Hours of work and public holidays

(1) At a special session in July 1972 (CO-ORDINATION/R.947, para. 10), CCAQ discussed a proposal that in accordance with General Assembly resolution 2782 (XXXVI) 24 October (UN Day) should be an additional public holiday. It felt that while there might be no objection to the substitution of UN day for another public holiday, it would not be advisable to make it an additional day unless a considerable number of Member States did so. It noted that some organizations had 8 public holidays, some 9 and others 10. It agreed that 10 should not be exceeded.

(2) At the 37th session (March 1973: CO-ORDINATION/R.984, para. 89), CCAQ examined a report on working hours in UNDP field offices and noted with some concern that they were below 40 hours per week at almost all offices, and that at some the figure was little higher than 30. UNDP explained that the hours were generally aligned on the practices of the government offices with which UNDP dealt and that field office staff tended to work beyond the normal hours. CCAQ noted that relevant General Service salary scales were usually based on those of the "best employers" who were not in general the government services and whose working hours might not coincide with government practice. CCAQ asked UNDP to make a more detailed report on the rationale underlying the field office work schedules.

(3) Also at the 37th session (CO-ORDINATION/R.984, para. 88), organizations exchanged information on the question of flexible working hours. ILO, WHO and FAO had made studies and concluded that flexible working hours would offer advantages if an adequate system of controls could be developed; in all organizations, however, this had so far been found to be an obstacle. FAO noted that a survey of several European firms and government ministries had shown that enhanced productivity and higher staff morale depended on strict control of attendance; where this was lacking, the scheme had not been successful. CCAQ considered that if organizations carried out experiments with the system, results should be reported at a subsequent session.

(4) CCAQ again reviewed in 1974 the number of public holidays to be recognized. It confirmed that this should not exceed 10 (see para. (1) above). It also reviewed the status of organization planning and experience concerning flexible office hours and requested ILO, IAEA and ITU to make the results of their experience available to the CCAQ secretariat for transmission to the other organizations (CO-ORDINATION/R.1031, paras. 68 and 69).

(5) At its 60th session (March 1984: ACC/1984/9, para. 39), CCAQ agreed to seek to establish work weeks of common duration at each duty station in the field (see also section 2.3, para. (45)). Progress on this subject was reviewed at the Committee's 62nd (March 1985), 63rd (July 1985), 64th (March 1986) and 65th (July 1986) sessions. (ACC/1985/6, paras. 156-158; ACC/1985/14, para. 119; ACC/1986/3, paras. 96-99 and ACC/1986/10, para. 140 refer, respectively). See also ACC/1986/PER/CM/3. In October 1986, October 1987, January 1989, January 1990 and August 1990, the CCAQ secretariat circulated lists of duty stations at which common work weeks had been approved (see ACC/1986/PER/CM/22, ACC/1987/PER/CM/16, ACC/1989/PER/CM/2, ACC/1990/PER/CM/2 and ACC/1990/PER/CM/10).

(6) In view of delays arising from the approval process for common work weeks at field duty stations, CCAQ at its 70th session (March 1989: ACC/1989/6, paras. 77, 78) agreed that in future the approval of common work weeks would be limited to organizations with established offices (including agencies' country offices) at a duty station.

(7) At its 79th session (July 1993: ACC/1993/22, paras. 106-110) CCAQ reviewed an analysis of the differences in working hours in the common system and the majority concluded that the working hours of Professional staff should not be taken into account in setting salaries, while others preferred the approach of adjusting net remuneration for these differences. ICSC decided to maintain the current practice and so informed the Assembly (A/48/30, para. 187). The General Assembly endorsed the decision (resolution 48/224 II F).

(8) At the second part of its 83rd (September 1995: ACC/1995/19, paras. 94-95) CCAQ took note of a research paper prepared by its secretariat on a common form of alternative working arrangements, the compressed work schedule, by which statutory weekly hours were scheduled over fewer days, highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of compressed work schedules and offering some practical guidance.

(9) At its July 2002 meeting (CEB/2002/HLCM/14, para. 15) the HR Network was informed by the Secretary of HLCM of a request made at a meeting of the ICT Network in May 2002 (CEB/2002/HLCM/10, para. 39) that HR managers consider in conjunction with the reform of the pay and benefits system appropriate compensation arrangements for 24/7 support requirements.

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