7 Steps to get a job in the United Nations

UN Volunteers Salary and Benefits: A Comprehensive Guide for Aspiring Candidates

UPD. 2024. Introduction:

Participating in the United Nations Volunteers (UNV) program is an enriching experience, offering individuals the opportunity to contribute to global peace and development efforts. While volunteers are not compensated in the same way as traditional employees, the UNV program provides certain allowances and benefits to support them during their assignment. This comprehensive guide outlines the key aspects of these allowances and benefits for aspiring candidates.

Living Allowance

  • Purpose: The primary support UN Volunteers receive is a living allowance, intended to cover basic living expenses in the host country. It's important to note that this allowance is not a salary or compensation for work performed.
  • Calculation: The amount varies by duty station, reflecting the cost of living to ensure volunteers can live comfortably but modestly. It's periodically reviewed and adjusted.

Settling-in Grant

  • Upon Arrival: Volunteers receive a settling-in grant at the beginning of their assignment, calculated based on the duration of assignment and the location's cost of living. This one-time grant helps cover initial expenses, such as accommodation deposits and basic household items.


  • Health and Life Insurance: UN Volunteers are covered by health and life insurance during their assignment. This comprehensive coverage ensures access to medical care and provides a safety net in case of emergencies, illness, or accidents.

Travel Expenses

  • Relocation: The UNV program covers travel expenses for volunteers when relocating to the duty station at the beginning of their assignment and returning home at the end. This typically includes an economy class airline ticket.
  • Official Travel: If a volunteer needs to travel as part of their UNV duties, these expenses are also covered by the program.

Annual Leave

  • Accrual: UN Volunteers are entitled to annual leave, accruing at a rate that aligns with the duration of their assignment. This allows volunteers time off for rest and recuperation.

Language Training

  • Support: Depending on the assignment, UN Volunteers may receive language training support, particularly if working in a non-native language is essential for their role. This aims to enhance their effectiveness and integration into the local community.

End of Assignment Grant

  • Transition Support: At the completion of their assignment, volunteers receive an end of assignment grant. This is designed to assist with the transition back to their home country or to another assignment.

Special Leave

  • Inclusion: Apart from annual leave, volunteers may be eligible for special leave for family-related matters, medical reasons, or emergencies, subject to approval.

Learning and Development

  • Opportunities: UN Volunteers have access to a range of learning and development opportunities, including online courses, workshops, and seminars, to support their professional growth and increase their contribution to the UN's work.

Tax Exemption

  • Status: In most cases, the allowances received by UN Volunteers are exempt from income tax.

United Nations Volunteers (UNV) play a significant role in the success of humanitarian and development projects worldwide. If you're considering becoming a UN Volunteer, understanding the salary and benefits involved can help you make an informed decision. In this article, we'll explore the compensation and perks that come with being a UN Volunteer, and provide insight into the application process.

What are UN Volunteers?

UN Volunteers are individuals who dedicate their time, skills, and passion to promote peace and development on a global scale. They support various United Nations (UN) organizations, such as UNICEF, UNDP, and WHO, in implementing their respective missions. Volunteers can work in their home countries or internationally, taking on roles in areas such as administration, project management, education, and healthcare.

UN Volunteers Salary

As UN Volunteers, individuals receive a Volunteer Living Allowance (VLA) rather than a traditional salary. The VLA is intended to cover basic living expenses, such as accommodation, food, and transportation. The amount varies depending on the country and location of assignment, taking into consideration local living costs.

International UN Volunteers receive a monthly VLA ranging from $1,500 to $2,200, while national UN Volunteers receive an allowance in line with local salary scales. It is important to note that the VLA is not considered a salary, and thus, volunteers are not formal employees of the United Nations.

Additional Benefits for UN Volunteers

In addition to the VLA, UN Volunteers are eligible for various benefits, including:

  1. Travel Expenses: UN Volunteers are reimbursed for travel costs related to their assignment, such as airfare and visas. If required to travel on duty, they receive Daily Subsistence Allowance (DSA) to cover expenses.
  2. Annual Leave: Volunteers are entitled to annual leave, accruing at a rate of 2.5 days per month, with a maximum accumulation of 30 days per year.
  3. Insurance Coverage: UN Volunteers are covered under the UN's life, health, and disability insurance policies at no cost to them.
  4. Settling-in Grant: International volunteers receive a one-time settling-in grant to help with the costs of relocating to their assignment location.
  5. Learning and Development: UN Volunteers have access to numerous training opportunities, including online courses, workshops, and seminars, aimed at enhancing their professional and personal development.

