How Much W.H.O Director-General Earns? Salary and Perks

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). Founded in 1948, the WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations with a broad mandate to act as a coordinating authority on international health issues.

United States were the largest funder of the WHO, providing between $400 million to $500 million each year, the Trump administration suspended financial support to the organization last year, pending a review of its COVID-19 response, and initiated a process to formally withdraw U.S. membership. On his first day in office President Joe Biden reversed this decision, and the administration has indicated it will restore U.S. funding to WHO.

The World Health Assembly (WHA – Assembly) is the forum through which the World Health Organization (WHO) is governed by its 194 member states. It is the world’s highest health policy setting body and is composed of health ministers from member states.

WHO Assembly Decision – WHA71.12 – Salary for Director-general
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It’s the Assembly’s duty to decide on the salaries of staff in ungraded positions and of the WHO Director-General.

In 2018 the WHO’s Assembly reviewed and decided on the new salary for Dr. Tedros. They agreed that Director-General’s salary will be at US$ 239 755 gross per annum, with a corresponding net salary of US$ 173 738.

But that’s not all. WHO Director-general, as all other United Nations staffers, receive also perks like the “Post Adjustment.”

The post adjustment, set by the United Nations as a percentage of the base salary, is added to the NET base salary in order to “ensure that all staff members at the same salary level have a similar purchasing power in every duty station by compensating for the differences in cost of living while taking currency fluctuations into account.”

As of March 1st, 2021 the post adjustment for UN employees working in Geneva, Switzerland is 78.9% of net salary. This brings the salary of Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to $310,817.

But it doesn’t stop there. The WHO Director-general is provided by the organization full housing for the duration of his/her tenure. At its 1962 meeting, the WHO Executive Board decided to provide “housing allowance or full housing” for it’s Director-general. Since then the practice has continued and renewed every year. Housing is separate from the above salary and post-adjustment. Considering how expensive the housing market in Geneva is, that housing allowance could be calculated at an additional $250,000 minimum per annum.

The Director-general also receives travel allowance (per diem, etc) every time he travels on behalf of the World Health Organization, plus a fully paid 30 day annual leave.


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