In 2019 the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) established a working group to examine the parental leave entitlements of the United Nations common system in a holistic and comprehensive manner, and to develop a proposal for consideration by the ICSC.
The former President of your Staff Union, on behalf of CCISUA, actively participated in that working group and significantly contributed to the outcome of its deliberations.
In December 2022 the General Assembly approved new, gender-neutral rules on parental leave that provide 16 weeks for both parents in addition to 10 weeks for the birth mother. The updated Staff Rules have been promulgated effective 1 January 2023, codifying the increase of parental leave entitlements.
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 from the new policy.
Unfortunately, UN management reversed its apparent position and informed staff representatives that they only wanted to apply the policy to children born on or after 1 January 2023, thus immediately cutting off most currently eligible parents and children.
The unions collectively agreed that this policy interpretation was not in line with the text and intent of the GA resolution and would not be legally sound.
We decided to send a letter to the UN Secretary-General indicating our disappointment and asking him to ensure that all eligible parents benefit from the new parental leave.
While the ST/AI/2023/2 on Parental leave and family leave limits the scope of the Staff Rule 6.3 (a) ST/SGB/2023/1, the text of that Rule clearly stipulates that parents may avail of parental leave within the first year after birth or adoption.
Parents with children who fall under this category are encouraged to reach out to their HR partners and to request that they wish to avail of the additional parental leave in line with the above mentioned Staff Rule.
More information about the legal options regarding parental leave for children born in 2022 are available here.