Contractual arrangements for non-career staff employed for limited periods of time

(1) Following discussion of a secretariat document on the conditions of employment of short-term staff, contractors, etc., CCAQ at its 72nd session (February-March 1990: ACC/1990/4, paras. 103-106) agreed to complete a glossary and definitions of the terms used by the organizations in connection with such staff. The glossary would be submitted to a small task force established to review traditional contractual arrangements which had been found too inflexible. ICSC welcomed these decisions (A/45/30, paras. 164-169. See also ACC/1990/10, paras. 14-16).

(2) The task force referred to above reported at the Committee's 74th session (March 1991: ACC/1991/5, paras. 48-59), setting out its preliminary proposals for a framework for new contractual arrangements. There was general agreement that the task force should continue its work. CCAQ confirmed that any new set of arrangements would not be regulatory.

(3) At its 76th session (March 1992: ACC/1992/6, paras. 78-80) CCAQ considered the report of the second meeting of a task force to pursue the development of an up-to-date strategy for temporary employment of non-core staff, working on specific tasks for a clearly defined period of time in any location, under a framework of new contractual arrangements. While recognizing that some organizations felt no need for such new arrangements, others did need them and it appeared logical to establish a common framework. Those organizations that wished to make use of the arrangements would share their experience with the other organizations and report to ICSC on them when it took up the question of short-term service.

(4) At its 81st session (June 1994: ACC/1994/14, paras. 190-192) CCAQ was informed of the new 300 Series of the United Nations Staff Rules relating to appointments of limited duration that had been put forward in order to provide greater flexibility in the recruitment of non-career staff, at both the General Service and Professional levels, for peace-keeping, peacemaking, humanitarian, technical cooperation and other special operational needs of the United Nations and on which ICSC had been asked for advice. As some organizations were obliged by their own Staff Regulations to follow UN Staff Rules, the matter was one of common system concern. The Committee was unable to conclude its discussion on this item. ICSC agreed to the arrangements provisionally and decided that UNDP could continue its pilot scheme of activities of limited duration. It also decided to revert to the matter at its 42nd session (A/49/30, paras. 366-367).

(5) At its 41st session in April 1995, ICSC, after reviewing the implementation of its decisions and recommendations, inter alia, on personal promotions, and recalling that, in 1983, it had agreed to the award of personal promotions as an exceptional measure, reaffirmed that it did not advocate the use of personal promotions and would revert to this matter in the context of its 1997 review of performance management measures (ICSC/41/R.19, para. 371).

(6) At its 84th session (April 1996: CCAQ(PER)/84/Rev.1, paras. Annex) CCAQ proposed the establishment of a working group comprised of the ICSC secretariat and representatives of member organizations to provide input on the status of staff on appointments of limited duration, their coverage under the Convention on the privileges and immunities of the UN and the provision of UN Laissez-Passers, obligations under the headquarters agreements, social security, the level of salaries and benefits. ICSC decided to invite its secretariat to convene a working group with the participation of the organizations and staff and, as necessary, of the secretariat of the UNJSPF to review the range of issues involved and to propose specific recommendations for consideration at its 45th session (A/51/30, 241).

(7) At its 87th session (July 1997: ACC/1997/13, paras. 48-53) CCAQ considered the report of a Working Group on Appointments of Limited Duration which had reviewed the technical, legal and human resources policy issues resulting from the increasing use of limited duration employment arrangements in the common system. The Committee welcomed the flexibility afforded by these arrangements. It was evident that the schemes introduced by the United Nations and UNDP were working well. At the same time, the Committee was aware that the introduction of flexibility had to be approached responsibly and that a number of guiding principles should be maintained for which ICSC would provide broad policy guidance. The Committee noted that under both schemes, staff were covered under the Convention on Privileges and Immunities and were also full members of the Pension Fund, thus being eligible for death and disability coverage and enjoying the same protection and most of the same treatment as other staff members. ICSC agreed in principle that appointments of limited duration arrangements within the common system were appropriate provided they did not impinge on the existence of the international civil service, endorsed principles and guidelines for the use of such arrangements, particularly that they should not be used for more than four years. All schemes should remain as pilot schemes and new ones should follow the principles and guidelines and be developed in close association with the ICSC secretariat (A/52/30, para. 249 & annex XX). The General Assembly by resolution 52/216 III C endorsed the actions of ICSC.

(8) At its nineteenth session (CEB/2010/HLCM/HR/18, paras.64-67), the HR Network fully supported the proposals presented by WFP, which led group made proposals focusing on non-staff were gaps presently existed, mainly:  1) Death Grants; 2) Education Trust Funds; 3) Provident Fund.
The definition of non-staff was problematic and a comprehensive picture was needed, especially to be able to cost the proposals, however the numbers were not expected to be very significant.

(9) At its twentieth session (CEB/2010/5, paras.58-68), HLCM expressed appreciation to the HR Network for the considerable amount of work carried out and requested the Network to undertake an in-depth analysis of the subject of “non-staff” personnel, with respect to definitions, statistics, principles and policies regarding organizations’ responsibilities and liabilities, in consultation with the Legal Network, and to subsequently develop proposals with alternative scenarios and detailed financial implications, including options for cost-sharing between the organization and the employee, in consultation with the FB Network.

(10) At its 21th session in Paris (CEB/2011/3, paras. 72-86), HLCM expressed its full support for an in-depth analysis on “non-staff” personnel and endorsed the Terms of Reference developed by the Network to carry out such an analysis, underlining that flexibility in employment modalities remained a necessity.  It also recommended that, when collecting information from organizations, interviews with non-staff personnel should also be foreseen.

(11) At its twenty third session in September 2011 (CEB/2011/HLCM/HR/23, paras. 9-10), the HR Network identified those recommendations, which required priority attention to be submitted to HLCM for initial review and further guidance.  These were:

Recommendation 4: Organizations may wish to clearly stipulate in their policies and procedures as well as in the contracts of non-staff employees, the conditions of service, as well as making a clear reference that such contracts are not governed by the Staff Regulations and Rules nor do they give rise to a conversion to contracts governed by the SRRs;

Recommendation 5: Managers (particularly at the field level) should ensure that they follow all the guidelines provided in the policies and procedures of the organization on who should issue and sign such national execution type of contracts, as well as immediately invoking the corresponding privileges and immunities when confronted with legal actions by national courts;

Recommendation 15: Organizations should ensure an ongoing dialogue with focus groups of non-staff employees on their conditions of service, particularly those who perceive themselves as performing regular staff type of functions and who have maintained a long term relationship with the organization;

Recommendation 1: While the efforts undertaken by organizations to produce this data are recognized and fully appreciated, organizations should ensure that in designing their information management systems they should include user-friendly tools in their workforce planning, monitoring and reporting modules, covering all type of non-staff employees.  This will assist organizations in improving their effectiveness in their future workforce planning and monitoring functions.

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