Introductory note.The main lines of the existing system of salaries and allowances were established as the result of a 1949 enquiry by a Committee of Experts (the Flemming Committee) set up under the auspices of ACC, after consultation between the UN Secretary-General and the UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ).
(1) At the 1st and 2nd sessions (1948) UN informed agencies about UN proposals for a staff assessment plan (General Assembly resolution 239(III)(1948). The Tax Equalization Fund which was set up much later in UN is dealt with in General Assembly resolution 973(X)(1955).
(2) The question of adoption of a common gross salary system was revived at the second part of the 21st session (July/August 1960: CO-ORDINATION/R.336, paras. 19-20), and at the first part of the 22nd session (January and March 1961: CO-ORDINATION/R.351, paras. 9-11). The representatives of organizations not using a gross system indicated their intention of proposing the adoption of such a system provided agreement could be reached on certain modification of rates. This was done at that session. At the second part of the 22nd session (July 1961: CO-ORDINATION/R.373, para. 8) agreement was reached on the paper to be submitted to UN General Assembly. The revised rates of assessment were approved by UN General Assembly at its 16th session (1961) (UN document A/C.5/873). At the 23rd session (1962: CO-ORDINATION/R.391, para. ll), CCAQ was informed that while UN and ICAO were still the only organizations with the gross system, the legislative bodies of FAO and WHO had accepted it in principle, and the executive heads of ILO, UNESCO and IAEA had told their legislative bodies that they intended to submit proposals on the matter. It was hoped that schemes would begin to go into effect in 1964 and 1965; the manner of budget presentation might differ from that followed in UN, but the staff would be on a gross contract basis. The tax equalization plan, however, was a separate matter, on which agencies had not yet taken a position.
(3) It was agreed at the 23rd session (1962: CO-ORDINATION/R.391, para. 13) that the revised rates of staff assessment in UN, which were being applied to General Service staff only as the need arose to revise their basic scales, would in any case be made effective in all areas not later than l January 1964.
(4) At the 24th session (March 1963: CO-ORDINATION/R.430, paras. 17-18) CCAQ noted that ILO, FAO, WHO and GATT expected to introduce a gross system on 1 January 1964, and UNESCO on 1 January 1965.
(5) At its 26th session (1965: CO-ORDINATION/R.430, para. ll) CCAQ agreed on revised rates of staff assessment to be submitted to ICSAB in connection with the 1965 review of salaries of the Professional and higher categories (see CO-ORDINATION/R.488/Add.2 - subsequently approved by the executive heads and issued as ICSAB/XIII/R.9). The proposed new rates were approved by ICSAB - see ICSAB/XIII/4.
(6) The new rates of staff assessment recommended by ICSAB were approved by UN General Assembly in resolution 2050(XX), effective 1 January 1966 in the case of the Professional and higher categories; and in the case of other staff from such date as the Secretary-General might decide.
(7) At its Special Session No. 1 (January 1976: CO-ORDINATION/R.1133, para. 5 and Add.2) CCAQ agreed on a draft ACC text (later cleared by correspondence) for ICSC on remuneration of the Professional category, proposing new staff assessment rates.
(8) At its 3rd session (March 1976: ICSC/R.42, paras. 32-38 and 64), in the course of its continuing review of the UN salary system, ICSC reached a number of tentative conclusions on the staff assessment scheme. CCAQ adopted draft ACC comments on them at its resumed 43rd session (April 1976: CO-ORDINATION/ R.1162/Add.l, paras. 7 and 8).
(9) Also at its resumed 43rd session (CO-ORDINATION/R.1162, paras. l0 and l1), CCAQ agreed on the application of staff assessment on the basis of somewhat wider gross salary brackets at $28,000 and up (as prepared by ICSC secretariat) to keep gross salaries of the highest grades, after consolidation, at levels as near as possible to those of present pensionable remuneration.
(10) At its 44th session (June/July 1976: CO-ORDINATION/R.1168, paras. 20-23), CCAQ gave attention to the transitional measures that might be required by the proposed reforms to the staff assessment scheme and the post adjustment system; it agreed that the least objectionable method of instituting transitional allowances was, rather than cutting pay, to withhold or reduce the pay increase that occurred when a staff member was promoted, was granted a within-grade salary increment or was due for a pay increase under a general salary adjustment.
