Introductory note. This chapter deals with the overall subject of conditions of service of staff assigned to field duty stations, and with the scheme for the classification of duty stations according to conditions of life and work. Other aspects of conditions of service in the field are covered under the relevant subject headings e.g. medical examinations (section 8.1), medical evacuation (section 4.3, para. (29)), security arrangements (section 11.2), housing (section 14.4), etc.
(1) At its special session No. 1 (January 1976: CO-ORDINATION/R.1133, para. 5 and Add. 4), CCAQ agreed on a draft ACC text for ICSC (later cleared by correspondence) on conditions of service for staff in the field. It raised the question of some non-financial improvements as well as selective financial recognition of certain problems, through housing subsidies, rest and recuperation leave and the assignment allowance.
(2) At its 5th session (February-March 1977), ICSC established a framework for a study of the conditions of service of staff in the field (particularly in small offices or attached to projects) "to identify what changes, if any, should be made in the existing conditions of service... in order to enhance the quality of their performance" (A/32/30, paras. 214-217; ICSC/R.77, paras. 146-148).
(3) In its fourth annual report to the General Assembly (UN document A/33/30) ICSC recommended amendments to the conditions under which assignment allowance was paid (see section 2.12). ICSC also decided to modify the provisions governing installation allowance (see section 4.5).
(4) At its 51st session (August 1979), CCAQ approved a paper for ICSC on issues concerning General Service staff in field duty stations (ACC/1979/R.55, para. 20 and Annex IV).
(5) At its 54th session (March 1981: ACC/1981/7, paras. 78-81), CCAQ agreed to establish a joint CCAQ/FICSA working party to examine a number of issues relating to General Service staff in the field. The report of the Working Party was reviewed at the Committee's 56th session (March 1982: ACC/1982/5, paras. 58-60 and Annex VI).
(6) At its 57th session (July 1982: ACC/1982/23, paras. 52-70), CCAQ noted that at its first regular session in 1982 ACC had taken a number of decisions aimed at seeking improvements in conditions of service of field staff and the removal of impediments to mobility. CCAQ agreed to recommend to ICSC revised rates of installation grant (lump sum) and assignment allowance; it also recommended to ICSC that it complete the study of the possibility of removing the housing component from post adjustment.
(7) At its 58th session (March 1983: ACC/1983/9, paras. 66-70), CCAQ agreed on a programme of studies to which ICSC should attach priority.
(8) At the same session, CCAQ agreed on revised entitlements in connection with the shipment and insurance of personal effects upon recruitment and reassignment (ACC/1983/9, paras. 71-72).
(9) At its 59th session (July 1983: ACC/1983/18, paras. 85-91), CCAQ agreed on a number of studies which should be carried out using the lead agency approach.
(10) At its 61st session (June-July 1984: ACC/1984/16, paras. 90-118), CCAQ examined a number of issues relating to conditions of service in the field: (a) It was unable to accept proposals aimed at changing the conditions under which the assignment allowance and installation grant were paid, but agreed to request ICSC to review the level of these benefits every three years, beginning in 1985. (b) It adopted an extra entitlement to shipment of personal effects for designated duty stations where there were shortages of basic supplies or a dearth of leisure and cultural activities (effective 1 January 1985). (c) It also agreed that in locations where it was not possible to meet even daily consumer needs, organizations should continue to assist staff in arranging for procurement trips outside the duty station (see section 4.4, para. (20)). (d) CCAQ agreed that the time limit for the payment of storage of household effects incidental to shipment on appointment or reassignment should beextended to 90 days in those situations where organizations were reimbursing storagecosts. (e) CCAQ took a position on various measures designed to enhance the employment opportunities of spouses accompanying staff members to field duty stations. (f) Information provided by UN on the Field Service category was noted by the Committee. (g) CCAQ agreed that a working party should examine the principles and methodology used to determine entitlements and benefits in connection with service in the field. (h) Medical facilities: see section 8.3, para. (7). (i) Evacuation allowances: see section 4.3, para. (28).
(11) At its 62nd session (March 1985: ACC/1985/6, paras. 119-120), CCAQ agreed on the text of a paper to be submitted to ICSC on various aspects of conditions of service in the field (ICSC/21/CRP.19 refers). In adopting this text, the Committee noted that its work programme on field-related issues would continue.
