General Assembly resolutions affecting staff

 

We would like to share with you recent resolutions just adopted by the 5th Committee of the General Assembly, which impact us all. Key issues for staff are the following:

  • on mobility (HR resolution, Paragraphs 50 to 59), Member States take note of the mobility proposal (developed through several townhalls with you last year), and acknowledge that its implementation is subject to further decisions, refinement and approval by the General Assembly. Member States have reservations about priority for internal candidates and at the request of one member, the resolution also asks for an alternative policy.
  • on travel, (Budget resolution, Section VI), Member States request in practice that business class travel be provided after nine hours of flying time and not nine hours of total journey time. Therefore single leg journeys of at least nine hours flying time qualify for business as well as multi-leg journey of 11 hours journey time including up to 2 hours of transit. This compromise position, while recognizing the organization's difficult financial position, avoids the option that was being pushed hard by donor countries of 14 hours total journey time for business class. You may recall that the staff unions had taken a strong position on this matter.
  • on home leave, travel entitlements of a return ticket to the home country for the staff member and dependents remain unchanged. However, staff requesting the lump sum option will obtain 70% instead of 75% of the least restrictive economy fare. The General Assembly does not appear to be convinced that the lump sum system presents significant savings in terms of administrative resources.
  • on retirement, the position remains unchanged. New staff members entering from January 2014 retire at 65. Meanwhile the International Civil Service Commission will carry out a strategic review on whether current staff should have the right to choose retirement at 65. We will be providing input to this and have already stated our position that staff should have the right to choose to retire at 65. However, it is unlikely that any decision on this will be taken before next year.
  • on compensation for professional staff, the status quo is maintained in terms of the education grant and our margin vis-à-vis US federal civil servants.

While these are draft resolutions, their adoption by the General Assembly plenary would usually be a formality. Any change to travel would require the preparation of an administrative issuance, so would not be applicable immediately. We are carefully examining these resolutions for other impacts on staff and will keep you informed.