(11) In its second annual report (UN document A/31/30, paras. 58, 190, 196-203), on the basis of its review of the salary system, ICSC concluded that a staff assessment scheme should be maintained for the time being. It further concluded (paras. 59, 204-210 and 247) that rather than through the post adjustment system the differentiation between overall net remuneration for staff members with dependants and those without should be effected through differentiated rates of staff assessment applied to a uniform gross salary.
(12) The Commission recommended revised scales of staff assessment for the Professional and higher categories, to enter into force from 1 January 1977 (paras. 67, 204-210, 236 and 247, and Annexes VII and VIII). However, pending the outcome of its study on General Service remuneration it recommended that the existing rates of staff assessment continue to apply temporarily to that category (paras. 84, 340-344). (For ACC's comments on the Commission's report see CO-ORDINATION/R.1176, paras. 6-8 and Annex III.) The General Assembly adopted the Commission's recommendations in resolution 3l/141 of l7 December 1976.
(13) Dealing with implementation of the recent reforms of the salary system, CCAQ at its 46th session (January 1977: CO-ORDINATION/R.l203, para. 7) agreed that where both husband and wife were staff members, only one of them should be entitled to the dependency rate of staff assessment. (Note by secretariat: spouse receiving the higher salary is paid the dependent rate).
(14) A CCAQ working party on staff assessment for the General Service category reported to part II of the Committee's 46th session (February-March 1977: CO-ORDINATION/R.1208, paras. 7 and 8) and recommended further study of two alternative scales. CCAQ approved the recommendations and agreed to prepare a paper for ICSC.
(15) At its 47th session (August 1977: CO-ORDINATION/R.1237, paras. 6-15 and Annex III) CCAQ concluded that it would be premature to put forward at that time any specific proposal for a General Service staff assessment scale; it agreed on a text for ICSC setting out the advantages and disadvantages of various approaches.
(16) In its third annual report (UN document A/32/30, paras. 187 and l88) ICSC stated that in the absence of any recommendation from the organizations on staff assessment for the General Service category it felt unable to recommend a course of action and requested CCAQ to complete its study of the matter in time for the Commission to make a recommendation to the General Assembly at its 33rd (1978) session; in the meantime, in the case of Geneva, it suggested prolonging the existing temporary arrangements, i.e. application of the pre-1977 scale. See also A/32/30, Annex III.M. In comments on the ICSC report adopted in draft form at the second part of CCAQ's 47th session (October 1977), ACC maintained that the question of establishing a new scale of staff assessment for the General Service category must be separated from the immediate task of recommending a new salary scale for one headquarters duty station (CO-ORDINATION/R.1237/Add.l, Annex II; issued in final form as UN document A/32/362).
(17) In its fourth annual report (UN document A/33/30, paras. 293-296) ICSC concluded that the question of staff assessment for the General Service category had to be considered in the context of the general issue of pensions and pensionable remuneration, to which it had been asked to address itself as a matter of urgency by ACC, in conjunction with the UNJSPB. Consequently, it made no recommendations regarding these rates of staff assessment. It did recommend that in using the existing scale of staff assessments to derive pensionable remuneration for that category, instead of the spot exchange rate in force on the day the scale was established, the exchange rates averaged over a period of time should be used in all duty stations which were affected by major changes in currency exchange values.
(18) In its sixth annual report (1980) (UN document A/35/30, paras. 95-102) ICSC recommended and the General Assembly subsequently approved, effective l January 1981, consolidation of 30 points of post adjustment into base salary, entailing a modification of the staff assessment scales for the Professional and higher categories.
(19) In the same report ICSC recommended and the General Assembly subsequently approved, effective 1 January 1981, new scales of staff assessment for the General Service category (paras. 76-87). These were based on tax rates in the seven headquarters locations and in the l0 countries where regional offices were located.
(20) At its 16th session (July 1982) ICSC reviewed a proposal by FICSA to revise the staff assessment scales for the General Service category, but postponed action pending recommendations to be made to it by its secretariat (8th annual report, A/37/30, para. 191).
(21) At its l7th session (March 1983) ICSC considered proposals for revised staff assessment scales for the General Service category. In the light of adverse reactions to these proposals by both CCAQ and the staff representatives it decided not to recommend any change in the existing scales (9th annual report, A/38/30, para. 74).
(22) In its tenth annual report (1984) (UN document A/39/30, paras. 120-141 and annex V) ICSC recommended and the General Assembly subsequently approved, effective 1 January 1985, consolidation of 20 points of post adjustment into base salary, entailing a modification of the staff assessment scales for the Professional and higher categories.
