fares. PCVs received far more cash than it would have cost to buy a ticket to HOR in many cases. Purchasing the tickets provides for better control over abuse.

As for cutting staff budgets: Ratios of 3 to 1 or 4 to 1 for PCVs to staff are usually the necessary level of staffing to provide the support that PC does in the field - especially with the safety, security and health requirements. I realize there are problems, however, one need only volunteer with another agency overseas to appreciate the level of support that PC provides its volunteers, including in-country and monies received upon completion of service. If you add up all the in-country support, the excellent insurance program available after service, the COL allowance (which, alone, is less than other programs) and readjustment, you won't find many - if any (perhaps UNV) - comparable programs.

As for landcruisers, keep in mind that PC is purchasing these in bulk from the location that is most economical per region. PC buys the stripped down, fleet versions which are VASTLY cheaper than even the cheapest models you see driven in America. The cost to PC isn't appreciably different from what other FWD vehicles would cost, and the toyotas are less costly to maintain (superior performance). So, if your post needs FWD, then the landcruiser is a good buy as arranged by PC(and requires approval to be exempted from the "buy America" act - which is always granted due to the superior performance and comparable cost).

As for vacations, I can only say you probably have no idea how much time staff puts into their jobs and how many hours they work beyond a "normal" week. Or the weekends spent in the office or on the road ... Or the time spent responding to both minor and major incidents whether day or night, weekday or weekend ... Cumulatively, it's can be substantially more than your typical workload. PCVs are usually not interested - nor necessarily expected to be - in everything an APCD, CD or PCMO does workwise, and we typically won't bore you with it ... None of this is to take away from the work and time of the PCV ... afterall this is why staff exists! And don't get me wrong, we love our jobs, working with volunteers and wouldn't trade the experiences for anything. However, staff jobs are not volunteer jobs, and there are many differences between them.

Lastly, budget cuts won't ever affect volunteer support. In fact, the reason PC is making cuts in some areas is because additional funds were spent on improving safety and security.

By desertdune ( - on Sunday, September 12, 2004 - 12:49 pm: Edit Post

I'd like to see PC enclose proof of the quote they are using when they issue cash-in-lieu. If the ticket includes more than one day of travel, they should add per diem. The policy does not put a limit on the time it takes to get home, however since it still requires American carriers, PCVs should be able to find cheaper flights than the cash-in-lieu price.

It is ashame that PC doesn't offer PCVs much when they close service. Yeah, there's COBRA, but nothing else. The readjustment amount is not enough for deposit and first month's rent, let alone buying a car. I'd like to see that amount increased and discount benefits similar to the military for a one year period.

By khseymour@Hotmail ( - on Thursday, September 16, 2004 - 8:12 am: Edit Post

While I beleive that Peace Corps is a importnat eneough to invest in,I al so feel that those who enter and exit the peace Corps should get more out of it than the opportunity to travel extensively. Therefore, it is more important to me as a a pat and (hopefully) prospective volunteer that peace corps volunteers see joining such an organization as a way of bettering a global society.

If it meant keeping Peace Corps in operation and/or the volunteers more secure, I would never have any problem with decreasing the post-service benefits such as the cash in Lieu policy.

Keith Seymour
Peace Corps Philippines 2001

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