Participation - validation of prior service

(1) At its 12th session (April 1952: CO-ORDINATION/R.124) CCAQ advised TAB to continue to exclude from the Pension Fund experts with contracts of less than three years. At its 14th session (1953: CO-ORDINATION/R.142) the Committee reiterated that, for reasons stated in para. 97 of its report, experts in "project" posts should continue to be excluded from the Fund, at least where length of contract or continuous service was less than three years. At the first part of the 16th session (April 1955: CO-ORDINATION/R.193/Add.1/Rev.1, paras. 43-44) the Committee again recorded its opinion, in reply to TAB, that experts generally should continue to be excluded from the Pension Fund.

(2) At its 15th session (1954: CO-ORDINATION/R.162, para. 32) CCAQ noted that there was a uniform practice in organizations whereby local recruits at established offices (except for short-term appointees) were considered full staff members. Pension entitlement was therefore automatic, except in localities where coverage in a national scheme was more advantageous to the staff member.

(3) At the first part of the 16th session (April 1955: CO-ORDINATION/R.193/Rev.1, paras. 18-28) CCAQ discussed validation of non-pensionable service in relation to experts and staff employed on extra-budgetary programmes. The Committee considered whether it would be justifiable, in certain cases of employment which were specially financed and were of a temporary or exceptional character, to propose an amendment to Article III of the Regulations so as to permit administrative discretion in excluding some or all of such service from retroactive validation for pension purposes.

(4) At the first part of the 17th session (February 1956: CO-ORDINATION/R.219) the Committee agreed proposals for amendment of Article III, the effect of which would be to limit validation of prior non-pensionable service to periods of employment which had been excluded only because the staff member entered employment under a contract for less than a year or under a temporary indefinite contract and had not completed one year of service. There would be no validation of service under a contract whose terms excluded participation.

(5) At the second part of the 17th session (February 1956: CO-ORDINATION/R.224) CCAQ, on the assumption that the General Assembly would adopt the amendment to Article III, which the Board had agreed, thought it important that in case of non-pensionable employment, the contract should clearly state the organization's intention as to whether that employment was to be the subject of retroactive validation. These proposals were, however, affected by the recommendations of the Salary Review Committee (see Chapter 11) for a reconciliation of conditions of service in field programmes and regular programmes, and the subsequent introduction of provision for "associate participation" in the Pension Fund.

(6) At the special meeting on salary matters (March 1957) the Committee formulated proposals to the Pension Board for "associate participation" of experts and staff employed on contracts of less than five years, but more than one year (CO-ORDINATION/R.244, Annex IV).

(7) At the 19th session (1958: CO-ORDINATION/R.264, paras. 36-61) CCAQ agreed that General Service staff were eligible for participation on the same footing as Professional staff.

(8) At the first part of its 21st session (April 1960: CO-ORDINATION/R.325, Annex I) the Committee agreed that General Service staff were entitled to Pension Fund coverage. In certain areas, however, coverage in a national scheme appeared to be more advantageous to the staff, and they were accordingly excluded from the UN scheme in favour of the national scheme. Organizations agreed to consult together where necessary where this practice was followed.

(9) At its 23rd session (1962: CO-ORDINATION/R.391, paras. 60-66) CCAQ made certain proposals for revision of Article II of the Pension Fund Regulations, dealing with participation in cases where an official received an extension of contract providing five years' service in all.

(10) At the 24th session (1963: CO-ORDINATION/R.430, para. 25) CCAQ discussed the problem of facilitating the payment of the arrears of JSPF contributions when fixed-term staff validated their period of past service on becoming full participants. It was agreed that it might be desirable to withhold, from the salary of an associate participant, an amount equal to 7 per cent of his pensionable remuneration; in the event of his becoming a full participant this would be used to pay his share of the arrears (the organization bearing the interest) or if he left the service it would be repaid to him. Similarly the organization might set aside 9-1/2 per cent of pensionable remuneration only for the purpose of covering its share of the arrears. The matter was, however, one where the organizations could act individually if necessary; over-all conditions of service were not affected.

(11) At its 25th session (1964: CO-ORDINATION/R. 451, paras. 67-69) CCAQ considered a Joint Staff Pension Board practice whereby, when an associate participant became a full participant without validating his previous service, the past service was not taken into account in calculating any disability or death benefit in his case, despite the fact that (a) he had been covered for those benefits during the service concerned and that (b) the period of service was taken into account (in cases where the official separated before completion of five years as a full participant) for the calculation of the final average remuneration. Opinion differed on the merits of the practice. The Committee agreed that there was need for a comprehensive re-examination of the whole question of associate participation and its relationship to full participation. Such a re-examination should consider also whether coverage for an associate participant should necessarily cease when he reached age sixty.

(12) On the basis of a recommendation of JSPB at its 1966 session, the General Assembly at its 21st session amended the Regulations of the Fund in such a way that associate participation was abolished for entrants after 1 January 1967. Thereafter a full time member of the staff became a participant if he received a contract for one year or longer or completed one year of continuous service. Entitlement to a retirement benefit was however made dependent on the completion of five years' contributory service. Conditions for withdrawal before the completion of five years were modified so that the organization would, in such cases, recover one half of the employer's contribution which it had paid.

(13) At its 35th session (March 1972, CO-ORDINATION/R.931, paras. 73-74), CCAQ considered, at the request of JSPB, a proposal of the ILO Staff Pension Committee that certain staff whose pre-1958 service has been contractually excluded from reckoning as pensionable should now be permitted to validate that service. With the exception of ILO, CCAQ agreed, both for reasons of principle and of cost, that it would be undesirable to reverse the exclusions made when the staff concerned were first employed.

