Service benefit

Introductory note. Service benefit was introduced as part of the effort to reconcile conditions of service in regular and "field" programmes - see Chapter XIII of the report of the Salary Review Committee (A/3209). Under the conditions approved by the UN General Assembly the recipient of service benefit would not be eligible for repatriation grant, nor would he be a full participant in the Pension Fund - he would be an associate participant, covered for death and disability benefit, but not for retirement benefit. However, if and when such an official had served for such a period, or received an appointment of such a type, that he became a full participant in the Pension Fund, he automatically lost his accrued entitlement to service benefit, but acquired a right to retroactive validation of his prior service for retirement pension purposes and (if he were an expatriate official) also acquired entitlement to repatriation grant, towards which his past service was counted: see resolution 1095(XI) of UN General Assembly. The specialized agencies adopted similar provisions. The amount of the service benefit was 4 per cent of net base salary for each year of service in the home country, and 8 per cent of net base salary for each year of service outside the home country. It was payable as a terminal payment on separation from service. General Assembly resolution 1929 (XVIII), approved the abolition of the service benefit and consequential modification of repatriation grant conditions with effect from 1 January 1964, subject to certain transitional measures for serving staff. While the benefit was in existence CCAQ discussed various points in its detailed administration, including:

(1) At its 19th session (March 1959: CO-ORDINATION/R.264, para. 26) the Committee decided that service benefit should be payable in the event of death where there were no recognized dependants.

(2) General Service staff were eligible for the benefit on the same footing as Professional staff (CO-ORDINATION/R.264, paras. 36-61). (This latter decision was reaffirmed at the first part of the 21st session (April 1960: CO-ORDINATION/R.325, Annex I).

(3) As a result of the revision in the pension scheme, effective 1 April 1961 CCAQ decided at its 23rd session to seek a change in service benefit conditions whereby an official, on acquiring full participant status in the Pension Fund, would not automatically lose his accrued entitlement to service benefit. He should have the option between (i) retaining the entitlement, but then counting only future service for purposes of repatriation grant and Pension Fund purposes, or (ii) losing the entitlement, but then having the right to count prior service for any repatriation grant or Pension Fund entitlement. The Committee considered that a better long-term solution might be to have a single allowance to replace both service benefit and repatriation grant, but this required further study.

(4) Also at the 23rd session (March 1962: CO-ORDINATION/R.391, para. 22(b) the Committee agreed that in those organizations where it had not already been done, effect should be given to the intention of the Salary Review Committee that where an official remained a member of some outside (non-UN) pension scheme any service benefit entitlement could be used currently to pay contributions to that pension scheme.

(5) At the 24th session (March 1963: CO-ORDINATION/R.430, paras. 21-26) CCAQ noted that it had not been possible to obtain United Nations General Assembly action on the proposal that when fixed-term officials were compulsorily made full participants in the Pension Fund they should not automatically lose their accrued service benefit entitlement. The need to revise the service benefit conditions had however become even more acute, because, in some organizations, as a result of an amendment to the JSPF Regulations concerning participation, it was now possible for fixed-term staff to become full participants before the completion of five years service while, under the Staff Regulations, they were still entitled to their service benefit. The Committee agreed that there was no longer reason to maintain service benefit as such. As regards new appointments and re-appointments on or after 1 January 1964, the Committee agreed that: (a) for non-expatriate fixed-term staff there was no need to substitute an alternative benefit; (b) expatriate fixed-term staff should be eligible for repatriation grant on the same basis as career staff (see section 5.2, para. (7) above). Proposals to this effect were approved by the 18th session (1963) of the UN General Assembly.

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