UNCLASSIFIED (U)

3 FAM 3720

REST AND RECUPERATION (R&R) TRAVEL

(CT:PER-925;   09-24-2018)
(Office of Origin:  HR/ER/WLD)

3 FAM 3721  INTRODUCTION

3 FAM 3721.1  Objective

(CT:PER-925;   09-24-2018)
(Uniform State/USAID/Commerce/Agriculture/USAGM)
(Applies to Foreign Service Employees only)

The objective is to provide guidance regarding the Rest and Recuperation travel program.  Implementation of these regulations must be consistent with Section 901(6) of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (as amended), Department of State travel regulations, and the guidelines and procedures published in 3 FAH-1 H-3720.

3 FAM 3721.2  Scope and Applicability

(CT:PER-925;   09-24-2018)
(Uniform State/USAID/Commerce/Agriculture/USAGM)
(Applies to Foreign Service Employees only)

This subchapter provides information on R&R travel of U.S. citizen employees of the Foreign Service and their eligible family members from their assigned post, or in limited and specified circumstances, the post at which they are serving extended TDY, to the United States or its territories or other locations abroad which have different social, climatic, or other environmental conditions than their assigned post or post at which they are serving extended TDY.

3 FAM 3721.3  Authorities

(CT:PER-925;   09-24-2018)
(Uniform State/USAID/Commerce/Agriculture/USAGM)
(Applies to Foreign Service Employees only)

Authorities for this subchapter are:

(1)  Section 901(6) of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 (as amended) (22 U.S.C. 4081(6));

(2)  Subchapter 3 FAH-1 H-3720; and

(3)  Subchapter 14 FAM 531.5.

3 FAM 3721.4  Eligibility

(CT:PER-925;   09-24-2018)
(Uniform State/USAID/Commerce/Agriculture/USAGM)
(Applies to Foreign Service Employees only)

a. U.S. citizen Foreign Service employees are eligible for R&R if:

(1)  They are assigned to a designated R&R post abroad (including employees of participating agencies assigned to USAID missions) and they serve at such a post for a period of at least 2 years unbroken by home leave (service at two consecutive R&R posts can be combined for R&R purposes for the needs of the Service, in accordance with 3 FAH-1 H-3723); or

(2)  They are assigned to, or in specific authorized circumstances, serving extended TDY, at a post that has been approved by the Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources (M/DGHR) for special R&R under 3 FAM 3727.1.

b. Locally engaged U.S. citizen employees are not independently eligible for R&R travel.  They may qualify as an eligible family member of an employee who is authorized for such travel.  In such cases, the travel costs are charged to the agency that employs the eligible employee.

c.  Family members (see 14 FAM 511.3) resident at post are eligible for R&R.  Unless otherwise approved by post’s management officer in exceptional circumstances (e.g., the marriage of an employee during the tour of duty), eligible family members must reside at post for the entire tour to qualify for the travel benefit.  In exercising this discretion, post management officers must operate under the presumption that R&R will not be authorized if the beneficiaries apply for voluntary SMA immediately preceding or following R&R travel.  Eligible family members may travel separately from the employee and are not required to travel to the same destination.

d. Children on educational travel or education allowance under age 21 are eligible for R&R if they:

(1)  Are away from post on authorized educational travel or education allowance; and

(2)  Normally reside with the employee.

A child does not normally reside with the family if not resident at post during school vacation or holiday periods.  R&R travel should not normally be used in lieu of or to supplement education allowance or educational travel specifically for the purpose of transporting the child to or from educational facilities.  However, post has the authority to approve R&R on a case-by-case basis if such travel is for the purpose of affording the child relief from social, climatic, or other environmental conditions that are present at the post at which the child is a dependent of an eligible employee.

e. When an employee assigned to one R&R post is sent to another post on an extended TDY, family members who remain at the original post and who meet all the criteria (e.g., complete the tour of duty) may take R&R approved for the original post at U.S. Government expense.

f.  Although R&R generally should begin and end at the post of assignment (see 3 FAH-1 H-3720), the post management officer may approve travel originating or ending at alternate points if R&R travel can be combined with educational travel or some other form of official travel, and the combined travel is financially advantageous to the U.S. Government (see 3 FAH-1 H-3720).