(23) After study in 1985 and the meeting of a tripartite working group (ICSC secretariat, administrations and staff) in January 1986, the Commission, at its 24th session, recommended to the General Assembly a new staff assessment scale for the General Service category, for implementation effective 1 January 1987. The recommended scale would be used at each duty station as of the date of the first salary revision (A/41/30, paras. 139-140). Transitional measures were recommended whereby existing rates of pensionable remuneration would be maintained if the new rates of staff assessment applied to revised net salaries were to produce lower gross salaries. The transitional arrangements would remain in effect until existing gross salaries were overtaken as a result of revisions to the relevant salary scale. These recommendations were approved by the General Assembly, effective 1 January 1987 (resolution 41/207, III).
(24) CCAQ agreed, meanwhile, to place on its work programme the development of alternative approaches to the establishment of General Service staff assessment which would mitigate the effects of exchange rate variations (ACC/1986/3, para. 39).
(25) At its 26th session (July 1987) (A/42/30, paras. 119-122) ICSC recommended to the General Assembly revised rates of staff assessment to be used in conjunction with gross base salaries and gross amounts of separation payments. One set of rates would apply to staff members with a dependent spouse or dependent child, and another set to staff with neither. The proposed changes in the scale of staff assessment and the consequent changes in the base salary scale would take effect from 1 April 1988. In making this recommendation, ICSC emphasized that the sole objective of the proposed change was to increase the revenues of the Tax Equalization Fund. The General Assembly accepted the recommendation (resolution 42/221, section II).
(26) Pursuant to the adoption by the General Assembly of a new salary scale for the Professional and higher categories, effective 1 July 1990, a new scale of staff assessment became effective on that date (resolution 44/198 and annex I).
(27) The scale was again revised with effect from 1 March 1991 to reflect the new salary scale for Professional and higher-level staff that became effective on that date in accordance with Assembly resolution 45/241.
(28) In 1991 ICSC recommended to the General Assembly a revised scale of staff assessment for the General Service and related categories based on the latest tax data for 25 countries (A/46/30, vol. I, paras. 72-90). The Assembly adopted ICSC's recommendation (resolution 46/191).
(29) At its 38th session in August 1993, ICSC, at the request of the Assembly (resolution 47/219 XXVI), reviewed the rates of staff assessment and recommended a revised scale for use in conjunction with gross base salaries for the Professional and higher categories with effect from 1 March 1994 (A/48/30, para. 206). The General Assembly adopted the revised scale (resolution 48/224 IV).
(30) At its 40th session in June 1994, ICSC, at the request of the Assembly, reviewed the rates of staff assessment in conjunction with changes in the base/floor salary scale. It noted that the substantial changes in 1994 had followed an extended period in which no change had taken place, in spite of a number of changes in the salary scale, and decided to make no recommendation for revised staff assessment rates (A/49/30, para. 179).
(31) At its 84th session (April 1996: CCAQ(PER)/84/Rev.1, annex IV) CCAQ, pending the completion of further tests of the variants proposed to reduce the anomaly of income inversion where the pensionable remuneration levels of General Service staff were significantly higher than those of Professional staff at the same or higher net remuneration levels, expressed a preference for the equal weighting of the tax rates of the seven headquarters duty stations and for the use of retiree tax deductions in developing a common staff assessment scale. The use of a partial grossing-up factor would be consistent with the use of retiree deductions while the use of employee tax deductions would not be. CCAQ also requested that the impact of a common scale on staff at the lower end of the scale, with low salaries in dollar terms, be examined carefully. ICSC tentatively concluded that the use of equal weights, the use of a regression line and employee deductions were preferable but that retiree deductions should be studied further (ICSC/43/R.16, para. 92).
(32) At its 85th session (July 1996: ACC/1996/14, paras. 26-29) CCAQ expressed its appreciation for the efforts by the ICSC secretariat to produce a scale which best accommodated and least offended the competing objectives of introducing a common scale of staff assessment and which reduced the phenomenon of income inversion without adversely impacting on pensionable remuneration levels at the lower end of the scale nor increasing them at the upper end. CCAQ also offered to cooperate in the development of an acceptable scale. ICSC concluded that the tax systems at the seven headquarters duty stations should be equally weighted in aggregating the net-to-gross tax relationship among them, that the tax calculations should be based on employee deductions and that the same regression analysis method should be used in smoothing the net-to-gross relationship for single and married staff for all categories. ICSC accordingly recommended a common scale of staff assessment and related implementation modalities for staff in the General Service and related categories (A/51/30, paras. 105-108). The recommendations were approved by the Assembly in resolution 51/216 III.
