Background

The HLCM Vice-Chair introduced this agenda item by recalling that HLCM had committed to stay fully engaged in the ICSC Review of the UN compensation package, and in such spirit the Committee had hosted several discussions on this subject, especially at its last session. She noted that the Review had progressed significantly during recent months, and underlined the importance of continuing coordination between the organisations on this matter. In this regard, the Vice-Chair pointed to the latest discussions of the HLCM Strategic Group and the HR Network in July 2014, resulting in a statement that had been transmitted to ICSC prior to its 79th session in Rome.

The Vice-Chair noted that the 79th session of the ICSC had hosted a number of detailed discussions on the Compensation Review, based on the input received from two new Working Group meetings. A summary of these discussions could be found in document CEB/2014/HLCM/11. She put emphasis on the fact that the next couple of months would be critical for the Review’s progress, and that continued engagement and efforts to develop joint positions of the organisations were important success factors.

Discussion

The Co-Chair of the HR Network then noted that the Review had indeed progressed with a number of conceptual clarifications, many of which were in line with the organisations’ thinking. However, the concrete financial proposals would only be developed and discussed over the next months. Only then, the organisations would be in a position to clearly evaluate whether proposals are agreeable, improve the organisations’ fitness for purpose and meet the criteria as outlined in the CEB Statement on the Compensation Review. She highlighted that a number of organisations had stressed the need for more flexibility and that the ICSC requests concrete proposals for the next Working Group meeting in November, detailing how such flexibility could be implemented. She also highlighted few elements where further discussions are needed with ICSC, since the current progress does not contain proposals that are agreeable to the organisations. Emphasis was placed on the continued request from organisations to arrive at proposals that are simple and transparent and that contribute to a reduction of the administrative burden.

The Executive Secretary of the ICSC was then invited to give an update on the progress of the Review, from the point of view of the Commission. She confirmed that the Annual report of the ICSC had been published, including a progress update for Member States. This report will be discussed at the General Assembly and its 5th Committee during the next weeks. She highlighted that the Review remains work in progress, and that only next year the final proposal for a new compensation package will be agreed. She also confirmed that ICSC has an interest in simplification and in making budgeting for staff cost more predictable for organisations.  On the topic of a potential Mandatory age of Separation of 65 for current staff, the Executive Secretary highlighted that the final decision will be made by the General Assembly towards the end of the year. With regard to the review of cost-sharing arrangements for health insurance premiums, she confirmed that this had concluded that the current arrangements are well within the practice of other International Organisations and Member States, and therefore no change had been suggested in this regard.

During the discussion, one representative highlighted the need to link the future compensation package to an improved “fitness for purpose” of the organisations, and the fact that the current approach seemed to favour incremental adjustments rather than a radical reform process. On mandatory age of separation, one organization noted that they were not in favour of raising it to 65 for current staff. The representative of FICSA suggested a more intense collaboration between organisations and staff federations during the compensation review which, in the view of staff federations, had turned into a mere cost cutting exercise. He also pointed out that staff federations were in favour of the implementation of the mandatory age of separation of 65 for current staff.

Action

The Committee:

 

  • Took note of the update on the progress of the review of the UN Compensation Package provided by the HR Network.
  • Confirmed its full support and commitment for an active engagement and collaboration with ICSC in this exercise.
  • Emphasised the need for all UN Common System organizations to arrive at jointly agreed positions on proposals put forward by the ICSC.