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No, you don’t have to work all day, 365 days a year. However, as a United Nations staff member, you are an International Civil Servant (ICS), a role in which you represent the Organization 24/7, leading by example and adhering to the highest standards of conduct.For the role, “each of us swears an oath of loyalty and obedience when we start our UN careers” agreeing to “fundamental ethical values of independence, loyalty, impartiality, integrity, accountability and respect for human life that are based on the UN Charter and Oath of Office” (UN Ethics Office).This role is a significant responsibility and one to be proud of, and yet has implications that may surprise you. For example, before being offered a job with the UN, have you been an activist? outspoken about or involved in politics or global causes? paid to advise or speak on a topic on which you’re an expert? a board member for a non-profit? an employee of more than one employer? a published author or blogger? a judge? Or otherwise committed to making the world a better place?

If you answer yes to one or more of these, this may be why you applied to work for the UN. In fact, it may be a key reason you were selected for your new post. And yet, given that such past activities may conflict with the ICS role, you may, as UN staff, need to discontinue or change certain activities. Yet, don’t worry - there is a lot you still can do. If your country has elections, you can and should vote. You can accept a call to jury duty, join a professional association or repost and align with an official UN social media post. Other activities may also be allowable if done within Standards of Conduct and if they benefit your work.Review Putting Ethics to Work: A Guide for UN Staff, and if in doubt about a specific situation, ask. For official advice on whether there is a conflict of interest, contact the UN Ethics Office at ethicsoffice@un.org.


As you serve the world, you will work with and serve people from different cultures and beliefs in many locations around the globe. So, when planning or attending a meeting or event, be sure to keep in mind • Time zones and time differences The UN works in many of the 37 global time zones, each 30 or 60 minutes apart. Some or all of 70 countries observe Daylight Savings Time, changing one hour forward and back each year, on dates set by location. • Weekends are not the same everywhere For some colleagues, the “weekend” may be Friday-Saturday, Saturday-Sunday, or Friday-Sunday (3 days!). • Working hours may differ – by duty station, time of year, or individually In some duty stations, due to security concerns or transportation schedules, the workday starts or ends at a certain time. Also, temporarily, working hours may be adjusted for high-level meetings, religious observances (e.g. fasting for Ramadan) or for personal reasons.

• Holidays differ across duty stations Each UN duty station selects which 10 holidays to observe in line with their national and cultural context. In some locations, one of these is a “floating holiday”, which each employee selects from options. • The UN is multilingual While English is commonly used across duty stations, both English and French are the working languages of the Organization, and Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Spanish are also among the official UN languages. At a duty station, any of these or another, local, language may be most commonly used. So, as a UN staff member “of the world, for the world”, you will be encouraged to: • get informed about global holidays, cultural norms, and religious observances, • check about time differences, working hours, holidays, and scheduling preferences, • be flexible, open to sometimes adjusting your working hours to accommodate time differences, • adapt to language and translation preferences to support multilingualism. The key to success is to be aware and considerate of different contexts and adapt as possible.

We work with people from 193+ countries and territories, each with its own laws, customs, religious beliefs and type of government. And as individuals, we have our own stories, experiences and perspectives.With all these differences, how can we align for success? When you agree to work for the UN, you agree to demonstrate, in your work and life, the UN Values and Behaviours, the basis of our organizational culture.

We are inclusive. Everyone can bring their whole selves to work.We value and respect differences and diversity, and actively oppose bias and discrimination of all types. We have integrity. We uphold the standards of conduct...in all we do because what we say and how we act affects our credibility and trust with each other and with those whom we serve.

We act with humility. We value one another’s’ skills, knowledge, and experience, recognising that no one individual has all the right answers. We demonstrate humanity in everything we do. Committed to upholding human rights and dignity for all, we care for each other and for those we serve. Our humanity makes us courageous. We take a collaborative approach in all we do. We invest time and effort in building trusted partnerships with each other and our teams, stakeholders, and those we serve. We work as One UN. We take time to analyse and plan. We draw on data from a wide range of sources whenever we can to ensure all our work is informed by a robust evidence base... We deliver results that make a positive difference to the people and causes that we serve. We hold ourselves accountable...are true to our word, and able to rely on each other...

We value learning, and continuously seek to develop ourselves and support others to do so. We make mistakes and learn from them. We are curious and generous in sharing our insights, skills and experiences. We are adaptive and we innovate. We welcome new ideas... We value differences in people, skills, education and experience because these all contribute to diverse thinking and better solutions...By living UN values, we can do our best work and prioritize the interests of those the UN serves.We lead by example and speak up to ensure zero tolerance for sexual exploitation and abuse, harassment, including sexual harassment, and abuse of authority, or any kind of discriminatory behaviour including racism, sexism, disablism, ageism, homophobia. By doing so, we align with current UN Secretary-General priorities.

When you enter a UN premises, you enter International Territory, so, in many ways, it is like crossing a border into another culture, another country.As such, you may find it interesting to know that, for example: • We have our own post office. The United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA), from its offices in New York, Geneva and Vienna issues postage stamps valid to use in the country where purchased. • We have our own banking option. The United Nations Federal Credit Union • Staff who are required to travel for UN business are issued a “UN passport”, a United Nations laissez-passer (UNLP), to use only when travelling on behalf of the UN as an International Civil Servant. This diplomatic document for safer, more efficient travel does not include nationality nor birthplace (so staff often must show national passport, too).

