Maternity Leave

(1) At the 35th session (March 1972: CO-ORDINATION/R.931, para. 41) CCAQ agreed that a staff member entitled to maternity leave may, at her option, take a minimum of four weeks' maternity leave prior to confinement and the balance of the entitlement after confinement instead of the normal six weeks before and six weeks after confinement.

(2) At its 39th session (March 1974: CO-ORDINATION/R.1031, paras. 43 to 46) CCAQ became aware of several deviations from what had been the common criterion of eligibility for maternity leave - 12 months of service. ILO proposed, and most organizations were prepared to accept, a revised criterion of 10 months. The issue was deferred for final decision until the 41st session. At that time it was discovered that 5 organizations were already applying the 10-month provision (March 1975: CO-ORDINATION/R.1087, paras. 56 and 57). Agreement was still not reached, however, on a uniform practice and the matter was left for further consideration at a later session.

(3) At its 43rd session (March 1976: CO-ORDINATION/R.1145, para. 19), CCAQ gave preliminary consideration to proposals by staff associations for improvements in maternity leave; it agreed to keep the matter under study with a view to the possibility of making proposals to ICSC.

(4) At its 51st session (August 1979: ACC/1979/R.55, para. 31) CCAQ agreed to (1) increase the duration of maternity leave from 12 to 16 weeks; (2) reduce the minimum prenatal leave from four to three weeks.

(5) At its 53rd session (July 1980: ACC/1980/17, paras. 48-50) CCAQ agreed to abolish the qualifying period for maternity leave effective 1 January 1981. At the same session it rejected a proposal to introduce adoption leave (see also in this connection section 3.4).

(6) At its 57th session (July 1982: ACC/1982/23, paras. 106-108) CCAQ considered a number of proposals made by UNICEF on maternity leave and related matters. It agreed: (1) not to extend maternity leave to 20 weeks; (2) measures providing for special arrangements for mothers who returned to work, or leave without pay, should be encouraged; (3) organizations should take appropriate steps, including the distribution of relevant literature, to increase awareness of staff members about the advantages of breast feeding; and (4) to endorse the principle in favour of the creation of day-care centres, and to make a statement to this effect in the context of comments ACC would make on JIU's second progress report on the status of women.

(7) At their meeting in April 1988, the Medical Directors of the UN system confirmed and clarified their decision of the previous year that the existing three-week minimum pre-delivery maternity leave (see para. (4) above) could be reduced to two weeks. CCAQ, at its 69th session (July 1988: ACC/1988/PER/R.28; ACC/1988/12, paras. 95, 96), agreed that organizations which had not already done so should introduce the change as soon as possible.

(8) At its 14th session (CEB/2007/HR/14, para.74), the HR Network supported WHO’s initiative on the recent change to increase maternity leave by four weeks in the case of multiple births.

(9) At the meeting of March 2006 of the HR Network (CEB/2006/HLCM/12, para.57), a representative of ILO requested information on organisations’ policies and procedures for the implementation of paternity leave.

(10) At its 14th session (CEB/2007/HR/14, para.74), the HR Network urged agencies, which have not yet implemented paternity leave to do so. Furthermore, WHO and UNDP recommended that eight weeks paternity leave be granted for multiple births irrespective of the type of duty station.

  • Human Resources Network (HRN)