Back UN contracts types - FTA (Fixed term), CA (Continuing appointments), TA (Temporary appointments)

We continue to publish insights about UN contact system and hope it will help you to get a job in UN.Today we would like to share with you information about the most common UN contracts FTA (Fixed term appointment), CA (Continuing appointments), TA (Temporary appointments), including salary scales, social benefits, duration, a probation period, pension fund.


So let's start.

Continuing appointments (CA):

Coverage 1.

The continuing contractual appointment is designed to assist the organizations of the United Nations common system in maintaining programme continuity. The arrangement is conceived as a tool to facilitate the strategic management of human resources for the attainment of their overall objectives. This category covers existing contractual arrangements characterized in the organizations under varying nomenclature, such as permanent, indefinite, continuing, without-limit-of-time, career, long-term, indeterminate and service contracts. Inclusion in this category is subject to the continuing needs of the organizations and extends to staff who perform functions that are core to the mandate of each organization of the United Nations common system.

Duration 2.

A continuing appointment is open-ended. Staff regulations and rules may provide for periodic reviews to consider continuation. Continuity will be based on criteria such as organizational interests, fully meeting performance expectations and upholding the standards of conduct.

Probationary period 3.

Staff in this category must serve a probationary period of between one and two years. Alternatively, staff who have performed and fully met expectations for not less than one year under a fixed-term contract will be considered to have met this probationary requirement for a continuing contract.

Compensation 4.

The staff member shall be compensated in accordance with the relevant staff regulations and rules of the organization, consistent with the conditions of service in the common system.

Pension fund 5.

The staff member is expected to contribute to the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund or any other pension scheme in accordance with the staff regulations and rules of the organization and the relevant rules of the fund or scheme.

Social security 6.

The staff member is expected to be covered under the agreed plan with the organizationโ€™s designated health insurance provider or under any other health insurance scheme, in accordance with the organizationโ€™s staff regulations and rules.

Applicability of staff regulations and rules 7.

The staff member is subject to the relevant staff regulations and rules of the organization.

Standards of conduct 8. The staff member is expected to adhere to the highest standards of conduct, as set out in the standards of conduct for the international civil service, which establish the basic values of all organizations of the United Nations common system.

Mobility requirements 9.

The staff member may be subject, in accordance with the organizationโ€™s staff regulations and rules, to transfers between any function or office, including directed geographic reassignment to other duty stations, if operationally required.

Acquiring a continuing appointment 10.

Appointment to a continuing contract is acquired through open and transparent selection procedures in accordance with the organizationโ€™s staff regulations and rules.

Separation procedures 11.

Standard separation procedures are applicable to this category in accordance with the organizationโ€™s staff regulations and rules. The executive head of the organization may terminate the contract of any staff member for reasons set out in the staff regulations and rules of the organization.

Fixed-term appointments (FTA).


Coverage 12.

Fixed-term appointments cover the employment of staff engaged for defined periods of time to perform functions that are part of the organizationโ€™s regular and continuing activities. Subject to the needs of the organization and as defined in its staff regulations and rules, inclusion in this category may extend to staff performing functions of medium-term duration, which could continue for a number of years.

Duration 13.

A fixed-term appointment is expected to be of at least one yearโ€™s duration and for a period of up to five years. The contract may be terminated or renewed on the basis of criteria such as organizational interests, fully meeting performance expectations and upholding the standards of conduct. Under special circumstances and in accordance with the staff regulations and rules the minimum period of such a contract may be of shorter duration.

Probationary period 14.

A probationary period may range from six months to two years.

Compensation 15.

The staff member shall be compensated in accordance with the relevant staff regulations and rules of the organization, consistent with the conditions of service in the common system.

Pension fund 16.

The staff member is expected to contribute to the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund or any other pension scheme in accordance with the staff regulations and rules of the organization and the relevant rules of the fund or scheme.

Social security 17.

The staff member is expected to be covered under the agreed plan with the organizationโ€™s designated health insurance provider or under any other health insurance scheme, in accordance with the organizationโ€™s staff regulations and rules.

Applicability of staff rules 18.

The staff member is subject to the relevant staff regulations and rules of the organization.

Standards of conduct 19.

The staff member is expected to adhere to the highest standards of conduct, as set out in the standards of conduct for the international civil service, which establish the basic values of all organizations of the United Nations common system.

Mobility requirements 20.

The staff member may be subject, in accordance with the organizationโ€™s staff regulations and rules, to transfers between any function or office, including directed geographic reassignment to other duty stations, if operationally required.

Acquiring a fixed-term appointment 21.

Appointment to the fixed-term category is acquired through open and transparent selection procedures in accordance with the relevant staff regulations and rules of the organization.

Separation procedures 22.

