Termination indemnities

(1) At the 14th session (April 1953: CO-ORDINATION/R.142, paras. 31-36) CCAQ agreed that, while it would be prudent for ILO to retain the provisions of its staff regulations regarding payments in annual instalments of termination indemnities, the Committee should defer to the next session a further discussion on the possibility of recommending that all organizations to accept such a method for application in the case of a major emergency involving large-scale reduction of staff. The Committee also noted at that time that the amount of indemnity should be calculated on "completed years" of service, but at the 18th session (March 1957: CO-ORDINATION/R.245, para. 7) agreed to "completed months".

(2) At the 15th session (March 1957: CO-ORDINATION/R.162, para. 31) the Committee reiterated the view that in principle a staff member was entitled to receive indemnity payment at the time of separation. Whilst not considering it necessary to reach agreement on the question of paying by instalments in case of emergency, the Committee continued to believe that it would be prudent for ILO to retain the instalment clause in its regulations, on the understanding that such provision should only be applied in the event of a major emergency

(3) At the 18th session (March 1957: CO-ORDINATION/R.245, para. 6) the Committee agreed that "base salary" for purposes of termination indemnity meant "pensionable remuneration". However, at that date "pensionable remuneration" meant "net base salary unaffected by post adjustment", and the decision must be construed in that sense after the revision of pensionable remuneration in 1959 and 1961.

(4) At the first part of the 21st session (April 1960: CO-ORDINATION/R.325, Annex I) CCAQ recorded that General Service entitlements to termination indemnity were on the same basis as those of Professional staff. (At Montreal, however, General Service staff up to a certain level were covered by national unemployment insurance in lieu of receiving termination indemnity; and in a few other areas additional indemnity was paid because of local custom.)

(5) At the 24th session (March 1963: CO-ORDINATION/R.430, para. 96) WHO reported that existing rules resulted in apparent anomalies between the indemnities of staff with indeterminate appointments (permanent contracts) and those of staff who had possibly had several fixed-term contracts of five years and who were in practice career staff. There was a case therefore for relating the indemnities of this type of staff to length of service. It was agreed, however, that before any change was made it would be desirable to make a thorough study of separation benefits. This should be undertaken by Staff Office.

(6) At its 25th session (April 1964: CO-ORDINATION/R.451, para. 35) CCAQ noted from the Staff Office study (CO-ORDINATION/CC/SO/86) that the practice of the UN common system in the matter of termination indemnities differed considerably from the practices of national governments. A working party should examine the question of how far national practices should be more closely followed. The matter might need eventually to be submitted to ICSAB.

(7) The working party referred to in para. (6) was postponed. At its 26th session (March 1965: CO-ORDINATION/R.499, para. 21) CCAQ agreed that a decision whether the working party should be rescheduled should be taken after organizations had commented on CO-ORDINATION/CC/SO/86. It might be that the subject could be discussed at the 27th session of CCAQ without a prior working party.

(8) The Working Party met in March 1966. Its report (CO-ORDINATION/CC.27/25) was examined at the 27th session of CCAQ (1966), which agreed (CO-ORDINATION/R.532, paras. 49-53) (with ICAO reserving its position) that the proposals of the Working Party were, subject to certain amendments (see Annex I, R/532), broadly satisfactory in principle. Further study of the financial implications and administrative complexities was, however, desirable and should be made in 1966/67. As a result of the ICSAB workload, it was later agreed by correspondence that the matter could not reach finality before 1968.

(9) At its 28th session (March 1967: CO-ORDINATION/R.604, para. 45) CCAQ considered the level of termination indemnity in cases of termination on health grounds. The majority felt that the normal indemnity should be paid without deduction in respect of a disability benefit, as was already the case in some organizations. CCAQ agreed, however, that legislative action on this single point would be undesirable, in view of the possibility of major changes in the system as a whole.

(10) At its 29th session (March 1968: CO-ORDINATION/R.669, para. 33) CCAQ again deferred full review of the provisional revised scheme referred to in para. (8).

(11) At its 30th session (March 1969: CO-ORDINATION/R.733, para. 20) CCAQ agreed on the text of a tentative scheme for submission to ICSAB (CO-ORDINATION/R.733, Addendum 4). The comments of the Board are in ICSAB/XVII/l.

