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The United Nations common system Mobility and Hardship Scheme is intended to encourage mobility between duty stations when operationally necessary and, in doing so, to compensate staff for hardships they may incur when assigned by their organisations to difficult duty stations.  

All duty stations are placed in one of six categories, H and A to E.  

H duty stations are headquarters and similarly designated locations where the United Nations has no development or humanitarian assistance programmes or locations which are in countries which are members of the European Union;

A-E duty stations are field duty stations.

The scheme involves provision of allowances for hardship, mobility and non-removal and an assignment grant.  Further benefits may be available, depending on the particular circumstances of a duty station, including additional educational travel, additional reimbursement of school-boarding costs, reimbursement of basic medical expenses and extra freight shipment.

This is the first revision of the scheme since the publication of guidelines in 1997 by the ICSC.  Its aim is to ensure a more cost-effective use of available resources, whilst recognising both the increasing hardship experienced by staff from the conditions of life and work in the field, and the requirement to encourage a high level of mobility.  In doing so, it provides clear explanations regarding the entitlement to assignment grants, non-removal allowances, and additional educational and medical benefits.  In addition, the delineation of the mobility and hardship allowances will simplify the approach, giving greater transparency for staff to identify more clearly the various entitlements available to them.

This booklet explains the details of the different allowances and additional benefits.

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