United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Jul 15, 2024

§ 2504.
Peace Corps volunteers
Persons eligible; terms and conditions of service; Federal employee status; racial, sex, religious, or color discrimination

The President may enroll in the Peace Corps for service abroad qualified citizens and nationals of the United States (referred to in this chapter as “volunteers”). The terms and conditions of the enrollment, training (including training under section 2507a of this title), compensation, hours of work, benefits, leave, termination, and all other terms and conditions of the service of volunteers shall be exclusively those set forth in this chapter and those consistent therewith which the President may prescribe; and, except as provided in this chapter, volunteers shall not be deemed officers or employees or otherwise in the service or employment of, or holding office under, the United States for any purpose. In carrying out this subsection, there shall be no discrimination against any person on account of race, sex, creed, or color.

Living allowances, travel, leave and related items; transfers of supplies and equipment

Volunteers shall be provided with such living, travel, and leave allowances, and such housing, transportation, supplies, equipment, subsistence, and clothing as the President may determine to be necessary for their maintenance and to insure their health and their capacity to serve effectively. Supplies or equipment provided volunteers to insure their capacity to serve effectively may be transferred to the government or to other entities of the country or area with which they have been serving, when no longer necessary for such purpose, and when such transfers would further the purposes of this chapter. Transportation and travel allowances may also be provided, in such circumstances as the President may determine, for applicants for enrollment to or from places of training and places of enrollment, and for former volunteers from places of termination to their homes in the United States.

Readjustment allowances

Volunteers shall be entitled to receive a readjustment allowance at a rate not less than $125 for each month of satisfactory service as determined by the President. The readjustment allowance of each volunteer shall be payable on his return to the United States: Provided, however, That, under such circumstances as the President may determine, the accrued readjustment allowance, or any part thereof, may be paid to the volunteer, members of his family or others, during the period of his service, or prior to his return to the United States. In the event of the volunteer’s death during the period of his service, the amount of any unpaid readjustment allowance shall be paid in accordance with the provisions of section 5582(b) of title 5. For purposes of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, a volunteer shall be deemed to be paid and to receive each amount of a readjustment allowance to which he is entitled after December 31, 1964, when such amount is transferred from funds made available under this chapter to the fund from which such readjustment allowance is payable.

Repealed. Pub. L. 89–554, § 8(a), Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 661
Health care

Volunteers shall receive such health care (including, if necessary, for volunteers and trainees, services under section 2507b of this title) during their service, applicants for enrollment shall receive such health examinations preparatory to their service, applicants for enrollment who have accepted an invitation to begin a period of training under section 2507(a) of this title shall receive, preparatory to their service, such immunization, dental care, and information on prescription options and potential interactions, as necessary and appropriate and in accordance with subsection (f), and former volunteers shall receive such health examinations within six months after termination of their service, including services provided in accordance with section 2507b of this title (except that the six-month limitation shall not apply in the case of such services), as the President may deem necessary or appropriate. Subject to such conditions as the President may prescribe, such health care may be provided in any facility of any agency of the United States Government, and in such cases the appropriation for maintaining and operating such facility shall be reimbursed from appropriations available under this chapter. Health care may not be provided under this subsection in a manner inconsistent with the Assisted Suicide Funding Restriction Act of 1997 [42 U.S.C. 14401 et seq.].

Prescription of medications

The Director of the Peace Corps shall consult with health experts outside the Peace Corps, including experts licensed in the field of mental health, and follow guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding the prescription of medications to a volunteer.

