What the General Assembly Decided on Your Conditions of Service

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In the last weeks of December 2019, the UN General Assembly deliberated on changes to conditions of service as proposed by the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC). CCISUA representatives advocated for staff’s interests in ICSC Working Groups and met with General Assembly delegates in the lead up to their decision-taking.

The resolutions are available here. In summary, the General Assembly:

  • Approved proposed increases to the mobility and hardship allowances, benefiting field colleagues. However, a thorough review of the mobility incentive programme was requested and alternative, non-financial, incentives encouraged. CCISUA will be closely following this matter to ensure staff’s views are considered and well safeguarded;
  • Did not approve the proposed increases to the education grant, deferring the consideration to next year, and requested the ICSC to provide a detailed review on the scale and the level of the boarding lump sum. CCISUA has advocated for and supported the proposed increases, with the view that these are a natural consequence of the long period since the last increase;
  • Asked the Secretary-General to review the current system of two administrative tribunals (UN Dispute Tribunal and ILO Administrative Tribunal), following the ILO-AT judgment concerning Geneva pay cuts (see other articles on this matter here). CCISUA is concerned about any potential for interference in the independence of the ILO-AT, a long-standing judicial institution;
  • Reaffirmed the ICSC’s mandate to set post adjustment. This was in contrast to the ILO-AT’s Geneva pay cut judgments, which considered that agencies should treat ICSC decisions on post adjustment merely as recommendations.  CCISUA will monitor the potential impact of this General Assembly decision on the interpretation of the legal requirements outlined in the ICSC Statute.

CCISUA is also taking an active stand in the upcoming items on the ICSC work programme, which will be of interest and evolve significantly in the current year:

  • A proposal to review parental leave, equalizing leave for both parents at 16 weeks each and adding an additional 8 weeks for the birth mother;
  • A review of the post adjustment system after a number of serious flaws were revealed in the calculations for Geneva;
  • A review of how salaries are set for locally-recruited staff, with the aim of addressing a number of challenges with the current methodology.