The UN Volunteer receives the following entitlements:

a. Travel of eligible Primary Family Unit members to approved family designated duty stations;

b. Pre-departure Allowance, a one-time payment made only to the UN Volunteer to help meet expenses incurred before traveling to the duty station such as medical examination and initial visa clearances;

c. Travel to and from the duty station with 23 kilograms checked-in luggage allowance;

d. A Settling-In-Grant (SIG), one-time lump sum amount to help meet initial expenses after arriving at the designated duty station;

e. A monthly Volunteer Living Allowance (VLA), which includes a Monthly Living Allowance (MLA) intended to contribute to safe and adequate accommodation, transportation, and a modest standard of living, as well as Family Allowance (FA) for those with an eligible Primary Family Unit members;

f. A Well-Being Differential to ameliorate the added financial burden for those serving in hardship duty stations;

g. In some locations, there is an Accommodation Supplement to recognize distorted rental markets that place an undue financial burden on the UN Volunteer or the need for additional residential security measures or both.

h. Facilitation of Home Visit, depending on duration of assignment and the nature of the duty station;

i. Provision for Annual Leave, uncertified/certified Sick Leave, Maternity and Paternity Leave, Family Leave, and official holidays;

Social security provisions, in the form of insurance for medical, dental and hospital care; and life and disability insurance;

k. Assistance for emergencies related to safety/security and medical needs;

l. A Resettlement Allowance (RSA) to assist the international UN Volunteer to readjust both professionally and personally upon completion of service.

Let's see a detailed example of the salary and benefits for the UN International Volunteer (specialist) position in Kenya with 1 year contract.














YES (1)



Detailed salary and allowance for this example

Pre-assignment entitlements

Travel Is eligible

Shipment of personal effects (one time) USD 500.00

During assignment

📚 𝗗𝗶𝘀𝗰𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝗛𝗼𝘄 𝘁𝗼 𝗚𝗲𝘁 𝗮 𝗝𝗼𝗯 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗨𝗡 𝗶𝗻 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟯! 🌍🤝 𝗥𝗲𝗮𝗱 𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗡𝗘𝗪 𝗥𝗲𝗰𝗿𝘂𝗶𝘁𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗚𝘂𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗨𝗡 𝟮𝟬𝟮𝟯 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝘀𝗮𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗲𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗨𝗡𝗛𝗖𝗥, 𝗪𝗙𝗣, 𝗨𝗡𝗜𝗖𝗘𝗙, 𝗨𝗡𝗗𝗦𝗦, 𝗨𝗡𝗙𝗣𝗔, 𝗜𝗢𝗠 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿𝘀! 🌐

⚠️ 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐞 𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐋𝐢𝐟𝐞 𝐍𝐨𝐰: 𝐏𝐨𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐓𝐞𝐜𝐡𝐧𝐢𝐪𝐮𝐞𝐬 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐨 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐚 𝐣𝐨𝐛 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐔𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐍𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐍𝐎𝐖!

Volunteer living allowance (MLA + FA) (monthly) USD 2,616.57

Monthly living allowance (monthly) USD 2,366.57

Family allowance (monthly) USD 250.00

Settling-in-Grant (one time) USD 4,733.15

Dependent Settling in Grant (one time) USD 1,561.94

Well-Being differential (monthly) Not eligible

Learning USD 500.00

End of assignment

Resettlement allowance (one time) USD 2,400.00

Repatriation entitlement (one time) Is eligible

SIG to refund (in case of resignation)

You may use UN Volunteer Salary Calculator



UN Volunteers receive an allowance for any training activities deemed relevant in line with the applicable


This covers initial and end of assignment travel (and home visits if eligible) and pre-departure expenses. For UN Volunteers serving in a family duty station, travel package includes authorized dependents as well.

Residential Security

For agency, funds and programmes-funded assignments: The security charge is to ensure compliance with Residential Security Measures as defined by UNDSS in each country. These costs are charged directly to the project/host agency/donor including security relocation/evacuation related charges. A UNDP personnel security charge is applied to assignments with UNDP, UNCDF and UNV at the following rates: 4% for all UN Volunteers in H, A, B & C duty stations or 6% for all UN Volunteers in D & E duty stations


Becoming a UN Volunteer is a unique opportunity to contribute to global peace and development while gaining valuable professional experience. While the financial compensation may not be as high as traditional employment, the intangible benefits and the chance to make a positive impact on the world can be incredibly rewarding. By understanding the UN Volunteers salary and benefits, you can make an informed decision about whether this opportunity align

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While the financial aspects of volunteering with the UN may differ significantly from those of regular employment, the benefits package is designed to ensure volunteers can live comfortably and focus on their contribution to the UN's mission. Beyond the financial and material benefits, volunteering with the UN offers invaluable professional experience, networking opportunities, and the chance to make a meaningful difference in global peace and development efforts. For many, these non-monetary rewards are the most significant and rewarding aspect of their UNV experience.