(12) At its 63rd session (July 1985: ACC/1985/14, paras. 95-98), the Committee reviewed the findings of the working party established to examine a possible methodology for determining field benefits (see para. (10)(g) above). The consensus of that meeting was that a formal methodology, however flexible, was not necessary. The Committee concurred with that view.
(13) At its 64th session, CCAQ discussed a paper by the ICSC secretariat which discussed a number of parameters for the establishment of a methodology for determining conditions of service of Professional staff at field locations. It reiterated its view that a formal methodology was not necessary (ACC/1986/3, paras. 83-87).
(14) At its 65th session (July 1986), the Committee again took up this matter on the basis of a document by the ICSC secretariat which analysed certain earlier studies on field conditions. It noted with satisfaction that earlier attempts to establish a "methodology" for determining Professional field staff benefits had been redefined in terms of a "review" of comparable benefits in organizations with staff in the field. In view of various inter-related studies planned for the coming year in the area of field conditions, the Committee believed that in this case an integrated approach should be taken to the analysis of the package of benefits provided to field staff; at the same time, a deadline of July 1987 should be set for the completion of the studies (ACC/1986/10, paras. 66-67).
(15) Also at its 65th session, the Committee examined proposals by FICSA and CCISUA for improving a broad range of conditions of service in the field (ICSC/24/CRP.13 and 7 refer respectively). Its views on these proposals are reflected in ACC/1986/10, paras. 76-85.
(16) At its 67th session (July 1987: ACC/1987/10, paras. 78-83), CCAQ discussed proposals prepared by UNDP, UNICEF and UNHCR, as well as a paper prepared by the ICSC secretariat regarding the remuneration package in the field and the serious problems being encountered by the administrations in the recruitment and retention of staff. At its 26th session (July 1987: A/42/30, paras. 182-199), the Commission proposed a number of interim corrective measures to deal with these problems (see sections 2.4, 2.10, 9.7, and 14.4). At the same time, the Commission requested its secretariat to undertake a comprehensive study on the conditions of service of UN system staff in comparison with those of staff in other international organizations and bilateral aid programmes, for submission to its 28th (July 1988) session (A/42/30, para. 195).
(17) Also at its 67th session (ACC/1987/10, paras. 55-56), CCAQ reviewed proposals for refinements to the salary survey methodology for non-headquarters duty stations (see section 2.3). It also examined certain aspects relating to local staff in countries with severe economic problems (ibid, paras. 84-90). It agreed that the conclusions reached should be brought to the attention of ACC at its October 1987 session, pursuant to ACC decision 1987/15. ACC took note of these conclusions (ACC/1987/2).
(18) Again, at its 67th session, CCAQ discussed certain discrepancies in the treatment of staff working for different organizations at the same duty station. It agreed that these should be examined by a working group, prior to its 68th session (ACC/1987/10, paras. 91-95). The working group's report was discussed by CCAQ at its 68th session (February-March 1988) and some aspects of it were considered jointly by a meeting of the two components of the Committee. CCAQ(PER) agreed with the working group that whenever new arrangements were decided upon by either CCAQ or ICSC, there should at the outset be agreement among organizations on their actual implementation. It also reaffirmed that uniformity of practice on all points was not feasible. The Committee's conclusions on 16 specific issues raised by the working group are set out in paragraphs 85-106 of its report (ACC/1988/4); as for the joint meeting, it agreed to keep under review the possibility of issuing revised guidelines for the private use of official vehicles at field duty stations (ACC/1988/6, paras. 7, 8; see also ACC/1988/13, paras. 51, 53).
(19) The joint meeting also discussed the access of locally-recruited staff to foreign currency - see section 18.1.
(20) At its 69th session (July 1988: ACC/1988/12, paras. 54-58), CCAQ endorsed two proposals to promote the uniform application by the organizations of rental deductions; organizations should require all staff in the field to submit regular housing reports and, if they considered it useful, they might provide that failure to submit a report could result in an automatic full rental deduction.
(21) For the 1988 decision of ICSC on reimbursement for medical examinations for dependants at duty stations with adverse health conditions, see section 8.1.
(22) At its 70th session (March 1989: ACC/1989/6, paras. 72-75) CCAQ decided to defer consideration of problems arising over the payment of non-resident's allowance (NRA) and rental subsidy for internationally-recruited General Service staff. It eventually returned to these issues after completion of the comprehensive review of conditions of service for the Professional and higher categories (see para. (27) below).