(33) At its 88th session (April 1998: ACC/1998/5, para. 30) CCAQ concurred with the conclusion of ICSC secretariat that the current common scale of staff assessment should continue to apply and noted that the methodological issues, with which CCAQ continued to be concerned, would be examined at the time of the next comprehensive review of pensionable remuneration. CCAQ also expressed to ICSC concern at some of the assumptions in an actuarial study on the value of the UNJSPF scheme and that of local employers in Montreal in the context of comparing rates of staff assessment and local tax rates at Headquarters duty stations. ICSC decided to report to the General Assembly that the common staff assessment scale should continue to apply and that it maintained its position that the local practice approach should not be further pursued (A/53/30, paras. 215 & 224-225). The General Assembly in resolution 53/209 I E took note of ICSC's conclusion and endorsed its position on the local practice approach.
(34) At its 52nd session (July-August 2000: ICSC/52/R.16, para. 79) ICSC examined the changes in taxes at the seven headquarters duty stations on which the common scale of staff assessment was based. CCAQ supported the recommendation of the ICSC secretariat that the current scale should continue to apply. ICSC decided (A/55/30, para. 102) to report to the General Assembly that the current common scale should continue to apply and should again be reviewed at the time of the next comprehensive review of pensionable remuneration in 2004 at which time the issue of tax deductions related to employees or retirees raised by the ICSC secretariat for the construction of the staff assessment rates would be addressed.
(35) At its April 2002 meeting (CEB/2002/HLCM/8, para. 10) the HR Network noted the proposal that the current common scale of staff assessment, which had been in effect since 1 January 1997, should continue to apply and be reviewed at the time of the next comprehensive review of pensionable remuneration in 2004. The Commission decided to report to the General Assembly to that effect (A/57/30, para. 96).
(36) At its July 2004 meeting (CEB/2004/HLCM/25, para. 17) the HR Network noted that the ICSC secretariat recommended that the current common scale of staff assessment of 1 January 1997 should continue to be applied and would be reviewed at the time of the comprehensive review of pensionable remuneration. It looked forward to dialogue on this matter between the ICSC secretariat, organizations and staff representatives. It requested the ICSC secretariat to provide information on the review of pensionable remuneration that could be used to brief representatives to UNJSPB. ICSC decided to report to the General Assembly that the current scale should continue to apply and should again be reviewed at the time of the next comprehensive review of pensionable remuneration, scheduled for 2005-2006 (A/59/30, para. 188). The Assembly took note of the decision (resolution 59/268 I H). The Commission also decided that the tax data relevant for Madrid should be included in the calculations of the common scale of staff assessment and in the biennial calculations to update the scale (A/59/30, para. 185).
(37) At its eleventh session (CEB/2006/HLCM/12, para.21), the HR Network noted that between 1995 and 2005 tax differences for married and single taxpayers had not changed significantly and supported the recommendation that the current scale of staff assessment continue to apply, before a review in two years’ time. The Commission decided to report this continued use of the current common scale of staff assessment but proposed, pending the concurrence of the UNJSPF, that it be reviewed in four to six years’ time or at the time of the next comprehensive review of pensionable remuneration, whichever came first.
(38) At its twenty second session in Geneva (CEB/2011/HLCM/HR/19, paras. 41-42), the HR Network thanked the ICSC Secretariat for its report and took note of the adjustment to the Tax Equalization Fund and the increase in monitoring frequency. It also noted the recommendation to increase the base/floor salary by 0.13%. The Commission decided to recommend to the General Assembly for approval with effect from 1 January 2012: (a) The revised base/floor salary scale for the Professional and higher categories as shown in annex V to the ICSC report (A/66/30), reflecting a 0.13 per cent adjustment implemented by increasing the base salary and commensurately reducing post adjustment multiplier points; (b) The revised rates of staff assessment used in conjunction with gross base salaries for the Professional and higher categories of staff as set out in annex V to the ICSC report (A/66/30). The revised rates would be calculated and added to the net dependency rates of salaries to determine the corresponding gross salary levels. The staff assessment amounts for single staff would be computed by subtracting the net single rate from the gross salary at each grade and step in the salary scale. The Commission also decided that the staff assessment rates used in conjunction with gross salaries be reviewed every three years and revised as appropriate.