3 FAM 3722  REQUIRED TOUR OF DUTY

(CT:PER-925;   09-24-2018)
(Uniform State/USAID/Commerce/Agriculture/USAGM)
(Applies to Foreign Service Employees only)

a. Except where a finding has been made pursuant to 3 FAM 3722, paragraph b or c, or 3 FAM 3727, R&R is limited to:

(1)  One round trip during any continuous 2-year period of service unbroken by home leave; and

(2)  Two round trips during any continuous 3-year period of service unbroken by home leave.

b. The Director General for the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources (M/DGHR) may make a determination that for the needs of the Service, an employee(s) may be permitted to take both home leave and R&R within the same tour of duty.  (In the case of a non-State Department employee with an individual request, a designated official from that employee’s agency will make such a determination.)

c.  Employees who fail to complete their full tour of duty will be required to repay all R&R travel expenses incurred during their tour, including those incurred by their eligible family members.  Repayment is not required if the employee was not aware that the tour of duty would not be completed when the R&R was taken, and:

(1)  The Department or other employing agency curtails the employee’s tour at the option and benefit of the employing agency (including curtailments to accommodate training or adjustments in reporting dates between gaining and losing post); or

(2)  The Department or other employing agency transfers the employee for compassionate reasons; or

(3)  The Department separates the employee involuntarily; or

(4)  The employee’s tour is shortened for the convenience of the employee and the tour-of-duty requirement is excused by HR/CDA (or the employing agency’s appropriate approving official) for compassionate reasons.

d. All requests for approval of a shortened tour must state:

(1)  Dates of R&R travel if taken by the employee and/or family members; and

(2)  The basis for excusing the tour-of-duty requirement, if appropriate.

3 FAM 3723  DUAL ENTITLEMENTS

(CT:PER-925;   09-24-2018)
(Uniform State/USAID/Commerce/Agriculture/USAGM)
(Applies to Foreign Service Employees only)

Employees or eligible family members may not receive dual entitlements.  Therefore, the spouse or domestic partner as defined in 3 FAM 1610 of an employee of a foreign affairs agency who is serving at post as a member of the uniformed services or as an employee of the same or another U.S. Government agency is eligible for R&R travel as the employee’s eligible family member provided:

(1)  The other agency or uniformed service does not accord comparable benefits; and

(2)  The spouse or domestic partner as defined in 3 FAM 1610 is included on the employee’s Form OF-126, Foreign Service Residence and Dependency Report.

3 FAM 3724  CHARGE TO LEAVE

(CT:PER-925;   09-24-2018)
(Uniform State/USAID/Commerce/Agriculture/USAGM)
(Applies to Foreign Service Employees only)

The employee’s absence from post for R&R and necessary travel time is charged to annual leave, sick leave if applicable, earned compensatory time, or leave without pay.  However, an employee is not entitled to any local holidays which occur after departure from post on R&R travel orders.  Transit time (administrative leave) may be granted by the post if travel cannot be scheduled on non-workdays for reasons other than the employee’s personal convenience and due to circumstances beyond the employee’s control.  Such circumstances might include lack of air transportation from and/or to post on non-workdays, irregular connections from and/or to post, work requirements that prevent the employee from leaving on a non-workday, or for compassionate reasons.  Normally, transit time will be limited to 1 day for each leg of R&R, but should not exceed 2 days.  If the employee makes a stopover for his or her convenience, transit time may only be granted to the stopover point.

3 FAM 3725  DESIGNATED POSTS AND RELIEF AREAS

3 FAM 3725.1  Designation Procedures

(CT:PER-925;   09-24-2018)
(Uniform State/USAID/Commerce/Agriculture/USAGM)
(Applies to Foreign Service Employees only)

The procedures for designating posts and relief areas are found in 3 FAH-1 H-3720.

3 FAM 3725.2  Designated Posts and Primary Relief Points

(CT:PER-925;   09-24-2018)
(Uniform State/USAID/Commerce/Agriculture/USAGM)
(Applies to Foreign Service Employees only)

3 FAH-1 Exhibits H-3722(1) - (5) contain a list of the posts and the primary relief points for R&R travel.  This list changes from time to time to reflect changing circumstances.  (If a post is designated for both R&R travel and family visitation travel, see 3 FAM 3735.4.)

