For the first 12 months of person’s involvement working internationally for MSF and/or if they are only involved for short periods of time (less than 12 months in total), MSF offers an indemnity to remove economic barriers for them to be able to volunteer (as opposed to a modest salary if they are committing in the longer term).

The concept of indemnity, which is the translation of the principle of “volunteerism” into MSF compensation, implies that international staff do not yet receive a salary for work, but a contribution from MSF – an indemnity – intended to contribute minimally to expenses they may have back in their country of domicile during their first 12 months in the field with MSF.

The amount of indemnity is fixed at 80% of the gross amount of the midpoint of the lowest salary level of the Global Grid, and applies to all irrespective of the position taken. A home-based top-up is also paid for those from some countries of domicile, which is set at 77% of the country top-up amount.

The indemnity period, fixed at 12 months in duration, may be shorter if the international staff has previous experience working in MSF headquarters, as MSF national staff, or other NGO field experience. To determine how long an employee will stay on the indemnity level, MSF looks at the amount of qualifying experience, regardless of whether the job performed (and the competencies acquired) match the job taken with MSF.

Following the indemnity period, the staff member will start to receive a salary based on their job's level of responsibility and their experience.