• We have our own internal justice system. Work-related disputes at the United Nations cannot be resolved through national courts due to the Organization’s unique international legal status. So, the UN provides an internal system of justice complete with a UN Dispute Tribunal that includes three full-time judges and six half-time judges appointed by the General Assembly. Both independent and dependent on the host country of the duty station, it is also important to note that: • Staff must respect national laws. As the UN Ethics Office reminds us, “Just as we respect diversity, we must respect the laws of the nations that host our activities.The privileges and immunities that you hold as a staff member...do not exempt you from observing local laws, or provide an excuse for ignoring your private legal or financial obligations.” • If local laws conflict with UN culture (e.g. prohibiting women from working for an NGO, or banning same-sex relationships), our priority is the safety of our colleagues. To seek viable solutions, the United Nations works with a host country and often with partners such as UN Women or UN GLOBE.

The United Nations is both funded by and addresses the interests of 193 Member States, so it is not surprising that we are a highly political Organization and that change takes time. Working well within the UN often involves understanding how decisions get made because what Member States decide ultimately affects every staff member as well as those we serve. As UN Secretariat staff, located in global duty stations, we are accountable to Member States, who: • oversee the work of the Secretariat • are responsible for making final decisions about the direction the Organization will take. • can assist with moving an idea to a decision and on to implementation • each have one vote in the General Assembly (GA); and should be respected and treated equally The GA meets intensively from September to December each year in its regular session, again in March and May, and then as required till the next regular session, and much of the work is done via Main Committees.

Key decisions that affect our work are also made by other Organs with Member State representation: Security Council * Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) * International Court of Justice *The Secretary-General (SG), who is appointed by the GA on the recommendation of the Security Council, leads the Secretariat, chairs the Senior Management Group, and is both diplomat and advocate, civil servant and administrator, as well as a symbol of UN ideals and a spokesperson for the interests of the people of the world.Two other roles with decision-making power that will affect your work include the: • Controller, an Assistant Secretary General who represents the SG in high-level forums on budgetary and financial matters. • Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) - an internal oversight body that assists the SG in providing oversight though audits, investigations, inspections and evaluation services.

How much you get paid is influenced by several factors and can change over time.Regarding salary, the category of your post determines where best to find details. Regardless of post, “Net” refers to your take-home pay after staff assessment, before any allowances, grants or contributions. • For Professional and higher categories, your salary include 2 elements: - a base salary and - post adjustment based on cost of living in your duty station, Check the current salary scale (1 Jan 2023) and this UNDP Salary Calculator may help: SalCalcInt • For General Service and related categories, the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) regularly surveys prevailing conditions to determine a Salary Scale by work location.

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Based on years of previous work experience, you will be assigned a “step” on the pay scale, and each year with good performance, your pay will be increased to the next step until you reach the final one. • Dependency allowances – for all staff for spouse, child/children, secondary dependent• Education grant – for internationally recruited staff not working in their home country• Special education grant for children with a disability – available for staff in any category• Shipments and relocation grant - for internationally recruited staff who meet requirements• Rental subsidy for all staff regarded as international recruits and meet eligibility criteria• Danger pay - for both locally and internationally recruited staff working in dangerous conditions• Mobility and hardship allowances - to encourage geographic mobility and vary by duty station.• Non-family duty stations - payable to internationally recruited staff assigned to non-family duty stationDeductions to take-home pay may include:• Staff assessment, an internal form of “taxation” that applies to all UN staff resulting in “net” pay on salary scales. Related to this, US tax paying staff are supported by the UN Tax Unit.• Your pension contribution for retirement benefits, as explained by UNJSPF• Your contributions to medical, dental and/or life insurance as explained by HLISSince many factors contribute to your take-home pay, ask your HR Partner any specific questions you have.

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To decide and review policies related to UN staff benefits and allowances, the United Nations keeps in mind that most staff are living outside their home country, and also looks at what is typically offered to full-time employees in each member state with a view to offering what is most generous and inclusive.

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Prepare To have a successful experience in your new job – which may involve moving to a new duty station, it is important to gather as much information as possible. The time-based activities in the GO2UN Pathway have been designed to help you. We also encourage you to get connected with a GO2UN Buddy, or to reach out to others you may already know in your new office or duty station. Ask questions. Questions can often serve two purposes – both to help you to understand your context better, and to help your colleagues to get insights into what isn’t clear, and what could be improved.Remain hopefulAs you join the Organization, you likely have very high hopes and expectations, and yet, given the complexities of the world and the Organization, that may not always match the reality you find. To remain hopeful, keep in mind that “The UN was not created to take mankind to heaven, but to save humanity from hell” as said by Dag Hammarskjöld, first Secretary-General of the UN. And we urge you, just as the 2019 UNGA Assembly President did our world leaders, “We need solutions, not cynicism.”

Be patient with yourself Most importantly, be patient with yourself. As you start a new job at the United Nations, there is a lot to keep in mind and to learn, and just as the world changes, the UN and how it works will change. Also, you may be working with people with very different life experiences and perspectives, and it may take some time to understand those many perspectives and points of view. We hope this will help you to decide to accept your UN job offer. Good luck!