3 FAM 3725.3  Travel to Designated Rest and Recuperation Point

3 FAM 3725.3-1  Travel to Relief Point Abroad

(CT:PER-925;   09-24-2018)
(Uniform State/USAID/Commerce/Agriculture/USAGM)
(Applies to Foreign Service Employees only)

a. Employees and eligible family members are authorized to travel to the designated relief point for posts listed in 3 FAH-1 H-3720.  Funding for travel to an alternate point or points abroad is limited to actual travel costs incurred and cannot exceed the round-trip travel costs from the post to the designated relief point.  (See 3 FAM Exhibit 3725.3-1, Cost-Constructive Travel.)  Under no circumstances is an employee entitled to a cash payment in lieu of costs of travel to the designated relief point or alternate relief points.

b. Voluntary Stopovers.  Employees may be permitted to make a voluntary stopover on the most direct, cost-effective route to the R&R point only if there is no additional cost to the U.S. Government.  An employee may not obtain a more expensive airfare for the purpose of adding a voluntary stopover.  Refer to 14 FAM 531.5 for additional information.

(1) Voluntary stopovers are limited to 72 hours.  Employees who choose voluntary stopovers may not be granted transit time (i.e., administrative leave) once they arrive at the voluntary stopover point and must charge their absence to annual leave, sick leave, if applicable, earned compensatory time, or leave without pay.  Transit time may be approved only for travel to the final designated relief point via the most direct route uninterrupted by voluntary stopovers.

(2) Employees who choose to make voluntary stopovers will not be eligible for additional costs that they may incur at the stopover point, even if those additional costs are due to circumstances beyond their control (e.g., local security reasons, cancelled flights or labor disputes).

c.  Involuntary Stopovers.  Involuntary stopovers refer to layovers that are caused by circumstances beyond the traveler’s control (e.g., local security reasons, cancelled flights or labor disputes).  If an involuntary stopover causes a traveler to incur additional travel expenses, those expenses may be reimbursed at the discretion of post’s financial management officer (FMO) or travel officer.

d. Except as provided in 3 FAM 3725.3-2, only the designated R&R relief point abroad can be indicated on the travel authorization and be used as the basis for cost-constructive travel.  An alternate R&R relief point abroad cannot be indicated on the travel authorization.

e. If a traveler chooses an alternate R&R destination abroad, U.S. Government-funded round-trip transportation is determined on a cost-constructive basis using the contract airfare (where available) to post’s designated R&R relief point abroad.  If an employee and eligible family members select a restricted airfare, any penalties or limitations associated with the restricted airfare are the traveler’s responsibility.

3 FAM 3725.3-2  Optional Travel to the United States or Its Territories

(CT:PER-925;   09-24-2018)
(Uniform State/USAID/Commerce/Agriculture/USAGM)
(Applies to Foreign Service Employees only)

a. Employees and eligible family members have the option of traveling to one city anywhere within the United States (the 50 States and the District of Columbia) or one city in one of its territories including American Samoa, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, for R&R in lieu of traveling to the post’s designated relief point abroad.  If this option is selected, the travelers may travel to their selected city in the United States or selected city in one of its territories by utilizing round-trip contract fares when available, or the most beneficial economy airfare as determined by post.  The employee may use the selected city in the U.S. or U.S. territory as the basis for cost-constructive travel to other additional cities in the United States or U.S. territories, but the selected city is the only destination to be put on the travel authorization.  The employee and eligible family members are required to spend at least one night in the selected city in the United States or U.S. territory, exclusive of leave time spent in travel status (based on the most direct cost-effective route from post to the selected city in the United States or U.S. territory), but it may occur at any time during the R&R travel.  Employees and eligible family members who fail to fulfill this requirement may be liable for repayment of the difference in cost of travel between the designated relief point abroad and the selected city in the United States or U.S. territory.

b. Provisions for Voluntary and Involuntary Stopovers at a point abroad, as outlined 3 FAM 3725.3-1 b and c above, also apply to R&R travel to relief points in the U.S. or U.S. territories.

c.  If an employee and eligible family members combine travel to the United States or U.S. territory with travel abroad, the U.S. Government-funded round-trip transportation will be determined on a cost-constructive basis using the most direct and cost-effective airfare as determined by the post, to the post’s designated R&R relief point abroad.  Only the designated relief point abroad can be indicated on the travel authorization.

d. If an employee and eligible family members select a restricted airfare, any penalties or limitations associated with the restricted airfare are the traveler's responsibility.

3 FAM 3725.3-3  Change of Post's Rest and Recuperation Designation

(CT:PER-925;   09-24-2018)
(Uniform State/USAID/Commerce/Agriculture/USAGM)
(Applies to Foreign Service Employees only)

If a post’s designation is changed from an R&R post to a non-R&R post, employees who began their tour of duty at that post prior to the change and who meet the basic eligibility requirements in 3 FAM 3721.4 will continue their eligibility for R&R travel for the first R&R trip for which they qualify after the change.

