23 January 2023

We shared with you the positive outcome of the ICSC decision to change the UN Parental Leave framework to a much more appropriate model, providing sixteen weeks for both parents in addition to ten weeks for the birth mother. 

This is a significant improvement on the old rules. It allows the equal sharing of childcare duties, enables the WHO-recommended six months of exclusive breastfeeding and provides equal treatment for same-sex partnerships, adoption and surrogacy.

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In advance of the resolution, UN management agreed with staff unions that all parents eligible for parental leave on 1 January, including those of children born in 2022, would benefit, in line with usual human resources practice.

However, UN management has now gone back on their word and we have been informed that they only want to apply the policy to children born in 2023, thus immediately cutting off most currently eligible parents and children.

This news came to us as a shock, and the unions collectively felt that this policy interpretation was not in line with the text and intent of the GA Resolution.

Consequently, we have requested ASG OHR to delay the new policy issuance, and we decided collectively to send a letter to the UN Secretary-General indicating our disappointment, asking him not to penalize UN parents of children born in 2022, and to ensure that all eligible parents benefit from the new gender-neutral parental leave.

We will be following up on the issue in the Staff Management Committee. We hope to resolve this quickly and will keep you updated.