Retirement and other credits based upon length of service
Any period of satisfactory service of a volunteer under this chapter shall be credited in connection with subsequent employment in the same manner as a like period of civilian employment by the United States Government—
for the purposes of section 816(a) of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 [22 U.S.C. 4056(a)] and every other Act establishing a retirement system for civilian employees of any United States Government agency; and
except as otherwise determined by the President, for the purposes of determining seniority, reduction in force, and layoff rights, leave entitlement, and other rights and privileges based upon length of service under the laws administered by the Office of Personnel Management, the Foreign Service Act of 1980 [22 U.S.C. 3901 et seq.], and every other Act establishing or governing terms and conditions of service of civilian employees of the United States Government: Provided, That service of a volunteer shall not be credited toward completion of any probationary or trial period or completion of any service requirement for career appointment.
For the purposes of paragraph (1)(A) of this subsection, volunteers and volunteer leaders shall be deemed to be receiving compensation during their service at the respective rates of readjustment allowances payable under subsection (c) and section 2505(1) of this title.
Assignment to other entities

The President may detail or assign volunteers or otherwise make them available to any entity referred to in paragraph (1) of section 2509(a) of this title on such terms and conditions as he may determine: Provided, That not to exceed two hundred volunteers may be assigned to carry out secretarial or clerical duties on the staffs of the Peace Corps representatives abroad: Provided, however, That any volunteer so detailed or assigned shall continue to be entitled to the allowances, benefits and privileges of volunteers authorized under or pursuant to this chapter.

Tort claims; absentee voting; general average contributions for transportation of baggage; check cashing and currency exchange; claims for overpayment of pay; passport fees

Volunteers shall be deemed employees of the United States Government for the purposes of the Federal Tort Claims Act and any other Federal tort liability statute, section 3342 of title 31, section 5732 and section 5584 of title 5 (and readjustment allowances paid under this chapter shall be considered as pay for purposes of such section), and section 214 of this title.

Termination of service

The service of a volunteer may be terminated at any time at the pleasure of the President.

Oath of office

Upon enrollment in the Peace Corps, every volunteer shall take the oath prescribed for persons appointed to any office of honor or profit by section 3331 of title 5.

Counseling programs for returned volunteers

In order to assure that the skills and experience which former volunteers have derived from their training and their service abroad are best utilized in the national interest, the President may, in cooperation with agencies of the United States, private employers, educational institutions and other entities of the United States, undertake programs under which volunteers would be counseled with respect to opportunities for further education and employment.

Legal expenses of defendant in judicial or administrative proceedings

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, counsel may be employed and counsel fees, court costs, bail, and other expenses incident to the defense of volunteers may be paid in foreign judicial or administrative proceedings to which volunteers have been made parties and counsel may be employed and counsel fees, court costs and other expenses may be paid in the support of volunteers who are parties, complaining witnesses, or otherwise participating in the prosecution of crimes committed against such volunteers.

Allowances and expenses of minor children
The minor children of a volunteer living with the volunteer may receive—
such living, travel, education, and leave allowances, such housing, transportation, subsistence, and essential special items of clothing as the President may determine;
such health care, including health care following the volunteer’s service for illness or injury incurred during such service, and health and accident insurance, as the President may determine and upon such terms as he may determine, including health care in any facility referred to in subsection (e) of this section, subject to such conditions as the President may prescribe and subject to reimbursement of appropriations as provided in such subsection (e);
such orientation, language, and other training necessary to accomplish the purposes of this chapter as the President may determine; and
the benefits of subsection (l) 1
 See References in Text note below.
of this section on the same basis as volunteers.
Moving expenses

The costs of packing and unpacking, transporting to and from a place of storage, and storing the furniture and household and personal effects of a volunteer who has one or more minor children at the time of his entering a period of pre-enrollment training may be paid from the date of his departure from his place of residence to enter training until no later than three months after termination of his service.