(23) At the suggestion of its Field Working Group, CCAQ at its 71st session (July-August 1989: ACC/1989/14, para. 127) agreed that a revision of the local salary survey manual should be undertaken in 1990. At the same session, the Committee concluded, on the basis of a UNDP report, that current local salary survey arrangements were operating satisfactorily (ibid., para. 126; ACC/1989/6, para. 67).
(24) At both its 72nd and 73rd sessions (February-March and July 1990: ACC/1990/4, para. 165; ACC/1990/10, paras. 83, 84) CCAQ was informed of progress in a survey by UNDP on reimbursement of the cost of transportation of privately-owned vehicles. It endorsed a proposal by its Field Working Group that the revised list of qualifying countries and the revised level of maximum reimbursement, after consultation by UN and UNDP, be circulated by the CCAQ secretariat for clearance/approval (see also para. (28) below).
(25) On the basis of proposals developed by UN in co-operation with the secretariat of ICSC and representatives of Field Service staff, ICSC at its 32nd session (July 1990: A/45/30, paras. 254-270 and annex XXI) recommended a new base salary scale for the Field Service, using as a comparator the United States federal civil service working abroad (rather than the United States foreign service as in the past). The mobility and hardship matrix approved for the Professional and higher categories, as well as the assignment grant, would be applied to the Field Service, and the new scale and allowances would be adjusted in future in relation to adjustments for the Professional and higher categories. CCAQ had earlier taken the position that the conditions of service of the Field Service category were not a common system issue, an opinion not shared by the Commission (see ACC/1987/4, para. 75, ACC/1988/4, paras. 58-60, and ACC/1990/10, paras. 51 and 87).
(26) At its 73rd session (July 1990: ACC/1990/10, para. 51) CCAQ concluded that the new Field Service remuneration package (see para. (25) above) should not be applied to internationally-recruited General Service staff. However, the latter should be entitled to the new assignment grant (ibid., para. 56).
(27) At its 74th session (March 1991: ACC/1991/5, paras. 60-63) CCAQ - with some organizations expressing reservations - invited its secretariat to develop further, in consultation with the ICSC secretariat, proposals it had made for discontinuation of the non-resident's allowance for internationally-recruited General Service staff and the introduction at all locations of a revised rental subsidy scheme for such staff. These proposals, in the secretariat's view, flowed logically from the application to such staff of the new mobility and hardship matrix (see section 10.2).
(28) In accordance with a proposal by UN and UNDP, CCAQ at its 75th session (July-August 1991: ACC/1991/17, paras. 97-99; see also ACC/1991/5, paras. 118, 119) approved an increase from $1,200 to $1,875 (i.e. 75 per cent of $2,500) in the maximum allowable reimbursement towards the cost of transporting privately-owned vehicles, effective 1 September 1991. The updated list of eligible duty stations was issued as ACC/1991/PER/CM/19 (21 October 1991).
(29) At the same session (ACC/1991/17, paras. 62-69) CCAQ dealt with the issues raised in paragraph (27) above. It recommended to ICSC that the non-resident's allowance be eliminated with effect from 1 January 1992, in conjunction with the introduction of a revised rental subsidy scheme, which in its view should be modelled on that applicable to Professional staff. However, the Committee noted that internationally-recruited General Service staff did not readily lend themselves to regulation at the common-system level.
(30) At its 76th session (March 1992: ACC/1992/6, paras. 72-77) the Committee reviewed a report by the ICSC secretariat recommending, for internationally-recruited General Service staff, the elimination of the NRA as proposed by CCAQ but further study of the adoption of a revised rental subsidy scheme, similar to that applicable to Professional staff. In view of the small number of such staff, who were difficult to recruit and retain under the present arrangements which had become anachronistic with the introduction of the mobility and hardship allowance, CCAQ objected to any further study and suggested that, given the diversity of the difficulties experienced by the organizations, a common system approach might not be appropriate. ICSC took note of the proposals but decided that before acting on them it would require objective means for determining the recruitment and retention needs of the organizations (ICSC/35/R.17, para 160).
(31) At its 77th session (July 1992: ACC/1992/23, paras. 40-41) CCAQ was informed by the ICSC's secretariat of its intention to carry out a comprehensive review of the conditions of internationally-recruited General Service staff in time for the Commission's March 1993 session. CCAQ felt that such a global study might lead to ICSC approving a rigid common system approach which would not be appropriate and urged that the implicit establishment of a new category should be avoided.
