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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Insurance Coverage: UN Volunteers are covered under the UN’s life, health, and disability insurance policies at no cost to them.
- Settling-in Grant: International volunteers receive a one-time settling-in grant to help with the costs of relocating to their assignment location.
- 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.
- COUNTRY OF ASSIGNMENT
- DUTY STATION
- DUTY STATION
- VOLUNTEER TYPE
- FUNDING SOURCE
- TYPE OF ENTITY
- UN ENTITY DEPENDENTS
- RESETTLEMENT ALLOWANCE
Detailed salary and allowance for this example
Travel Is eligible
Shipment of personal effects (one time) USD 500.00
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.
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