Separation of staff may normally be upon expiry of contract, with standard separation procedures applied, in accordance with the organizationโ€™s staff regulations and rules. The executive head of the organization may terminate the contract of any staff member for reasons set out in the staff regulations and rules of the organization.

Temporary appointments.

Coverage 23.

The purpose of a short-term appointment is to accommodate: (a) Defined, short-term needs of the organization of less than one year; (b) Short-term service of limited duration with special missions, projects of limited duration and special operations for humanitarian assistance. The contractual arrangements cover existing appointments, such as short-term, temporary, term-limited, fixed-term short duration, monthly short-term, daily shortterm, special short-term and other types of short-term appointments, such as appointments of limited duration. Consultancies, service agreements and other contractual arrangements that are not executed as staff contracts shall be excluded from this category.

Duration 24. The duration of a temporary appointment such as described in paragraph 23 (a) above is expected to be for less than one year. Any renewal should be consistent with the staff regulations and rules of the organization. For appointments described in subparagraph 23 (b), the duration will not exceed four years. Probationary period 25. Not applicable; however, a probationary period may be applied for contracts of one year or more, as defined under paragraph 23 (b).

Compensation 26. The staff member shall be compensated in accordance with the relevant staff regulations and rules of the organization, consistent with the conditions of service in the common system.

Pension fund 27. Depending on the type and length of appointment, the staff member may contribute to the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund or any other pension scheme in accordance with the staff regulations and rules of the organization and the relevant rules of the fund or scheme.

Social security 28. The staff member will be covered according to the relevant staff regulations and rules of the organization. Applicability of staff regulations and rules 29. The staff member is subject to the relevant staff regulations and rules of the organization.

Standards of conduct 30. The staff member is expected to adhere to the highest standards of conduct, as set out in the standards of conduct for the international civil service, which establish the basic values of all organizations of the United Nations common system.

Mobility requirements 31. Not applicable.

Acquiring another type of contract 32. Change to any other contractual arrangement may only be effected through the application of open and transparent selection procedures, as established in the staff regulations and rules of the organization.

Separation procedures 33. Standard separation procedures may be applicable in the case of normal expiration of a contract. The executive head of the organization may at any time terminate the appointment of a staff member for reasons set out in the staff regulations and rules of the organization.

Contract Levels

Within all these contracts different levels apply. Roughly there are two big categories. The first is the General Services category (sometimes also referred to as Local) up to GS -1 till GS -7 and then the Professional (or International) category usually starting at P-1 (very rarely position). The basic logic is that certain jobs donโ€™t require an international. For example, it doesnโ€™t really make sense to pay a lot of money to employ an administrative clerk on an international level since there are usually skilled people for this job locally available. If you are on a national contract you can expect to stay in the country and you will not be required to move. If you are on an international contract you can be re-assigned to any other place in this world easily (a fact that is often forgotten and that regularly leads to conflict if one actually tries to re-assign internationals).

The line between these two categories is not always easy to draw. For instance, there is a major difference between Denmark and UN HQ in New York where many nationals in Denmark execute jobs that would be on an international level in New York. As a rule of thumb jobs that require a Masterโ€™s equivalent degree are international whereas local jobs required secondary education or Bachelorโ€™s degrees. Within all these contracts different job grades (sometimes also called levels) exist. The first is the General Services category up to GS-7 and then the Professional category usually starting at P-1. General Services Jobs often times donโ€™t require a Masterโ€™s degree whereas jobs in the Professional grades often require a Masterโ€™s degree.

General Service (GS) jobs are national jobs which mean that these jobs are usually reserved for nationals of the country the jobs are located in. Professional category jobs can be international and national. National jobs are often times called โ€œNational Officerโ€ (NO) and have 3 stages NO-A - NO-C. NO-C os the highest position. If you are on a national contract you can expect to stay in the country and you will not be required to move. If you are on an international contract you can be re-assigned to any other place in this world, a fact that is sometimes forgotten about and that can lead to conflict if an organization actually tries to re-assign internationals.


In terms of what job grade to apply to within your area of expertise, I would strongly recommend reading the job vacancy very carefully. Please make sure that you satisfy all the requirements and assume that there are thorough checks. So if you are required to speak French for a job and you donโ€™t speak French itโ€™s not a good idea to apply. The same thing can be said for years of experience. If a job requires 7 years of experience, there is usually no way around that requirement. To give you an idea of what you should aspire to, letโ€™s look at the example of International Professional jobs. These jobs are often following a logic where a P1 (ICS-8) does not require much of expertise experience (but these jobs practically donโ€™t exist any longer), P2 (ICS-9) require 2 to 3 years of experience, P3 (ICS-10) 5 years, P4 (ICS-11) 7 years and so on. How years of experience are counted may vary, too. Some organizations say that you need to have the years of expertise after your masterโ€™s other organizations require relevant expertise which also can be before your masterโ€™s but needs to be relevant to your job.

For your convenience you can use this table