(14) CCAQ, at its 39th session in March 1974 (CO-ORDINATION/R. 1031, paras. 39-41), recommended to the JSPB that it include in its recommendations to the next General Assembly of the United Nations appropriate amendments to the Pension Fund regulations to permit part-time staff to become participants in the fund provided they were engaged on at least a half-time basis and hold an appointment which would assure at least the equivalent of one year's full-time service. The Pension Board, acting on this request, did include in its report to the General Assembly the necessary draft amendments to the Pension Fund regulations, but with the difference that eligibility was to be accorded on the basis of at least a one year contract, as for full-time staff.

(15) At the request of the Joint Staff Pension Board, CCAQ considered at its 41st session (1975) the question of whether persons appointed, or reappointed, at age 60 or over should participate in the Fund. (CO-ORDINATION/R.1087, para. 79). Organizations were at that time not ready to reply to the question but did so subsequently by correspondence. Views were divided but the majority were negative.

(16) At the 44th session of CCAQ (June-July 1976: CO-ORDINATION/R.1168, paras. 46-48), UNESCO raised the issue of whether CCAQ could agree on common standards to be followed in recognizing, as contributory for pension purposes, service which had originally not been so recognized. CCAQ considered that a distinction could be drawn between staff members who had not availed themselves of a right - now lapsed - to validate prior service, and those who had. For reasons of a financial nature, however, not all organizations would be able to apply this distinction in practice.

(17) At the second part of its 50th session (February-March 1979: ACC/1979/R.2 (Part II), para. 15) CCAQ agreed that nothing prevented WHO from making an arrangement with UNJSPF to offer retroactively pension coverage to persons employed in the Congo by WHO under a special form of contract, and not previously entitled to such coverage. CCAQ did not agree to offer a precedent for other categories of staff in other organizations where such coverage was not possible.

(18) At the same session, the Committee agreed to support before UNJSPB an FAO proposal that the bar to participation in the Pension Fund of officials recruited after the age of sixty years should be removed from the Regulations of the Fund.

(19) At its 52nd session (January/March 1980; ACC/1980/4, paras. 40-41 and ACC/1980/10, paras. 35-37) CCAQ considered proposals emanating from the Secretary of UNJSPF aimed at relaxing the Fund's regulations pertaining to validation of prior non-contributory service. CCAQ agreed that inasmuch as the proposals were designed to deal principally with the case of staff servicing on a succession of short term assignments of 11 months with breaks of service rendering them ineligible to participate in the Fund, such a practice was unjustified and should be discontinued. CCAQ did not consider that any change was warranted in the Fund's regulations to deal with the case of other short-term staff who served more sporadically.

(20) At its 56th session (March 1982; ACC/1982/5, para. 84), CCAQ confirmed the view expressed above.

(21) At its 57th session (July 1982; ACC/1982/23, para. 116) CCAQ noted information on pension coverage of persons remunerated by the organization who were not participants in the Pension Funds and agreed to make this information available to the Pension Board.

(22) At its 30th session (1982: A/37/9, para. 26 and annex XII), the Pension Board agreed to recommend several measures for adoption by the General Assembly, in order to restore the actuarial balance. One was the participation of all members of staff having an appointment of six months or more or having completed six months of service. The recommendation was approved by the General Assembly (resolution 37/131) and became effective 1 January 1983 (see UNJSPF Regulations and Rules, article 21).

(23) At the same session, a new accumulation rate (1.5% for the first five years, 1.75% for the next five years, 2% thereafter until the 35th year) was proposed for staff appointed on or after 1 January 1983; staff appointed before that date would retain the former accumulation rate (2% for the first 30 years, 1% thereafter until the 35th year of service).

(24) At its 58th session (March 1983; ACC/1983/9, paras. 102-103) CCAQ agreed that a statement on behalf of CCAQ to the Pension Board should be prepared indicating that organizations wished to retain the possibility of excluding staff from participation in the Pension Fund in certain circumstances. That statement, cleared by correspondence and contained in document ACC/1983/PER/23/Rev.1, was made to the Pension Board at its 31st session (June 1983). The Committee also agreed that it would not be possible to agree on a common definition of officials excluded from participation in the Fund because they were not staff members.

(25) At its 62nd session (March 1985: ACC/1985/6, paras. 75-79), CCAQ considered, at the request of the Pension Board, the question of re-employment of former participants in the Pension Fund who were entitled to a retirement, early retirement or deferred retirement benefit. After a first discussion, it reaffirmed its basic position taken in 1981 with respect to consultants, i.e. re-employment of pensioners should be left to the appreciation of each organization, whose primary concern had to be the obtention of services of persons who were best qualified to perform given functions. After further discussion at its 63rd session (July 1985: ACC/1985/14, paras. 64-65), CCAQ considered that no action was required.

(26) At its 37th session (August 1987), the Pension Board requested CCAQ to collect data for 1986/1987 with respect to staff members who were not enrolled in the Pension Fund (JSPB/37/R.36, para. 105).

(27) As a follow-up to the above request, CCAQ agreed at its 68th session (February-March 1988: ACC/1988/4, paras. 171-173) that its own secretariat and the Secretary of the Board would hold consultations on information to be requested from organizations to try to determine the extent to which administrative devices were being used to exclude staff members from participation in the Pension Fund.

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