(32) At its 80th session (February 1994: ACC/1994/4, paras. 91-94) CCAQ considered the report of a working group set up by ICSC (ICSC/38/R.19, para. 95) to study all aspects of NPOs. The organizations using this category subscribed to the recommendations put forward in the document. FAO and UNHCR announced that they were also about to make use of this category. The Committee felt that further proposals should also be subject to further consultation and therefore requested that any additional proposals be held over until the Commission's next session. The item was deferred.
(33) At its 81st session (June 1994: ACC/1994/14, paras. 128-132) CCAQ continued its discussion on the basis of further information provided by the ICSC secretariat. CCAQ welcomed the upcoming visits of members of the Commission to field locations and decided to request the Commission to report on the results of the visits. The Committee recognized that the increasing use of NPOs, as well as the use of National Professional Project Personnel (NPPPs), responded to Member States' policies calling on organizations to increase reliance on national capacity in the delivery of their programmes. The organizations using NPOs subscribed to the revised guidelines but some members had serious difficulties with the salary comparisons presented by the ICSC secretariat. The Committee considered that the New York Steering Committee mechanism should be retained for reviewing NPO scales. ICSC recommended revised criteria for the employment of NPOs and reaffirmed the application of the Flemming principle for the determination of their conditions of service and of the Master Standard for the classification of their posts. ICSC also decided to apply to NPO surveys the relevant decisions in respect of the general methodology for surveys of the best conditions of service at non-headquarters duty stations and made a number of requests to the organizations and its secretariat to enable the Commission to follow the matter further (A/49/30, para. 244 & annex VI). The Assembly agreed to the revised criteria (resolution 49/223 IV B).
(34) At its July 2003 meeting (CEB/2003/HLCM/20, paras. 24-25) the HR Network reviewed a note presented by FICSA requesting that action be taken at the inter-agency level on matters which it considered required attention, especially as regards conditions of service in field-based duty stations. Specifically, action was requested regarding contractual arrangements, use of core resources, career development and training, treatment of staff by managers, harassment, gender balance, mobility and security. The Network thanked FICSA for bringing the issues to organizations' attention and pointed out a number of areas in which organizations had taken action along the lines requested by FICSA.
(35) At the eleventh session of the HR Network (CEB/2006/HLCM/12, para.15), concerning the review of conversion of contractual instruments of staff in the field, the Commission (ICSC) alerted the General Assembly that the present practice of converting mission staff from the 300 to the 100 series had long term implications for the Organization: financial cost, geographical distribution, gender balance and merit-based transparent and opened selection procedures, as well as noted that this conversion practice created inequities in the compensation packages between staff under 300-series appointments of limited duration and 100-series appointments.
The ICSC recommended that the General Assembly request the Secretary-General: (i) To discontinue the practice of converting mission staff on appointments of limited duration from the 300 to the 100 series; (ii) To not review under the same conditions those 100 series mission appointees converted from appointments of limited duration under the 300 series upon the staff members’ departure from the mission or the expiry of the mission; The ICSC further requested the ICSC secretariat to review all types of current contracts and associated benefits packages in the organizations of the United Nations common system, including the use of appointments of limited duration under the 300 series of the Staff Rules, and to report at its 2007 summer session.
(36) At its meeting of July 2006 (CEB/2006/HLCM/17, para.20), in reference to the employment of common system staff in the field, including the practice of conversion of appointments from the 300 to the 100 series, the HR Network thanked the UN representative for her briefing on the proposals by the Secretary-General to introduce one contract with one set of staff rules, for appointments of short-term, fixed-term and continuing duration, while recognizing that such contractual arrangements would have implications for organizations, other than the UN, particularly funds, programmes and organizations with staff serving at non-family duty stations. The Commission decided: (a) to withdraw its earlier recommendations, including the discontinuation of the conversions, in light of the new information; (b) to establish a working group comprising three members of the commission, the ISCC and CEB secretariats, representatives of organizations with internationally recruited staff serving in non-family duty stations and representatives from FICSA and CCISUA; (c) to agree on the terms of reference for the joint working group (d) as an interim measure, to allow maximum flexibility under the current contractual arrangements for staff in peacekeeping missions and to recommend to the General Assembly the following measures: (i) remove the four-year limitations on 300 series appointments; (ii) permit conversion to mission-specific 100 series for contract for staff members who have a minimum of four years of service; (iii) permit reassignment of 300 and 100 series mission-specific appointees to another mission in a similar capacity to meet the requirements of the Organization.
