The IMF's compensation system seeks to ensure competitiveness in the market sectors in which the Fund competes for staff, and effectiveness in supporting the recruitment and retention of a diverse, multinational staff meeting the highest standards of quality and professionalism. It is also structured and administered in a way that provides effective incentives for high standards of performance and ensures internal equity and consistency.
Two basic principles guide the design and operation of the system: (a) it is comparator-based, with periodic reviews of market comparability to provide the basis for ensuring that the Fund's salary structure and staff salaries are maintained at competitive levels in relevant markets; and (b) it is rules-based, which requires that compensation reviews be conducted in accordance with an established methodology, within defined parameters, in setting competitive salary levels and ensure consistency.
Positions in the Fund are evaluated and grouped into 19 job grades so that positions with broadly similar job content are placed in the same grade, and positions in each successively higher grade have progressively greater duties and responsibilities. The 19 grades are identified as Grades A1-A15 and Grades B1-B5. Grades A1-A8 comprise support staff positions; Grades A9-A15 are professional positions; and Grades B1-B5 cover senior staff positions with managerial responsibilities.
The IMF strives to treat all staff equitably regardless of nationality, a principle which extends to tax treatment. The Fund's base salaries in Washington, DC, are paid net-of-tax. However, because some staff members are liable to income taxation on their Fund earnings while others are not, tax equalization adjustments are applied to two potential sources of inequity:
- Tax Allowance for U.S. Taxpayers
Although IMF member countries have agreed to exempt from taxation Fund staff who are nationals of other countries, they may impose taxes on their own nationals. As the United States taxes U.S. nationals on their Fund earnings, the Fund pays a "tax allowance" to staff members paid on a net-of-tax basis who are subject to U.S. national, state, or local income tax on their Fund compensation.
- Spouse & Child Allowance
Since most national tax systems differentiate among individuals according to their marital status and the number of their dependents, the Fund provides a Spouse and Child Allowance (SCA) to qualifying employees to account for this differentiation in its net-of-tax salary system. The SCA is available to all staff regardless of nationality, provided their spouse and/or children meet the age and income criteria established by the policy.
Because U.S. estate and gift tax laws apply different rates of taxation to the estates of U.S. and non-U.S. citizens, the Fund's Estate Tax Safety Net seeks to ensure that non-U.S. staff, or those with non-U.S. spouses, are treated in a comparable manner to U.S. staff and spouses.