The Staff Union works to advocate job security, protection of salaries and established benefits, and harmonization of conditions of service.

Continuing appointments

Published Friday, 14 March 2014

The review of eligibility for continuing appointments has been completed and you have been asked to review your status by logging into Inspira, going to the "self service" menu and selecting "continuing appointments".

As you will recall, continuing appointments are open-ended contracts. Staff who fulfill a number of criteria, which include the following (described in detail in Section 2 of www.undocs.org/st/ai/2012/3), are eligible to be considered for a continuing appointment:

  • selection through a central review body
  • five years of continuous service in any entity under the UN staff rules and regulations (which can include service prior to going through the CRB)
  • at least seven years left before retirement
  • satisfactory performance ratings in the last four performance appraisal report
  • no disciplinary measures in the last five years.

Those staff who are considered eligible are ranked according to a points system, which includes factors such as performance, mobility and length of service. These are described in detail in Section 3 of www.undocs.org/st/ai/2012/3. There is a separate ranking for General Service and Professional colleagues.

Every year management conducts a review to determine which staff are eligible and to rank them. At the same time, it calculates how many continuing appointments can be awarded that year by subtracting the number of existing permanent and continuing appointments from 75 per cent of all established posts in the organization. (The number of appointments in this review period, which started in July 2012, is set out in www.undocs.org/st/ic/2013/20). If the number of eligible staff exceeds the number of available continuing appointments, the points ranking is used to determine who receives an appointment.

We encourage you to carefully go through your review in Inspira to ensure that it is in line with the criteria laid out in Section 2 of ST/AI/2012/3.

For example, if you take special leave without pay, this does not restart the five-year counter. It simply pauses it while you are on leave.

If you go on secondment to a UN entity, the time on secondment counts towards the five years.

Therefore, please check carefully.
For information, there are certain elements of continuing appointments that we opposed at the time but were nevertheless passed by the General Assembly. These include:

  • the 75 per cent ceiling - there was no ceiling previously for permanent appointments nor does such a ceiling exist in national systems
  • the need to have been through a central review body - if you have done the time and performed well you should get the appointment

We are also unhappy that the current review period has taken so long. It started in July 2012 and is still ongoing, despite reminders sent to management from our side. This has meant that anyone taking SLWOP during this period has found themselves removed from the review and will have to wait until the next review, hopefully within a year, but who knows? We have raised this matter with management in New York.

Benefits

Education grant

The education grant as a benefit stipulated in the staff rules for internationally recruited staff members serving outside their home country remains unchanged. The mobilization of all staff and the many thousands of signatures that were collected in 2008 to support of the current methodology for awarding the grant played an important role in the decision taken by ICSC during its sixty-seventh session, held in July 2008, not to make any changes. Staff representatives at the ICSC session, as well as the entirety of the Human Resources Network, spoke out strongly against a potential erosion of staff entitlements. Particularly important was the participation of staff representatives from Vienna who represented CCISUA in a working group meeting that was held in New York in June 2008, at which the details of the proposed reform were discussed and challenged.

End of Service Payment

Another issue on which the Staff Union advocated better condition of service and benefits for staff is the end of service payments. A research paper commissioned through our federation (Coordinating Committee for International Staff Unions and Associations of the United Nations System - CCISUA) which shows that in almost all Members States surveyed - 18 of 22 from all regions - there exists some legally required form of severance payment to staff whose continuing contracts are terminated. These measures make up an essential part of the employment protection legislation which most of our Member States have put in place for their citizens, and for their own civil servants. In November 2009, President of CCISUA addressed the 5 th Committee and pointed out that UN staff have not been given the choice of having the protections available to the nationals of Member States. UN staff who have been faithfully serving the organization for many years are left without the basic form of social protection upon the expiration of a long series of contracts.

The ICSC proposed that this could be redressed by approving separation payments on expiry of contracts for staff who have been serving 10 years or more on fixed term contracts. Staff representatives argued that separation payments should be payable upon expiration of contracts after five years of continuing service to the Organization. The call for a severance payment is not to gain "yet another" entitlement for staff. Its goal is to guarantee the permanence, the loyalty and the independence of the international civil servant and to re-create an international civil service worthy of this name - a civil service which would reflect internationally, the best practices among the public services of our own Member States. The General Assembly unfortunately did not take a decision on the matter.

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