Position of associate experts and of OPEX personnel

(1) As result of changes in JSPF regulations associate experts employed after 1 January 1967 were, if they entered JSPF, full participants in respect of whom an employer's contribution of 14 per cent was payable. Certain governments which provided associate experts were unwilling to bear a charge of this magnitude. At its 29th session (March 1968: CO-ORDINATION/R.669, paras. 45-51) CCAQ discussed whether the difficulty should be overcome by excluding associate experts, by the terms of their employment, from participation in the JSPF, either in all cases or only in those cases where the government concerned refused to bear the cost. The Secretary of JSPB took the view that exclusion would be improper since the power to exclude was intended to be used only in exceptional circumstances not connected with the problem of avoiding payment of an employer's contribution. CCAQ agreed that exclusion was in principle undesirable and noted that it would have the effect of increasing the potential liability of the government for the cost of any compensation for service-incurred illness etc. The Committee also noted that the great majority of such experts left the organizations before the completion of five years' service, in which case half the employer's contribution was refunded by JSPF. CCAQ invited the UN to discuss the matter with the Governments concerned to see if they could all agree to bear the 14 per cent contribution. UN was also asked to explore the possibility of meeting by commercial insurance any liabilities for compensation for service-incurred illness etc. (The results of the exploration had not been made available by March 1970, and UN was asked to advise organizations by correspondence).

(2) At its 31st session (1970: CO-ORDINATION/R.798, para. 43), at the request of the Secretary of JSPB, CCAQ examined the status in UNJSPF of certain staff (not more than 20 in number) who, while associate participants in the Fund, had been detached from organizations for OPEX service. Although there was a normal rule at the time that such service should be regarded as leave without pay (LWOP), during which associate participation should be maintained, the Standing Committee of the Pension Board had agreed that in these particular cases associate participation should be maintained. Since that time the JSPF regulations had been amended in such a way that associate participation had been abolished. The question therefore arose as to whether the staff concerned should be excluded from the Fund or made full participants. In the latter event they would be entitled to validate the period of their associate participation. Organizations agreed that the only practicable course was to allow the staff concerned to become full participants.

(3) At part II of its 46th session (February-March 1977: CO-ORDINATION/R.1208, para. 27(h)), following discussion of a matter raised by the UN, CCAQ asked that organization, in co-operation with UNDP, to pursue its efforts to negotiate an agreement with the one outstanding donor government to include in the Pension Fund its nationals employed as associate experts.

(4) At a meeting of representatives of UN system organizations with the National Recruitment Services in September 1984, an understanding was reached with donor governments concerning conditions of employment for Associate Experts and JPOs, to become effective 1 January 1985. This included the possibility of associate experts/JPOs being excluded from participation in the Pension Fund if they had national pension coverage. The matter was discussed by CCAQ at its 62nd session (March 1985: ACC/1985/6, paras. 107-111); the Committee concluded that the matter should be kept under review pending future developments.

(5) At a meeting between representatives of UN system organizations and donor Governments in October 1987, it was reaffirmed that donor Governments should be allowed to determine, in co-operation with the UNJSPF, the inclusion/exclusion of Associate Experts (JPOs etc.) in the Pension Fund, subject always to their affiliation to a national scheme with equivalent coverage.

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