United Nations staff

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Staff members are a category of United Nations personnel whose employment and contractual relationship are defined by a letter of appointment subject to regulations promulgated by the General Assembly pursuant to Article 101 of the United Nations Charter.

The conditions of service and the basic rights, duties and obligations of staff are spelled out in the Staff Regulations and Rules.


Information on the demographics of Secretariat staff members is presented in the annual report to the General Assembly on the composition of the Secretariat.

Report Period Notes
A/74/82 2018
A/73/79 2017 See also Add/1
A/72/123 2016 First calendar-year report

Appointment types

General Assembly resolution 63/250 authorized the use of three types of appointments in the United Nations under a single set of Staff Rules, effective 1 July 2009.

The policy on staff selection is contained in administrative instruction ST/AI/2010/3.

Temporary appointments

A temporary appointment is granted for a period of less than one year to meet seasonal or peak workloads and specific short-term requirements. Temporary appointments may be renewed for up to one year when warranted by surge requirements and operational needs related to field operations and special projects with finite mandates. A temporary appointment shall not be converted to any other type of appointment.[1] A competitive selection process and the publication of a temporary job opening is only required for temporary appointments longer than three months in duration.

Staff members on temporary appointments are eligible for fewer benefits and allowances than staff on fixed-term or continuing appointments[2] and accrue leave at a slower rate.

Staff members on temporary appointments filling a regular budget or extrabudgetary post cannot apply for or be appointed to their current post within six months of the end of their current service[3]. A mandatory break in service, normally of 31 days, is required before a former staff member can be re-employed on a temporary appointment[4].

The policy on administration of temporary appointments is contained in administrative instruction ST/AI/2010/4/Rev.1.

Fixed-term appointments

A fixed-term appointment may be granted for a period of one year or more, up to five years at a time, and may be renewed for any period up to five years at a time. A fixed-term appointment does not carry any expectancy of renewal or conversion, except for staff appointed upon successful completion of a competitive examination.[5]

Staff members on fixed-term appointments are appointed to a post but may serve temporarily against another post, including ones at a higher grade (see special post allowance).

The policy on administration of fixed-term appointments is contained in administrative instrction ST/AI/2013/1 and Corr.1.

Continuing appointments

A continuing appointment is an open-ended appointment[6]. The procedure and criteria for conversion of fixed-term appointments to continuing appointments are set out in General Assembly resolution 65/247.

The policy on administration of fixed-term appointments is contained in administrative instruction ST/AI/2012/3.

Former appointment types

Appointment of limited duration

An appointment under the former 300-series staff rules intended for peacekeeping, peacemaking, humanitarian, technical cooperation and emergency operations. An appointment of limited duration (ALD) was normally for an initial period of up to six months, extended for up to four years, after a break in service of at least six months was required before eligibility for a new ALD.[7]

Permanent appointment

An appointment under the former 100-series staff rules to staff members who completed a period of probationary service (or had the probationary service waived) or completed five years of continuous service under fixed-term appointments.[8] Following the adoption of resolution 63/250, staff members with permanent appointments as of 1 July 2009 remained on such appointments, and a one-time review of staff members eligible for conversion to permanent appointments before 1 July 2009 was conducted.

Cool-down periods

Interns and consultants

The General Assembly, in its resolution 51/226, decided that interns, consultants and personnel provided on a non-reimbursable basis may not be appointed to posts in the Secretariat for a period of six months after the end of their service. In practice, this only applies to posts in the Professional category or those at the FS-6 or FS-7 levels.

A cool-down period does not apply to junior professional officers or associate experts.

United Nations Volunteers

A United Nations Volunteer is eligible for appointment to a position in a mission other than the mission in which they are serving after 12 months of service. Otherwise, they are not eligible for appointment to a position in a mission for a period of six months after the end of their service.

See also


  1. Staff rule 4.12
  2. General Assembly resolution 63/250, section II paragraph 8
  3. General Assembly resolution 51/226, section III.B paragraph 26
  4. ST/AI/2010/4/Rev.1, paragraph 5.2
  5. Staff rule 4.13
  6. Staff rule 4.14
  7. Former staff rule 301.1; ST/AI/2001/2 Appointments of limited duration
  8. Former staff rule 104.13