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Understanding Danger Pay in the United Nations: Its Purpose and Value

Updated in 2024. The United Nations (UN) employs personnel in numerous locations worldwide, including areas where security and safety concerns are prevalent. To compensate staff members for the increased risks they face in these hazardous environments, the UN provides an additional payment known as Danger Pay. This article delves into the purpose of Danger Pay, the factors influencing its determination, and its significance for staff working in challenging situations.

What is Danger Pay in the United Nations?

Danger Pay is a temporary additional payment made to eligible UN staff members who are assigned to duty stations where they face particularly hazardous working conditions, heightened security risks, or possible threats to their health and well-being. The aim of Danger Pay is to provide financial compensation for the elevated risks and challenges associated with working in such locations.

How is Danger Pay Determined?

The International Civil Service Commission (ICSC), a subsidiary body of the United Nations General Assembly, is responsible for determining which duty stations qualify for Danger Pay. The ICSC regularly assesses the safety and security conditions of each duty station based on the following factors:

  1. Existing security threats: The ICSC evaluates the level of violence, armed conflict, terrorism, and crime in the area, considering the potential impact on UN personnel.
  2. Health and safety risks: The ICSC considers factors such as disease outbreaks, environmental hazards, and other threats to the well-being of UN staff.
  3. Access to medical facilities: Limited access to adequate medical facilities and emergency services in the duty station can contribute to the decision to grant Danger Pay.
  4. Restrictions on personal freedom: The ICSC takes into account any limitations on personal movement or freedom, such as curfews, travel restrictions, or a lack of access to basic services.

The ICSC reviews its list of duty stations eligible for Danger Pay periodically and makes adjustments as necessary, based on changes in security and safety conditions.

How Much is Danger Pay?

The amount of Danger Pay awarded to eligible staff members depends on their specific employment conditions, the duty station, and the level of risk involved. The ICSC sets the rates for Danger Pay, which can vary over time as conditions in the duty stations change. It is essential to note that Danger Pay is a temporary allowance, and staff members may cease to receive it if the security and safety conditions in their duty station improve.

The Importance of Danger Pay

Danger Pay plays a crucial role in ensuring that UN personnel can continue to carry out their duties in high-risk environments. It helps to compensate staff for the increased risks they face while serving in hazardous conditions, acknowledging the challenges and personal sacrifices they make in the line of duty. By providing this additional financial support, the United Nations demonstrates its commitment to the well-being and safety of its staff, fostering a more resilient workforce capable of addressing global challenges in even the most demanding situations.

In conclusion, Danger Pay serves as an essential component of the United Nations' compensation structure for staff working in high-risk environments. It acknowledges the increased risks and challenges faced by these employees and provides financial support to help mitigate the impact of hazardous working conditions. By understanding the factors that influence Danger Pay determination and its importance, we can better appreciate the commitment and dedication of UN personnel serving in some of the world's most challenging locations.

Who is eligible for danger pay?

Danger Pay is granted to eligible United Nations staff members who are assigned to duty stations where they face particularly hazardous working conditions, heightened security risks, or possible threats to their health and well-being. Eligibility for Danger Pay depends on the following factors:

  1. Duty station: The duty station must be classified by the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) as eligible for Danger Pay based on an assessment of the security and safety conditions.
  2. Employment status: Staff members who are internationally or locally recruited, serving on fixed-term, continuing, or temporary appointments may be eligible for Danger Pay. Additionally, consultants, individual contractors, and other non-staff personnel may also be eligible, depending on the terms of their contracts and the organization's policies.
  3. Duration of assignment: To be eligible for Danger Pay, staff members should be serving at the designated duty station for a minimum period, as specified by the organization's policies. Danger Pay is not typically granted for short-term visits or official travel to hazardous duty stations.
  4. Compliance with security guidelines: Staff members must comply with all security guidelines and requirements set forth by the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) and the organization they work for, as non-compliance may affect their eligibility for Danger Pay.

It is essential to note that eligibility for Danger Pay is determined on a case-by-case basis, and specific policies regarding the allowance may vary across different UN agencies, funds, and programs. Staff members should consult their organization's human resources department or administrative guidelines to understand the eligibility criteria and procedures applicable to them.

Danger Pay list effective from 1 April 2023.

Danger Pay is approved for internationally and locally recruited staff required to work in the locations listed below from April 1 to June 30, 2023. This decision is based on recommendations from the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) in their memorandum dated March 31, 2023, and subsequent clarifications provided.

Approved locations for Danger Pay include: • Afghanistan • Specific duty stations in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, and the Democratic Republic of Congo • Ethiopia (certain regions) • Haiti • Iraq (selected governorates and areas) • Kenya's North Eastern Province (excluding Wajir International Airport) • Libya • Northern Mali and Mopti Region • Myanmar (excluding the capital Nai Pi Taw) • Niger (specific regions and duty stations) • North Eastern Nigeria (particular duty stations) • Pakistan (Balochistan Province, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Province, and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas) • Somalia (excluding some regions in Somaliland) • South Sudan • Sudan (selected states and the Abyei Administered Area) • Syrian Arab Republic (entire country, with certain exceptions) • Ukraine • Yemen

Please note that changes in Danger Pay from April 1 to June 30, 2023, were made by UNDSS for Ethiopia, Iraq, Somalia, and Sudan, involving updates to eligible areas in each country.

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