3 FAM 3725.3-4  Posts that Gain a Rest and Recuperation Trip

(CT:PER-925;   09-24-2018)
(Uniform State/USAID/Commerce/Agriculture/USAGM)
(Applies to Foreign Service Employees only)

For non-R&R posts that gain a regular R&R trip, the following rules apply:

(1)  Employees with more than 6 months remaining in their tours are eligible for one R&R, provided their tour of duty is at least 2 years at post; and

(2)  Employees with more than 18 months remaining in their tour of duty are eligible for two R&Rs, provided their tour of duty is 3 years.

3 FAM 3726  SCHEDULING REST AND RECUPERATION TRAVEL

(CT:PER-925;   09-24-2018)

(Uniform State/USAID/Commerce/Agriculture/USAGM)
(Applies to Foreign Service Employees only)

Posts generally should not grant travel within 6 months of the beginning or end of the employee’s tour of duty, or within 6 months of a previously authorized R&R or family visitation trip.

3 FAM 3727  SPECIAL REST AND RECUPERATION

3 FAM 3727.1  Special Rest and Recuperation (SR&R)

(CT:PER-925;   09-24-2018)
(Uniform State/USAID/Commerce/Agriculture/USAGM)
(Applies to Foreign Service Employees only)

a. In extraordinary circumstances, the Under Secretary for Management (M), acting on behalf of the Secretary, may authorize additional R&R trips for posts already designated for R&R trips as specified in 3 FAM 3725.2, or for a post that does not normally qualify for an R&R but experiences extraordinary circumstances that warrant a one-time R&R.  This discretionary R&R travel authorized by M is known as “Special R&R” travel (SR&R).

(1)  With the exception of Mexico border posts, any post that is in unaccompanied status or has a combined Post Differential and Danger Pay rate of 35 percent or higher will automatically qualify for one SR&R. 

(2)  If a post does not automatically qualify for one SR&R or the post automatically qualifies for one SR&R but would like to request additional SR&Rs that post must seek authorization by having the appropriate regional bureau executive director send a memorandum to the Director of the Office of Allowances (A/OPR/ALS).  The memorandum must include a clear justification (in 250 words or less) for any requested SR&R including specific “extraordinary conditions of hardship” which exist at post.   The Director of A/OPR/ALS will convene a nine-member committee—which shall include one representative from each regional bureau, HR, M/PRI, and Allowances—to review all SR&R requests and send recommendations to M for final approval.  In order to recommend an SR&R to M, seven of the nine committee members must vote in favor of the SR&R.  A/OPR/ALS will notify all requesting offices of M’s determination and inform HR of updates to Special R&R information for the annual bidding tool.  One-year Priority Staffing Posts (PSP) and posts with Service Recognition Packages (SRP) fall outside the purview of this process.

(3)  Authorization for Special R&R expires annually.  Requests for new, multiple, or continuation of Special R&R travel must be resubmitted to regional bureaus by memorandum no later than May 15 each year. 

(4)  The SR&R qualification process was changed in August 2016.  For posts that lost one or more SR&Rs under the new process, personnel who were serving at or paneled to those posts during the 2016-2017 winter cycle were “grandfathered” in under the old system for the length of their tour.  This means that those individuals were awarded the SR&Rs that they would have been given under the system immediately prior to the change in August 2016.

b. The Under Secretary for Management may designate in writing a post for a SR&R where the tour of duty is not traditional.  A Special R&R may be warranted because of extreme danger, unaccompanied post status, severely substandard living conditions, extreme isolation, or other unusual conditions.  Because of their immediate proximity to the United States, Mexico border posts are not eligible for SR&R (or R&R).

c.  Clearances for initiating and terminating a SR&R must be obtained by the requesting regional bureau from other foreign affairs agencies when such agencies have personnel at post.  (For USAID, contact the regional bureau Administrative Management Staff, USAGM (M/OHR), USDA (FAS/APHIS), and USDOC (OFSHC).)

d. For a post that does not normally qualify for an R&R but experiences extraordinary circumstances that warrant a one-time special R&R, the regional bureau executive director may request from M approval for a one-time R&R for employees serving at post during that time period.

