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Terms and conditions of employment

Terms and conditions of employment

The terms and conditions of employment for locally engaged staff (LES) are based primarily on Australian government and best practice employment conditions. However, the terms and conditions comply with labour laws specific to the United States.

The Embassy offers LES an attractive remuneration package based on an eight-tier salary scale according to the work level standard of the position and generous benefits. Benefits include 14 public holidays, 22 days recreation leave and 18 days personal leave per annum, heavily subsidised medical insurance plans, and flexible leave (where eligible).

Non-US citizens working for an embassy or consulate-general in the United States who are either US lawful permanent residents (green card holders) or are nonimmigrants holding an ‘A’, ‘G’ or ‘E’ class visa and are seeking to apply to become lawful permanent residents must execute CIS Form I-508 to waive certain diplomatic rights, privileges, exemptions and immunities, including an exemption from paying US income taxes, or risk losing their US permanent resident status.

Locally engaged benefits and compensation

LES Salary Scale

View the LE Salary Scale (as at 1 July 2017) (PDF)

*All salaries are annual, and are paid in US dollars.


Staff are entitled to 22 days recreation leave (accruable to a maximum of 44 days) and 18 days personal leave each year (pro rated for part time employment). The Embassy observes 14 public holidays each year.

Working hours

The standard working day is 7 hours and 30 minutes.

Health insurance

Health insurance is offered to staff employed for a continuous period of at least three months, who work a minimum of 30 hours per week. Medical plans are generously subsidised by the Embassy.


Taxation is a personal responsibility for all Locally Engaged Staff (LES) and individuals should confirm their taxation obligations before considering an offer of employment with the Embassy or Consulates-General.

For Australians considering employment at the embassy, ensure you assess your tax status with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Please note that the embassy is required to report to the ATO the earnings for those staff considered to be Australian residents for taxation purposes. It is also important to review information about the Australian-US tax treaty on double taxation.

If you have a taxation obligation to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the United States it is important to read the US Tax Guide for Aliens.

Dependants of A-based and LES with employment authorisation are required to file tax returns with the IRS in order to renew their employment authorisation cards. This includes returns for those applying treaty exemptions, those with nil earnings, and those employed outside of the embassy. This does not remove the obligation to file tax returns with the Australian Taxation Office.


Please note that there is no relocation allowance given to a successful candidate of a locally engaged position. See Living in the greater Washington DC area for possible sources of information on accommodation, transportation and cost of living in Washington DC and its surrounds.

See the full terms and conditions of employment for Locally Engaged Staff (LES) at the Australian Embassy in Washington DC terms and conditions.

Visa and Citizenship Information

To work at the Embassy or Consulates-General, it is a requirement under United States law that you must be a United States citizen, a United States lawful permanent resident ("Greencard" holder), an A-1 or A-2 class visa holder or have a dependant visa of any kind and a valid employment authorisation document.

If you do not have legal authority to work in the United States under one of the above categories, but are eligible to apply for an A-class visa on the basis of an offer of employment from the Embassy or Consulates-General, the Embassy or Consualtes-General will provide information on applying for the A-class visa after the offer of employment is made. If your visa application is denied by a United States consular officer or if your work authorisation or current visa expires, the offer of employment is void.

You will have to apply for an ‘A’ visa at a United States Embassy or Consulate-General outside the United States. The successful candidate is responsible for all costs, including travel and accommodation related to visa applications and commencement of employment.

The United States Department of State is now limiting A-class visas for locally engaged staff to five years and recently ceased approving Employment Authorization Documents for dependents of locally engaged staff who hold A-class visas. Applicants who require an ‘A’ visa to take up a locally engaged position should be aware of this when considering applying for vacancies. Ongoing employment will at all times be based on an employee's capacity to lawfully reside and work in the United States. 

Please also note, if you have any kind of United States dependant visa and an employment authorisation document you can work at the Embassy or Consulates-General without changing visas. However, if you are in the United States as the spouse of someone who has a visa that enables them to work, but you do not have employment authorisation, you would need to obtain an A-visa to work at the Embassy or Consulates-General. You should be aware that under these circumstances, your spouse would also have to change to an A-visa and your spouse will then be unable to work. Applicants with family members who would have to change to an ‘A’ visa to take up employment at the Embassy or Consulates-General should seriously consider the implications of employment at these locations before accepting an offer of employment.

‘A’ class visa holders are required to execute CIS Form I-508 on application for US lawful permanent residency or risk losing their US permanent resident status.

Downloadable PDFs