The US today strongly refuted reports that its diplomatic missions overseas at times pay less than a dollar a day salary, saying its compensation plans are based on "prevailing wage rates and compensation practices" in the locality of employment.
"This is untrue," Emily Horne, a State Department spokesperson, said when asked about a 2009 report of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the State Department according to which some local employees hired by the US diplomatic missions overseas earned less than USD 1 a day.
"In accordance with section 408 of the Foreign Service Act of 1980 our compensation plans are based on prevailing wage rates and compensation practices in the locality of employment," she said.
She said the US purchases commercial salary survey data from global professional consulting companies and try to place itself in a fair and competitive position in each market.
"We also try to pay benefits that are prevailing practice in any given location. In markets where there is high inflation or economic and political instability we keep a close eye on salaries and adjust accordingly," Horne said.
The US recruits thousands of local employees overseas to assist its diplomats. In 2008 it had more than 51,000 local staff working across the world.