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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 US lawful permanent residents (green card holders), or ‘A’ or ‘G’ class visa holders who are applying to become lawful permanent residents, must execute CIS Form I-508 to waive 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

Current LES Salary Scales

View the LE Salary Scale Chicago (as at 1 July 2018) (PDF)

View the LE Salary Scale Honolulu (as at 1 July 2019) (PDF)

View the LE Salary Scale Los Angeles (as at 1 July 2021) (PDF)

View the LE Salary Scale New York (as at 1 July 2021) (PDF)

View the LE Salary Scale Washington DC (as at 1 July 2021) (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 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.

Eligibility for Employment - Visa and Citizenship Information

To work at the Embassy or Consulates-General, it is a United States Department of State requirement that you must be a United States citizen, or a United States lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder), or a dependant of an Australian officer posted to the Embassy or the Consulate-General who has been issued a dependant A-visa, or you must possess a principal  A-2 visa, or a dependant A-2 visa and a valid US employment authorisation card, or a dependant G-visa and a valid US employment authorisation card or a dependant E3-visa and a valid US employment authorisation document.

Applicants may be eligible to apply for an A-2 visa on the basis of an offer of employment if they do not already fall into one of the employment eligibility categories listed above. Information on applying for an A-visa will be provided after an offer of employment is made. If an A-visa application is denied, the offer of employment is void. Applications for an A-visa must be submitted 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.

Applicants who may be eligible for an A-2 visa should note the following:

     - The United States Department of State limits A-2 visas for locally engaged staff to five years.

     - Dependents of locally engaged staff who hold A-2 visas are not eligible for employment in the United States.

     - Ongoing employment will at all times be based on an employee's ability to lawfully reside and work in the United States. 

     - If you are currently in the US with a dependent US visa that is not an A-visa or a G-visa you need to obtain an A-visa before starting employment. However, your spouse will also have to change to an A-visa and will then be unable to work. 

     - Applicants who would have to change to an A-2 visa to take up employment should seriously consider the implications before accepting an offer of employment.

A-visa holders are required to execute CIS Form I-508 on application for US lawful permanent residency or risk their application being rejected.

US Permanent Residents are required to execute CIS Form I-508 on taking up employment at a foreign mission or risk losing their US permanent resident status.


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