(37) At the thirteenth session of the HR Network (CEB/2007/HR/8, paras. 53-55): The Commission (ICSC) decided that DPKO appointments of limited duration are also mission specific and, therefore, do not allow management the flexibility to move staff to another location to meet a higher priority need or to assign staff to a new mission, if their current mission is phased out.
The Commission decided to recommend that mission-specific 100-series contracts be phased out because they do not provide the flexibility needed to move staff among field duty stations and cannot respond to the need for a global workforce. Further, staff members on 100-series mission-specific contracts serving at non-family duty stations, designated special missions, should receive the same compensation and benefits as those normally given to internationally recruited Professional staff assigned to family duty stations when the duty station designation is changed from non-family to family.
The Commission decided to recommend that rest breaks be further harmonized in the areas of the payment of travel and daily subsistence allowance. DPKO should arrange for, or reimburse, travel as with the SOA. All organizations of the common system now paying daily subsistence allowance for rest breaks should discontinue that practice. Daily subsistence allowance in connection with rest breaks should be paid only on an exceptional basis, when the organization was unable to provide travel or make arrangements for the staff member to travel to the approved rest and recuperation location.
The Commission decided to recommend that current practices governing extended Monthly Security Evacuation Allowance and home leave be retained.
The Commission decided to recommend the application of the current SOA model common system-wide at non-family duty stations with regard to the payment of post adjustment, mobility and hardship, hazard pay and special operations living allowance. That model harmonizes all practices, is the most cost-effective and best meets the needs of the organizations of the common system. Further, the Commission decided to recommend that the SOA model be modified to use only the administrative place of assignment as the basis for the entitlements mentioned above. The result would be that staff members would no longer be permitted to retain the entitlements of the former duty station when the family elects to remain there.
The Commission urges organizations to implement the following measures, where appropriate, to reduce recruitment delays and streamline the retention and reassignment of staff to non-family duty stations:
(a) Use of generic job profiles to the extent possible; (b) Use of standing rosters in lieu of individual postings for recruitment; (c) Optimized use of the Internet in the application process; (d) Shared cost of paid advertising, radio and television spots to attract candidates; (e) Automated screening of applications, to the extent possible; (f) Recognition of the value of experience in non-family duty assignments, by giving special consideration to it in future assignments and promotion possibilities and stipulating that consideration for acquisition of continuing contracts would be subject to a posting in at least one field assignment; (g) Mobility stipulated in contracts, as a condition of employment; (h) Establishment of rotation policy, based on the hardship categorization of a duty station; (i) Facilitation of movement between organizations of the common system.
A. Comprehensive review of contractual arrangements in the common system
The Commission decided to reiterate its decision periodically to review the compensation packages associated with all contractual instruments to ensure that they are harmonized across the common system.
B. Staff well-being in non-family duty stations
The Commission decided to encourage organizations to implement necessary actions to improve working environments and conditions in non-family duty stations in order to enhance staff well-being in those locations, in particular:
(a) Spouse employment (at the administrative place of assignment); (b) Recreational facilities (at the place of work); (c) Stress counselling (at the place of work); and (d) Satellite communications systems (at the place of work).
(38) At its 15h session in Rome (CEB/2008/HLCM/HR/17, paras. 24-26), the HR Network:
o Thanked the ICSC Secretariat for the document, which contained the initial analysis and findings on “effectiveness and impact of recruitment and retention measures at difficult duty stations”. o Recommended to make a distinction between D and E duty stations as there were different allowances in each; o Requested to participate in the redesign of the staff questionnaire and to review it before it was sent to staff; o Reiterated that this was an initial analysis and that meaningful conclusions could not be drawn until more comprehensive data was available; o Confirmed that this was a very important review which could have an impact on future policies and decisions; o Supported the study and emphasized its involvement in this important undertaking.
(39) At its sixteenth session in New York (CEB/2008/HLCM/HR/35, paras. 36-39), the HR Network:
o Thanked the ICSC for the very interesting and useful document which provides an analysis of qualitative data on managerial issues such as labour turnover and staff retention; o Noted that some organizations were finding it harder to recruit for some technical and highly specialized jobs and in hardship duty stations; o Stressed the need for increased investment in staff development and increased opportunities for career development in order to increase motivation and effectiveness; o Pointed out that a large number of mandatory retirements will take place in the coming years and it is therefore important to develop resourcing and succession planning strategies.
