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Employment Opportunities - Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and answers that may help you understand more about the Justice Sector Assistance Programs in Iraq.

Please see also Department of State Iraq Job Opportunities.


Iraq

What living conditions should I expect?

What will be done to ensure my safety?

How long are the assignments?

What will my status be during the assignment?

How will my pay be affected?

If I am scheduled to be in Iraq for one year, will I be able to take leave or come home to visit my family during the detail?

Will my current benefits change while I am serving in Iraq?

Is medical and dental care provided for non-emergency care?

If I am injured while deployed, who pays for my medical bills?

What is the dress code?

Do I need to bring cash or can I use debit and credit cards?

Will I be able to send and receive personal mail?

What types of services are available to employees at the Embassy compound?


What living conditions should I expect?

Employees will live in apartment buildings located on the Embassy compound. Each apartment is assigned two occupants and consists of two separate bedrooms, each with its own lock and key, flat screen TV w/DVD player, telephone, full or queen-size bed, dresser, nightstand, desk and closets. Each bedroom is wired for Internet access. The occupants will share a kitchen, a small common area, and a bathroom. The apartments are fully furnished, including all kitchen appliances (refrigerator, oven/range, microwave, dishwasher), glassware, dinnerware, flatware, linens, towels, ironing board, iron, and cleaning aids (vacuum cleaner, mops, brooms). In addition, the apartments are air conditioned. American Forces Network (AFN) TV and satellite cable TV is provided. Laundry facilities are available on each floor of the building.

What will be done to ensure my safety?

All applicants should be aware that Iraq is a zone of active combat operations. Applicants should consider the risks involved in determining whether this assignment is right for them.

The Embassy compound, located in the International Zone (IZ), is heavily guarded and fortified. Employees assigned to a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) reside inside an U.S. military base with the requisite level of force protection. While off the compound, military base or IZ, employees are under the protection of U.S. Forces or under the protection of a Personal Security Detail approved by the Regional Security Officer (RSO) for the U.S. Embassy. All employees are under Chief of Mission authority and must comply with rules set by the RSO.

How long are the assignments?

Employees are expected to spend 12 months in Iraq. The assignments of employees selected to fill OPDAT Resident Legal Advisor positions lasts 14 months and includes training and briefings before and after assignment.

What will my status be during the assignment?

Employees will continue to be employed by his/her office/agency with no break in federal service during the assignment. Employees selected for assignments at the Embassy will be on a Temporary Duty (TDY) status, while those selected for OPDAT Resident Legal Advisor positions will be on a Permanent Change of Duty Station (PCS) status.

How will my pay be affected?

Employees on PCS status will receive their base annual pay (without U.S. locality adjustment). Additional compensation may be available. Employees on TDY status will maintain their current salary with locality pay while on assignment. In addition, both PCS and TDY employees will receive danger pay (35% of base salary) and post (hardship) differential (35%). Non-attorneys on TDY may be eligible for overtime.

If I am scheduled to be in Iraq for one year, will I be able to take leave or come home to visit my family during the detail?

Yes. Employees on a one year assignment are eligible for Rest and Recuperation (R&R) and/or Regional Rest Breaks travel benefits. Those who are assigned or detailed to Iraq for twelve (12) months or more are eligible to receive either three (3) R&R trips to the United States or London, and no RRBs; or two (2) Special R&R trips to the United States or London, and three (3) RRBs. Employees are eligible for up to a total of 20 days of Administrative Leave to use while on R&R and/or RRB.

Will my current benefits change while I am serving in Iraq?

No. You will retain all the benefits you have prior to deployment. You are strongly encouraged to review all of your benefits and designations of beneficiaries to ensure that elections and designations are current. Furthermore, you should ensure that your family is aware of your benefits and their entitlements based upon your service, and is provided a point of contact for assistance during your deployment.

Is medical and dental care provided for non emergency care?

Yes, but the services are limited. The State Department Embassy Health Unit provides primary Care-level services. Some additional services may be available at some of the military bases. Limited pharmacy support is available, but should not be counted on for replenishment of long-term medications. In the event of an emergency, medical evacuation (medivac) will be coordinated by the Health Unit and the military.

If I am injured while deployed, who pays for my medical bills?

While deployed, you will be covered by the Federal Employees Compensation Act Program, known as FECA. Any medical care provided in Iraq will be covered. If you require further care once you return to the United States, FECA will cover your medical expenses. Any injury sustained while serving is administered under the same process as an injury arising in the course of your position of record. The Office of Workers Compensation has a dedicated unit to process claims arising from injuries sustained in Iraq. These units provide prompt service to injured civil servants.

What is the dress code?

The Embassy is transitioning to a “normal” embassy environment. Therefore, employees assigned to work at the Embassy are expected to dress in business attire during regular work hours. It is recommended for the attorneys to bring one or two suits. On days off (Friday and Saturday), casual attire, such as jeans and dockers, is acceptable.

At the PRTs, the dress code is more relaxed and employees usually wear comfortable clothing such as 511 apparel, cargo pants, polo shirts, etc. However, if visiting the Embassy compound, you should adhere to its dress code.

Do I need to bring cash or can I use debit and credit cards?

Credit cards and travelers checks are not yet a means for transacting business in Iraq. Shop owners only accept cash, including U.S. Dollars. It is recommended that employees bring cash as well as their checkbooks to Iraq, where checks can be cashed at the military finance station, or Embassy cashier. Recently, Al-Warka, an Iraqi bank, opened a branch office at the Embassy and offers basic bank services such as wire transfers, savings/checking accounts, and cashing checks. There is also an ATM machine available on the Embassy compound. Credit/debit cards and checks are accepted at the military post exchange.

Will I be able to send and receive personal mail?

Yes. The Embassy is serviced by an Army Post Office (APO) facility. Packages and mail can be received and sent through the APO at normal US postal rates. U.S. mail delivery normally takes an average of 10 days to reach its destination, sometimes longer depending on the security situation. Customs forms are required for packages. Maximum weight for parcels is 70 pounds.

What types of services are available to employees at the Embassy compound?

While on assignment, the following services are available to you at no cost: motor pool, free laundry service (both drop-off and self service) and dry cleaning; full-service cafeteria; small theater; two gyms; indoor swimming pool; and shuttle bus. Barber shop and beauty salon services are also available for a nominal fee.

A small Army and Air Force post exchange is located on the Embassy compound and maintains a stock of basic toiletries along with snack and quick food, beverages (including alcoholic beverages), basic clothing items, photo supplies, cleaning supplies, and a limited supply of electronics, periodicals, and DVDs.

Updated: June 2013