Other pension matters

(1) At its 11th session (1951: CC/A.11/SR.11; CO-ORDINATION/R.93) CCAQ discussed payment of Pension Fund contributions for validation of past service of transferees; currencies available to member organizations for payment of contributions to the Fund; and entitlement under the Fund of participants in leave-without-pay status.

(2) At its 14th session (1953: CO-ORDINATION/R.142) the Committee discussed the basis on which the administrative costs under Article XXVII of the Pension Fund Regulations should be shared; the procedure for the assessment of charges by UN and the expenses to be included in the joint administration of the Fund (paras. 55-59).

(3) At its 18th session (March 1957: CO-ORDINATION/R.245, paras. 20-23) CCAQ agreed with the Pension Board that as a basic principle resignations should not be accepted with retroactive effect. Organizations accordingly undertook to ensure that no resignation was dated prior to the date on which contributions to the Pension Fund actually ceased.

(4) At its 33rd session (March 1971: CO-ORDINATION/R.863, paras. 27(a) and (c)) CCAQ recommended that representatives of the executive heads on the Joint Staff Pension Board should support proposals: (a) to base the final average remuneration on the best three of the last five years of service; this change should be applied to the benefits of existing pensioners and would be concomitant with an improvement in the cost-of-living adjustment after retirement, the index for which would be calculated on a three-year instead of a five-year basis; (b) to increase the maximum reckonable years of pensionable service from 30-35.

(5) At the same session CCAQ agreed that it was undesirable that associations of UN-system pensioners should be represented on Staff Pension Committees of individual organizations. The question of their possible representation on JSPB should be considered by that Board, if and when a fully representative association of retired staff of all organizations was formed.

(6) At its 37th session (March 1973: CO-ORDINATION/R.984, paras. 21-26) CCAQ discussed certain questions relating to a study to be made by the Committee of Actuaries of the rate of contributions to JSPF. It also (CO-ORDINATION/R.984, paras. 27-33) elaborated proposals for improvements in the system of adjustments to pensions after award, to compensate for increases in cost of living whether caused by currency revaluation or price increases.

(7) At the same session (CO-ORDINATION/R.984, paras. 35-37) the Committee considered, without reaching a conclusion, an ICAO proposal that when an organization had less than full tripartite representation on JSPB the cost of the observers it sent to the Board in lieu of representatives should be shared by all organizations.

(8) In response to a request of the UN Joint Staff Pension Board, CCAQ agreed at its 46th session (February-March 1977: CO-ORDINATION/R.1208, para. 22) to review the organizations' existing separation procedures in order to determine what changes were required to speed up the payment of benefits by the Pension Fund.

(9) In draft ACC comments which it adopted at the second part of its 47th session (October 1977) on the third annual report of ICSC; CCAQ noted that the proposed change to a 5 per cent (rather than 5 index points) system for post adjustment classification would slow down the response of adjustments for cost-of-living changes to those pensions in payment which are governed by the movement of WAPA (CO-ORDINATION/R.1237/Add.1, annex II, para. 9; the final version was issued as UN document A/32/362).

(10) At its 52nd session (Part I) (January-February 1980; ACC/1980/4, paras. 40-41) CCAQ agreed to inform the Pension Board that it did not favour the changes in existing provisions relating to the restoration of prior contributory service which were being proposed by the Secretary of the Board. It agreed also to inform the Board that it did favour maintaining existing provisions relating to the treatment of leave without pay, subject to the additional requirement that staff employed by one organization while on leave without pay from another should be under an obligation to inform the former of their membership in the Pension Fund.

(11) At its 54th session (February-March 1981; ACC/1981/7, paras. 103-105) CCAQ agreed to a proposal by WHO that a study be carried out of the practice of organizations regarding the remuneration of persons enjoying consultancy or special service agreement contracts with the organizations. This would permit CCAQ to contribute to a response to the request of the General Assembly that the situation of UNJSPF pensioners enjoying such contract be reviewed by the Board (Resolution 35/215).

(12) The views of CCAQ were cleared by correspondence and submitted to the Board at its 29th session. They are set out in ACC/1981/PER/8, Part A.

(13) Beginning at its 54th session (February-March 1981; ACC/1981/7, paras. 22-23) CCAQ participated in the work carried out by the ICSC, in collaboration with the Pension Board, for the development of a special cost-of-living index for pensioners, as had been requested by the General Assembly when it endorsed the "Washington proposals" (see section 6.1 above).

(14) At its 55th session (July 1981; ACC/1981/31, paras. 34-36) CCAQ noted that the Pension Board was pursuing a step-by-step approach, beginning with a method for adjusting downward any pension adjustments payable in accordance with the "Washington proposals" in countries where pensioners paid no tax on their pensions, or paid taxes significantly below staff assessment rates.

(15) The question of a special index for pensioners was before CCAQ again at its 56th, 58th and 59th sessions. In its 8th annual report (A/37/30, paras. 29-48) ICSC recommended to the General Assembly a procedure for taking account of situations of no or little taxation in relation to the "Washington proposal" pension adjustment scheme, pending development of a full-fledged special cost-of-living index for pensioners.

(16) At its 61st session (June-July 1984; ACC/1984/16, paras. 119-121) the attention of CCAQ was drawn to the need to exercise care in dealing with requests from staff members to have their date of birth, as recorded at the time of recruitment, modified. CCAQ was also informed of the difficult problems that could arise for the Fund and for the organizations in cases where staff members obtained a divorce under a jurisdiction different from that of their nationality, the nationality of the spouse, or that of the duty station country, and subsequently remarried.

