R & R for International Staff

There are four stages to implementing an R & R policy.  You can scroll down this page to get details for each stage, or jump to a stage by clicking a link from the list below.

    1. Decide whether to institute it
    2. Decide on the details
    3. Get it approved.
    4. Start providing the benefit


Whether to Institute R & R

HQ policy (POL-HRD-INT-0009) states that the

Purpose of Special R & R is to provide employees with “a brief respite in order to maintain peak performance and remain mentally alert.”

Special R &R is granted in high stress environments such as those faced in emergencies.  Special R & R is not intended to be used as compensation for isolation, high crime or periods of high work load.  (This is also from the policy statement)

If you feel your situation meets these criteria, you may want to recommend instituting R & R for International Staff.

You will make this recommendation to the CR and/or RD.  They will get the approval of the EVP for Overseas Operations. Even if there is a CR in a country where you are working, the RD must still approve the plan before you take it to the EVP.



Deciding on the Details of R & R

Before recommending a policy, you must determine the details and think about the consequences of the details on the program.  Make sure you understand the financial and staffing implications of your policy before you recommend it.

    1. How often will R & R occur?  Once every 6 weeks?  Every two months?  Every three months?
    2. How many work days will each staff person get for R & R?  Will that include travel time or will they get additional days for travel?
    3. Will staff be allowed to add their own vacation days onto the R & R, or will you ask them to please stick to the number of days allotted in the policy? (Note that staff cannot combine R&R with home leave)
    4. To what location will staff be sent?  (Generally the Official R & R Spot is the closest, least expensive spot in which staff will be able to relax and enjoy themselves – it does not have to be in another country, it could be another city in the same country).
    5. What will it cost?
      1. What is the average round-trip airfare for that destination?
      2. What is the per diem in that location?
      3. Will there be visa fees for staff travelling to that location?
    6. Will staff be allowed to go other places instead of the designated R & R location?  If so, how will you deal with the question of expenses?
      1. Can they just claim the entire R & R budget for each R & R trip? or
      2. Will you limit claims by line item budget? (For example, if a staff person went home for R & R and didn’t stay in a hotel, he wouldn’t be able to claim hotel expenses).     


Two Important Considerations on Paying for This:

    1. Make sure to note whether your institutional donors will accept R & R as an expense to their grants.  If they don’t, you’ll have to find the budget somewhere else.
    2. If you are charging R & R to USG grants and the travel is international, you will need written authorization for each destination to which staff travel (if it is other than the destination listed in the approved budget.)  This includes those staff whose R & R charges are allocated to the USG through a pool!



Get it Approved

You will recommend your detailed policy to the CR and/or RD and they will have it approved by the EVP of Overseas Operations. 


Start Providing the Benefit

Once you’ve gotten approval to provide specific benefits in specific amounts, do the following in order to get started:

    1. Write the policy down and publish it to make sure everyone understands exactly what the policy is, to whom it applies, how it will be carried out, and why.
    2. In the policy, make sure staff know that the benefit can and will end, and give them some idea of the conditions under which it might end.
    3. Determine and publish specific times (as reminders on your calendar?) in the future that management will review the policy and consider revision or suspension.
    4. Before ending any benefit, make sure to send a reminder to staff that it is ending at a few key benchmark dates before it is discontinued.  For example, announce that R & R will be ending in six months, and then follow with other reminders. 



Be prepared to explain your R & R decisions to staff.  This can be a sensitive topic, so be prepared with sound reasoning.