(12) At its 31st session (1970: CO-ORDINATION/R.798, para. 25 and Add.7) CCAQ agreed on the text of a further report to ICSAB.

(13) At its XVIIIth session (July 1970: ICSAB/XVIII/1, paras. 63 and 69) ICSAB made a number of recommendations concerning termination indemnities and the relationship of termination indemnities to early retirement.

(14) CCAQ felt that these recommendations gave rise to certain problems and at its 33rd session (March 1971: CO-ORDINATION/R.863, para. 15 and Add.3) agreed the text of a paper asking ICSAB to re-examine some points. At its XIXth session (June 1971: ICSAB/XIX/1) the Board clarified some of its earlier recommendations but said it saw no need to revise them in substance. CCAQ agreed (see para. 4, CO-ORDINATION/R.885) that its proposals to the Special Committee should follow the ICSAB recommendations.

(15) The Special Committee (1971: A/8728, paras. 332-342) endorsed the proposals but its whole report was referred by the General Assembly for further review by the International Civil Service Commission in 1974.

(16) At its 3rd session (March 1976: ICSC/R.42, para. 56), in the course of its continuing review of the UN salary system, ICSC reached a tentative consensus on termination indemnities for the Professional and higher categories. CCAQ adopted draft ACC comments on it at its resumed 43rd session (April 1976: CO-ORDINATION/R.1161/Add.1, paras. 25-27).

(17) At its 44th session (June-July 1976: CO-ORDINATION/R.1168, paras. 34-36), CCAQ considered alternative scales of termination indemnity suggested in a paper by ICSC secretariat, but decided to reaffirm the position taken by ACC on the Commission's tentative conclusions. It also reaffirmed its view that the maximum of 18 months' salary proposed by ACC was - in the circumstances that usually applied in the organizations - entirely justifiable.

(18) In its second annual report (1976: UN document A/31/30, paras. 65, 220-225 and 247), and on the basis of its review of the UN salary system, ICSC recommended that those terminal payments at present expressed in terms of base pay (including termination indemnities) should be expressed in terms of pensionable remuneration less staff assessment. The General Assembly adopted this recommendation in resolution 31/141 of 17 December 1976.

(19) The Commission further recommended (A/31/30, paras. 78, 301-309) new conditions and rates for the termination indemnity from 1 January 1977. The maximum would be increased from nine months' to twelve months' salary (after 15 years' service). For ACC's comments on the Commission's report, see CO-ORDINATION/R.1176, Annex III. The rates and conditions finally approved by the General Assembly appear in the annex to resolution 31/141 of 17 December 1976. In the same resolution the Assembly asked the Commission to re-examine, in the light of views expressed in the Fifth Committee, the conditions for the provision of terminal payments (including termination indemnities), in particular on retirement, and the possibility of establishing a ceiling for the maximum aggregate of entitlements to such payments.

(20) In its second annual report (1976: UN document A/31/30, paras. 79, 310-314), ICSC also recommended the introduction of a new grant payable to staff, distinct from the existing termination indemnity, to be known as "end-of-service grant". It would be payable under certain conditions to a staff member holding a fixed-term appointment whose appointment was not renewed after he had completed 6 years' continuous service, provided he had not received and declined an offer of renewal. However, the General Assembly did not accept this recommendation (resolution 31/141 of 17 December 1976).

(21) CCAQ at its 46th session (January 1977: CO-ORDINATION/R.1203, paras. 10 and 11) decided to draw the attention of ICSC to an anomaly in the new schedule of payments for the termination indemnity, because of the absence of any maximum on the indemnity payable to staff holding fixed-term appointments of up to 5 years.

(22) At its 47th session (August 1977: CO-ORDINATION/R.1237, para. 43) CCAQ, with UNDP reserving its position, agreed to inform ICSC that the organizations reaffirmed their support for the substance of the Commission's recommendation for an end-of-service grant for fixed-term staff.

(23) In its fourth annual report (1978: UN document A/33/30, paras. 161-177) ICSC corrected the anomaly to which CCAQ had drawn its attention (see para. (21) above), and recommended the introduction of an end-of-service grant. The General Assembly did not accept the recommendation (see also section 5.1, para. (19) for "cumulation of entitlements").