(17) In its annual report for 1989, ICSC called attention to a proposal in ITU to establish a pension purchasing power protection fund for staff of the Union. It urged all organizations not to introduce policies and practices that ran counter to their commitments and obligations under the Commission's statute (A/44/30, vol. I, paras. 45-49). Addressing the same issue, the General Assembly endorsed the conclusion of the Pension Board that ITU should not proceed to implement its proposal; however it agreed with the Board that the proposal should be studied as one possible long-term approach to the adjustment of pensions in local currency terms (resolution 44/199).

(18) In December 1990 the General Assembly, on the recommendation of the Pension Board, approved transitional measures effective 1 January 1991 (replacing those in effect under resolution 42/222) to protect the initial local currency pensions of some participants (resolution 45/242); at the same time it called for priority to developing a long-term approach to deal with this issue.

(19) At its 74th session (March 1991: ACC/1990/5, paras. 129-131) CCAQ also stressed the need for an appropriate long-term modification of the pension adjustment system and agreed that this question should be raised at the forthcoming session of ACC. ACC addressed a statement to the Pension Board (decision 1991/4) urging the restoration of the value of pensions of Professional and higher-level staff and their adjustment for inflation and cost-of-living differences. If satisfactory long-term measures could not be agreed on, further transitional measures applicable to all staff eligible to retire should be recommended, to replace the measures that would no longer apply to staff separating after March 1992. Subsequently, at its 43rd session (July 1991) the Pension Board, after lengthy discussion, reached a consensus on a series of longer-term modifications to the pension adjustment system, to take effect on 1 April 1992, which it recommended to the General Assembly (for details see the Board's report (A/46/9), paragraphs 175, 176). The Assembly agreed to the Board's proposals (resolution 46/192).

(20) Following the consensus reached in the Pension Board on the pension adjustment system (see para. (19) above) ITU had indicated that should it be approved by the Assembly it might be considered by ITU as providing results comparable to those sought under its own pension purchasing power protection scheme referred to in paragraph (17) above (A/46/9, para. 177) and that ITU would therefore not pursue introducing a separate fund.

(21) Following a request by the Pension Board, CCAQ discussed at both its 74th and 75th session (March and July-August 1991: ACC/1991/5, paras. 153 and 154; ACC/1991/17, paras. 100-109) the entitlements (especially pension benefits) of divorced spouses of serving or former staff members. Acknowledging the complexity of the issues involved, it nevertheless recognized that such a long-standing question should not be allowed to linger indefinitely, and it invited the secretariat to study it further and obtain more information on outside practices. See also section 2.8, para. (28). (22) At its July 2005 meeting (CEB/2005/HLCM/26, paras. 119-122) the attention of the FB Network was drawn by IAEA to the need for deeper analysis of the impact of exchange rate changes on the pension benefits of staff retiring in duty stations with non-USD currencies. IAEA indicated that significant variations in the value of the dollar in relation to local currency resulted in “winners and losers” depending on when staff retired, and that the local track scheme did not fully address the loss of value of a pension entitlement accumulated over a long period of time. One indication of an apparent flaw in the pension scheme tied too heavily to the USD was the decision of staff to retire at certain points in time depending on the value of the dollar. FAO and ICAO’s representatives, who had been appointed by their respective Executive Heads to the UNJSPB, advised that this issue had been evaluated by the Pension Fund. FAO and ICAO also advised that the Pension Fund was undertaking a professional Asset/Liability study of the Fund which would assist in evaluating such issues as well as in informing the investment policies of the Fund. The FB Network decided to offer its expertise to the UNJSPFB.

(22) At its thirteenth session of 2007 (CEB/2007/HR/8, paras. 13-21), the HR Network noted the draft JIU Report on the “Age structure of Human Resources in the Organizations of the United Nations system” and:
    concurred with the proposal that it should develop guidelines for succession planning;
    agreed to support the elimination of limits on the employment of retirees both in terms of earnings limits and the duration of employment;
    to encourage the review of the portability of pensions in UN system – that non-portability had also proved to be an impediment to staff mobility.

(23) At its fifteenth session (CEB/2008/3, paras. 114-121), HLCM recommended that the representatives of Executive Heads at the upcoming Rome meeting of the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board pursue, within the bounds of actuarial possibilities, proposals for:
    (a)    changes which would promote staff mobility through improved portability of pension benefits; and
    (b)    changes to the pension adjustment system to ameliorate the effects of the weakened US dollar pending an overall review of such structural adjustments as may be required in United Nations Pension arrangements to respond to any long term changes in the foreign exchange value of the US dollar.

(24) At its eleventh session (CEB/2009/HLCM/FB/11, paras.49-52), the FB Network considered and approved a recommendation that funding the Provident Fund be provided on a biennial basis from the gross budget of the JIU.  Resources for future financial periods (approximately US$44,000 per biennium, before CPI adjustment) would be sought by inclusion of sufficient funding to cover the financing of the widows’ pension obligations within the overall JIU budget. The Provident Fund’s deficit for 2009 would be apportioned among JIU member organizations.

The Network also recommended that this proposal be submitted for the consideration of the General Assembly at its 64th session in the context of the agenda item “Programme budget for the biennium 2008-2009 final performance report”.

  • Human Resources Network (HRN)