Mexican Border Consular Posts Get 15% Danger Pay

Information posted in the State Department’s Office of Allowances indicates that the six border posts in Mexico were granted a 15% danger pay as of March 14, 2010. As I posted previously here, none of the Mexican posts had danger pay differential except for Reynosa (where we have a Consular Agency) prior to the Cd. Juarez murders of March 13. Now Reynosa has 0 differential but all six border posts have a 15% danger pay allowance.

Screen capture from
Allowances as of March 14, 2010

The danger pay allowance is designed to provide additional compensation above basic compensation to all U.S. Government civilian employees, including Chiefs of Mission, for service at places in foreign areas where there exist conditions of civil insurrection, civil war, terrorism or wartime conditions which threaten physical harm or imminent danger to the health or well-being of an employee.  These conditions do not include acts characterized chiefly as economic crime.

It is established by the Secretary of State when, and only when, civil insurrection, civil war, terrorism or wartime conditions threaten physical harm or imminent danger to the health or well being of a majority of employees officially stationed or detailed at a post or country/area in a foreign area.  To determine whether the situation meets the danger pay criteria, a post usually must submit the Danger Pay Factors Form (FS-578) along with pertinent supporting information to the Department of State (Office of Allowances) for review.  The Director of the Office of Allowances will chair a working group which will make a recommendation to the Assistant Secretary of State for Administration concerning a danger pay designation.

Read more here.

Danger Pay posts are reviewed periodically to ensure that the Danger Pay continues only during the existence of conditions justifying such payment, it is possible for the Danger Pay designation to be removed or modified at any time.

It is paid as a percentage of basic compensation in 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35% increments. In addition to being paid to permanently-assigned personnel, danger pay may also be paid to employees on temporary duty or detail to the post.

Danger Pay is, however, considered an “incentive” rather than a “reimbursement” and therefore is taxable according to DSSR 054.2.

The authority under the DSSR is also limited to U.S. citizens:

“DSSR 032 “Non-Citizen Employees,” states, “The allowances, post differential, danger pay, compensatory time off, advances of pay and difficult to staff incentive differential, may be paid to non-citizen employees to the extent that the payment of such allowances and differential to the non-citizen employee is authorized by any provision of law other than 5 U.S.C. 5921-5928.” This means no payment of those allowances, including Danger Pay, may be made to LES or other non-U.S. citizens absent separate legislation. For example, under a different set of laws/regulations, an agency can make a determination that “unique conditions of work” justify payment to LES of a benefit similar to Danger Pay.”

See more here.
Danger Pay Factors Form DS-578 (Formerly FS-578) is here.