(24) At its 59th (1983: ACC/1983/18, paras. 40-42), 60th (March 1984: ACC/1984/9, paras. 92-94) and 63rd sessions (July 1985: ACC/1985/14, paras. 58-60), CCAQ examined a proposal by WHO that organizations should cease the practice whereby the indemnity granted to a staff member for termination for health reasons was reduced by the amount of any disability benefit paid by the Pension Fund. The Committee considered the WHO proposal with sympathy but confirmed that it was not in its favour (see also section 6.5).

(25) At its 68th session (February-March 1988: ACC/1988/4, paras. 35-37), CCAQ once again discussed the possible introduction of an end-of-service grant, raised by UNIDO with ICSC (see (20), (22) and (23) above); it agreed with the ICSC secretariat that the question should be considered by the Commission as part of its comprehensive review of the conditions of service of staff in the Professional and higher categories. In the course of that review, the working group set up by ICSC recommended that such a grant be introduced in cases where a staff member's fixed-term contract was not renewed after nine years. A majority in CCAQ felt, however, that no purpose would be served by submitting such a proposal to the Assembly a third time (ACC/1989/14, para. 90). ICSC finally decided against the recommendation, on the understanding that it might revert to the issue later (A/44/30, vol. II, paras. 445-448).

(26) On the basis of its comprehensive review in 1989 of the conditions of service of staff in the Professional and higher categories, ICSC recommended (A/44/30, vol. II, paras. 73 (a) and 431) no change in the terms and conditions for the payment of termination indemnity. CCAQ had taken the same position (71st session, July-August 1989: ACC/1989/14, para. 86). The General Assembly took note of the recommendation (resolution 44/198).

(27) For the determination of the level of termination indemnities, see also section 5.1.

(28) At its seventeenth session (CEB/2009/HLCM/HR/27, para.7), the HR Network took note of document ICSC/68/R.5 on separation payments.  It discussed the proposals in the document related to the harmonization across agencies of termination indemnity schedules as well as the introduction of an end-of service grant upon completion of non-renewed fixed-term contracts; Underlined the differences between the concepts of ‘separation’ and ‘termination’.  A separation is an action by which the staff member ceases to be employed by the organization.  Separation can take place for a number of reasons including non-renewal and termination.  Termination, while it is a separation, is an action initiated by the Organization by which an appointment of a staff member is foreshortened by the Organization; i.e. the organization decides to terminate a permanent/continuing/indefinite appointment or to foreshorten a fixed-term appointment before the expiry date set forth in the letter of appointment. In these instances, a termination indemnity would be paid pursuant to the Staff Rules. Separation as the result of the non-renewal of a fixed-term appointment is not regarded as a termination and therefore no termination indemnity is to be paid; Proposed a progressive scale for the end-of-service grant for staff who separate upon expiration of their fixed-term appointment, after completing five years of continuous service with satisfactory performance; Reconfirmed the previous position that the termination indemnity scale and the end-of-service grant scale be de-linked, which is consistent with the principle that there is no expectancy of extension for fixed-term appointments; And agreed that the maximum amount of end-of-service grant cannot exceed the maximum amount of termination indemnity, i.e. 12 months’.

(29) At its twentieth session (CEB/2010/HLCM/HR/35, paras.31-32), the HR Network thanked the ICSC secretariat for the excellent paper (ICSC/71/R.6) and took note of the data; Supported the conclusions; Wished to signal the issue of an End of Service Grant and requested the ICSC to include it again in its report to the General Assembly.

(30) At the same session, the Commission decided to report to the General Assembly that:

(a)    It had reviewed about 1,200 cases of termination indemnity paid by common system organizations during the three-year period 2007-2009;
(b)    The termination indemnity was used on a limited basis and covered approximately 1 per cent of the total General Service and Professional staff and about 14 per cent of all separations;
(c)    While some fluctuations in termination indemnity numbers did exist among the organizations and contract types, the analysis of the available data did not demonstrate that there was inappropriate application of the scheme and the overall termination indemnity-based separation trends appeared to be driven by the operational needs of the organizations.

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