Advances to staff
(1) At the 42nd session (September 1975) CCAQ agreed to a set of principles for determining the currency and procedures for the recovery of advances to staff. These principles (CO-ORDINATION/R.1114, paras. 30 and 31) were:
(a) (i) In the case of advances to staff in the Professional and higher grades, the staff members' liability shall be recorded in US dollars or, if the organization maintains its accounts in another currency, in that currency.
(ii) In the case of General Service staff, advances in local currency shall be recorded in that currency, while advances in any other currency shall be recorded as in (i) above.
(b) All repayments shall be calculated so as to effect full recovery of the amount recorded.
(c) Advances shall normally be recovered in the currency in which they are made or in the currency in which they are recorded.
(2) At the 55th session (September 1981) it was agreed that within the framework of these agreed principles rental advances made in local currency should be recorded in US dollars and reimbursed either in US dollars or in local currency (at the exchange rate at the time of recovery), at the choice of the staff member (ACC/1981/30, para. 51).
(3) At the 55th session the Committee further examined information on the practices of the organizations with respect to "ad hoc" salary advances to international staff (initial recruitment and reassignment advances; rental advances; advances for the purchase of a private vehicle). Noting the differences which this information brought to light, it decided to examine at its next session any suggestions that might be put forward with a view to the harmonization of procedures (ACC/1981/30, para. 53).
(4) In returning to this matter at the 56th session (March 1982) the Committee agreed that further study of it should concentrate on field project personnel, to whom credit facilities were less readily available than to other staff; advances for the purchase of special equipment (e.g. air conditioners) could be added to the types of advances already identified for examination. The CCAQ secretariat was asked to circulate proposals at the next session to assist the Committee in determining whether common conditions could be envisaged as regards criteria of eligibility, maximum amounts, maximum periods of recovery and related subjects (ACC/1982/6, paras. 23-25).
(5) At the 57th session (September 1982) the Committee considered the material which it had requested. Most participants took the view that standardization would not be appropriate in the case of the advances in question, which were not part of staff entitlements (ACC/1982/25, paras. 34 and 35).
(6) At the 58th session (March 1983) the Committee's attention was drawn to the problems encountered in applying the principles for the recovery of salary advances where the currency in which the advance had been made underwent a substantial devaluation vis-à-vis the currency of account before the advance had been recovered. It was agreed that the principles should be maintained subject to ad hoc exceptions when they led to genuine hardship (ACC/1983/11, paras. 39 and 40).
(7) At the 61st session (September 1984) it was agreed that CCAQ should study problems that had led organizations to depart in recent cases from the principles, on the basis of documentation to be prepared by the secretariat (ACC/1984/17, para. 42).
(8) At the 62nd session (March 1985) the Committee agreed that in the case of rental advances, which were required as a matter of necessity at some duty stations, it was appropriate to protect Professional staff members stationed in countries whose currency had undergone an abrupt and substantial devaluation during the period of recovery of an advance made in local currency but recoverable, under the CCAQ principles, in US dollars. It requested, for consideration at its next session, a study showing the advantages and disadvantages of the types of measures that had been applied to deal with this problem, and taking account of the purpose for which the rental subsidy had been introduced (ACC/1985/7, paras. 44-47).
(9) At the 63rd session (September 1983) the Committee reverted to this matter on the basis of explanatory textual and tabular material. The special measures adopted had been of three types: separate ad hoc payments by the organization, a revised rental subsidy scheme under which the rental subsidy was frozen at its original level in dollar terms, and treatment of the advance as a receivable denominated in local currency. The discussion centred on the second and third types. For some members the second was preferable in that it maintained the principle of shared responsibility embodied in the rental subsidy scheme, while for others the third made a desirable distinction between the rental subsidy and the recovery of an advance made at a past date. The Committee agreed to return to the matter at the next session, and requested for that session supplementary material showing how the three kinds of arrangements operated where there were differing patterns of rental subsidy payments (ACC/1985/17, paras. 31 and 32).
(10) The material submitted at the 64th session (March 1986) dealt mainly with the operation of the second type of arrangement where there were different assumed levels of personal rental subsidy thresholds. Opinion remained divided as the advantages and disadvantages of this and of the third type of arrangement mentioned above. It appeared that since the conditions under which either system would be applied were rare, uniformity of practice might be less important than in other matters relating to the payment of salaries and allowances. However, common criteria might be agreed as regards the circumstances in which either scheme would be applied; ILO and WHO were requested to submit proposals on this subject (ACC/1986/4, paras. 22 and 23).
(11) The proposals submitted by these organizations at the 65th session (September 1986) emphasized that the problem could arise only where (a) there was a local housing market in which advance rental payments covering an extended period were required; and (b) there had been a major and sudden devaluation of local currency. It was suggested that the main imperative was for organizations to take concerted action in such circumstances, whatever the formula used. After discussion, the organizations which had been unfavourable to the third type of arrangement (treatment of the advances as a receivable denominated in local currency) dropped their objections on the condition that this formula would be uniformly applied in all cases where the organizations judged, after consultations, that there was a need to approve requests from Professional field staff for the application of special measures for the recovery of rental advances. This was agreed by the Committee, on the understanding that the special arrangement would be applied only where the rental advance had been made in local currency (ACC/1986/12, paras. 35-38).
(12) On the basis of a report of its field working group, CCAQ(PER) noted (68th session, February-March 1988) that the granting of salary advances to local staff was not a satisfactory solution to the problem of their limited access to credit; the broader issue of whether local credit unions could be established, or access to loan facilities provided in some other way, should be investigated (ACC/1988/4, para. 86).
(13) At its 69th session (July 1988) CCAQ(PER) considered a number of suggestions by its secretariat intended to reduce disparities in the granting of advances to international staff against salaries and allowances, particularly in the field. While the Committee viewed these suggestions as guidelines it agreed that they could not be considered as system-wide standards (ACC/1988/12, paras. 87-90).
(14) For advances against daily subsistence allowance, see section 4.3.