Compensation Under Personal Service Contracts Performed Abroad

B-195822: Jan 3, 1980

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An opinion was requested on whether under contracts for personal services abroad the Peace Corps may compensate contract personnel for several days instruction at Washinton, D.C., before their assignment overseas, and for days they are debriefed at Washington upon their return to the United States from abroad. The issue was whether the express limitation to "personal services abroad" by individuals other than aliens prohibits compensating contract personnel for periods of instruction and debriefing within the United States. The Peace Corps Act was intended to enable the Peace Corps "to secure custodial and other personal services without having to put on the Government's rolls all persons who perform such services." It authorizes the performance of personal services by contract rather than by Federal employees. GAO agreed with the Peace Corps' suggestion that to the extent instructions and debriefing in Washington are essential to performance under a specific personal service contract performed overseas, the language of applicable legislation does not preclude payment under the contract for those necessary incidents to performance abroad. Accordingly, under the authority of existing legislation, contract personnel may be paid for their necessary instruction and debriefing in the United States incident to their performance of a particular personal service contract abroad.