3 FAM 3727.2  Tour of Duty Requirements for SR&Rs

(CT:PER-925;   09-24-2018)
(Uniform State/USAID/Commerce/Agriculture/USAGM)
(Applies to Foreign Service Employees only)

a. Tour of duty requirements for SR&Rs differ from regular R&Rs.  Eligibility for one or more SR&Rs requires a minimum of 12 months of service abroad, regardless of the assigned tour of duty.  For example:  Post X has a tour of duty of 2 years with one regular R&R and one Special R&R.  Employees and eligible family members who serve the full 24-month tour of duty are eligible for both the regular and the Special R&R.  Employees and eligible family members who serve less than 24 months of their assigned tour of duty, but more than 12 months at post, are eligible for the Special R&R only.  Employees and eligible family members who serve less than 12 months at a post with a 24-month tour of duty are not eligible for either the regular R&R or the Special R&R.

b. For:

Tour of duty of less than 2 years:

An employee must be able to complete a minimum of 12 months at post to be eligible for the Special R&R.  Generally, a post with a tour of duty of less than 2 years will not be authorized more than one Special R&R.

Tour of duty of 2 years:

Employees at posts with 2-year tours of duty (including a split 4-year tour of duty) must be able to complete a minimum of 12 months at post to be eligible for a Special R&R.  Generally, no more than two R&R trips (Special and/or regular) will be authorized for posts with a tour of duty of 2 years.

Tour of duty of 3 years:

Employees, whose assignments are extended to 3 years at posts that have been granted both Special and regular R&Rs, may receive an additional R&R trip for the extra year of service.  Generally, no more than three R&R (Special and regular) trips will be authorized for posts with a tour of duty of 3 years.

Family visitation travel and Special rest and recuperation:

Special R&Rs are authorized for employees serving at unaccompanied posts from which family visitation travel may be authorized.  However, there are separate eligibility requirements for family visitation travel.  Refer to 3 FAM 3730 for guidance on R&R in connection with Family Visitation Travel.

b. The Department policy for time spent at post for Special R&Rs differs further in the case of employees serving at certain posts specifically designated by the Director General for home leave after completion of 12 months of continuous service abroad.  Employees in such a category should consult applicable service recognition packages and post policies to determine eligibility for R&R travel.

c.  The Bureau of Human Resources, Office of Employee Relations, Work Life Division, is available for policy guidance.

3 FAM 3727.3  Posts that Gain a Special R&R

(CT:PER-925;   09-24-2018)
(Uniform State/USAID/Commerce/Agriculture/USAGM)
(Applies to Foreign Service Employees only)

When a post gains one or more SR&Rs, employees and EFMs may be eligible for those additional SR&Rs if they have more than six months remaining in their tours and they otherwise meet the tour of duty requirements set forth in 3 FAM 3727.2.

3 FAM 3727.4  Posts that Lose a Special R&R

(CT:PER-925;   09-24-2018)
(Uniform State/USAID/Commerce/Agriculture/USAGM)
(Applies to Foreign Service Employees only)

a. The SR&R committee reviews authorizations on an annual basis.  When extraordinary circumstances that warranted a SR&R are no longer present at a post, the Special R&R committee will recommend that M terminate the SR&R benefit.  Those changes will be shared with the losing posts in a cable that provides the effective date of the loss. 

b. If a post has one or more SR&Rs and subsequently loses some or all of its SR&R trips, then employees and EFMs who were serving at post when the reduction in SR&Rs became effective will retain the SR&R benefits that they would have received prior to the SR&R reduction.  For example, if an employee was serving at a post whose 2 SR&Rs were subsequently reduced to 1 SR&R, that employee would still retain the 2 SR&R benefit.

c.  Employees and EFMs arriving at posts on or after the effective date of a termination of an SR&R travel benefit may not be authorized any SR&R trips that were terminated on or before their date of arrival.

3 FAM 3728 AND 3729  UNASSIGNED


3 FAM Exhibit 3725.3-1  
Cost-Constructive Travel

(CT:PER-687;   11-08-2012)

Example

The designated relief point for Cairo is London.  Therefore, round-trip transportation costs can be paid for the employee and eligible family members for Cairo/London/Cairo.  If a lower cost destination (e.g., Paris) is elected as an alternate point, transportation costs would be limited to the direct round-trip travel expenses for Cairo/Paris/Cairo.

If Rome and Paris are selected as alternate relief points, transportation costs would be limited to the direct round-trip travel expenses for Cairo/Rome/Paris/Cairo, not to exceed the costs of travel to the relief point (London).  Travel costs exceeding the cost to the designated relief point are the employee’s responsibility.

If Denver, Colorado and Paris are selected as alternate relief points, transportation costs may not exceed the costs of travel to the designated relief point (London).

UNCLASSIFIED (U)