Independent review of volunteer death
Not later than 10 days after receiving notification of the death of a volunteer, the President shall provide a briefing to the Inspector General of the Peace Corps that includes—
the available facts and circumstances surrounding the death of the volunteer, including a preliminary timeline of the events immediately preceding the death of the volunteer, subsequent actions taken by the Peace Corps, and any information available to the Peace Corps reflecting on the cause or root cause of the death of the volunteer; and
a description of any steps the Peace Corps plans to take to inquire further into the cause or root cause of the death of the volunteer, including the anticipated date of the completion of such inquiry; or
an explanation of why the Peace Corps has determined that no further inquiry into the cause or root cause of the death of the volunteer is necessary, including—
a description of the steps the Peace Corps took to determine further inquiry was not necessary; and
the basis for such determination.
If the Peace Corps has performed or engaged another entity to perform a root cause analysis or similar report that describes the cause or root cause of a volunteer death, the President shall provide the Inspector General of the Peace Corps with—
a copy of all information provided to such entity at the time such information is provided to such entity or used by the Peace Corps to perform the analysis;
a copy of any report or study received from the entity or used by the Peace Corps to perform the analysis; and
any supporting documentation upon which the Peace Corps or such entity relied to make its determination, including the volunteer’s complete medical record, as soon as such information is available to the Peace Corps.
If a volunteer dies, the Peace Corps shall take reasonable measures, in accordance with local laws, to preserve any information or material, in any medium or format, that may be relevant to determining the cause or root cause of the death of the volunteer, including personal effects, medication, and other tangible items belonging to the volunteer, as long as such measures do not interfere with the legal procedures of the host country if the government of the host country is exercising jurisdiction over the investigation of such death. The Inspector General of the Peace Corps shall be provided an opportunity to inspect such items before their final disposition.
Consistent with the Inspector General Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. App.),1 the Inspector General of the Peace Corps may independently review the facts and circumstances surrounding the death of a volunteer and the actions taken by the Peace Corps in responding to such incident.
For the purposes of undertaking a review under this section, an officer or employee of the United States or a member of the Armed Forces may be detailed to the Inspector General of the Peace Corps from another department of the United States Government on a nonreimbursable basis, as jointly agreed to by the Inspector General and the detailing department, for a period not to exceed 1 year. This paragraph may not be construed to limit or modify any other source of authority for reimbursable or nonreimbursable details. A nonreimbursable detail made under this section may not be considered an augmentation of the appropriations of the Peace Corps.
Upon request, the Peace Corps may make available necessary funds to the Inspector General of the Peace Corps for reviews conducted by the Inspector General under this section. The request shall be limited to costs relating to hiring, procuring, or otherwise obtaining medical-related experts or expert services, and associated travel.
The undertaking of a review under this section may not be considered a transfer of program operating responsibilities to the Inspector General of the Peace Corps.
(Pub. L. 87–293, title I, § 5, Sept. 22, 1961, 75 Stat. 613; Pub. L. 88–200, § 2, Dec. 13, 1963, 77 Stat. 359; Pub. L. 89–134, § 2, Aug. 24, 1965, 79 Stat. 549; Pub. L. 89–554, § 8(a), Sept. 6, 1966, 80 Stat. 661, 662; Pub. L. 89–572, § 2(a), Sept. 13, 1966, 80 Stat. 765; Pub. L. 91–99, § 2, Oct. 29, 1969, 83 Stat. 166; Pub. L. 91–352, § 3, July 24, 1970, 84 Stat. 464; Pub. L. 94–130, §§ 4, 6, Nov. 14, 1975, 89 Stat. 684; Pub. L. 95–331, § 4, Aug. 2, 1978, 92 Stat. 414; Pub. L. 96–465, title II, § 2202(a), Oct. 17, 1980, 94 Stat. 2157; Pub. L. 97–113, title VI, §§ 604(b), 606, Dec. 29, 1981, 95 Stat. 1543; Pub. L. 99–83, title XI, § 1105(b), Aug. 8, 1985, 99 Stat. 276; Pub. L. 99–514, § 2, Oct. 22, 1986, 100 Stat. 2095; Pub. L. 105–12, § 9(j), Apr. 30, 1997, 111 Stat. 27; Pub. L. 106–30, § 2(b)(1)–(3), May 21, 1999, 113 Stat. 55; Pub. L. 112–57, §§ 3, 8(a)(1), (b), Nov. 21, 2011, 125 Stat. 744, 745; Pub. L. 115–256, title I, § 101(a)(1), title III, § 301, Oct. 9, 2018, 132 Stat. 3651, 3655.)
cite as: 22 USC 2504