(40) At the same session (ibid.), the Commission requested its secretariat to continue its work in producing further analysis of the data, which could be used in subsequent work of the Commission.
The Commission further decided to recommend to the General Assembly that it take note of the findings of the Commission, in particular the intervention matrices found in its Annual Report, with a view to encouraging organizations of the United Nations system to develop strategies to address recruitment and retention factors.
(41) At the same session (CEB/2008/HLCM/HR/35, paras. 44-45), the Commission decided that no change in the operational rules governing the three components of the remuneration package (post adjustment, education grant, and mobility and hardship scheme) was warranted at this time. The Commission further decided that the matter of the effect of fluctuation of local currencies vis-à-vis the United States dollars on staff remuneration in Group II duty stations should be referred to ACPAQ for review at its thirty-first session.
(42) At the HR Network’s nineteenth session (CEB/2010/HLCM/HR/18, para.61), the Commission decided: (a) To develop a harmonized approach for compensation, allowances and benefits for staff assigned to non-family duty stations. In particular, this new approach will provide options for an allowance to compensate staff for the need to maintain a second household. The new harmonized approach will replace the Special Operations Approach (SOA) as it relates to the compensation and allowances payable under the SOA. This work will be carried out by the ICSC secretariat with consultation with the organizations and staff. (b) That the new household maintenance allowance would be payable together with all other allowances and benefits for the staff member’s duty station; and (c) That proposals should be made for considering varying levels of payment for staff, depending on grade and family situation, among others; (d) To develop options with pros and cons for consideration by the Commission at its 71st session. (e) To request the United Nations to provide: (i) statistics to support the conclusion that there had been some positive effect in reducing turnover as a result of the harmonization of contracts; (ii) information on the basis for which vacancy rates were determined; including whether new posts never filled were included in the calculation, and what would be the rate for those vacancies that were filled and then vacated by staff; (iii) costs: if all vacancies were filled, what would the annual costs be for the $30,000 per year for the UN proposal? (iv) how was the indicative cost of $700 arrived at for the travel related to R&R? (v) exactly what travel expenses is the UN proposing be covered? Airfare/terminal expenses? DSA or any other cost. (f) To request the organizations using the Special Operation Approach to indicate how any staff have families actually located at an Administrative Place of Assignment (APA), providing numbers by each APA location; (g) To recall its recommendation to the General Assembly that paid Rest and Recuperation apply to all common system organizations, including the United Nations Secretariat; (h) To reiterate its recommendation to the General Assembly that the designation of non-family duty stations be harmonized across the common system.
(43) At its twentieth session (CEB/2010/HLCM/HR/35, paras.53-54), the HR Network thanked the ICSC secretariat for all their efforts and the comprehensive document on the harmonization of the conditions of service for staff serving in non-family duty stations in the common system; Recognized the difficulty of the task to arrive at a common harmonized approach; Supported a harmonized approach provided that Option 2, HOME 2, would be approved as a suitable approach to compensate staff in non-family duty stations for the additional expenses of maintaining a second household; Supported the proposed common system framework for rest and recuperation.
The Commission decided to recommend to the General Assembly:
(a) Harmonization of designation of duty stations: That the United Nations harmonize the designation of non-family duty stations based on a security assessment, as currently applied by the rest of the common system. (b) Staff assigned to non-family duty stations: (i) Recommend a change to the existing hardship allowance whereby staff assigned to non family duty stations would receive an additional amount in recognition that such service represents an increased level of financial and psychological hardship in terms of: - Involuntary separation from families - Additional costs related to such service. (ii) For staff paid at the dependency rate, the additional measure would be 100 percent of the applicable dependency rate of the hardship allowance for category E - the most difficult duty stations - and the hardship matrix would be amended to reflect this (see attached, annex VI). (iii) For staff paid at the single rate, the additional measure would be equivalent to 50 percent of the applicable single rate of the hardship allowance in category E - the most difficult duty stations - and the hardship matrix would be amended to reflect this (see attached, annex VI). (iv) Staff would continue to receive the normal hardship allowance at the level applicable to the duty station to which they are assigned. (v) Recommend that such a change will be implemented six calendar months after a decision by the General Assembly, in order that organizations might prepare for the implementation. (vi) For organizations which currently use the SOA or the EMSEA, the following transitional measures would apply (see attached, annex VII which provides an overview of the implementation plan for the transitional arrangements): a. Establishing Unified SOLA rates: Within six months after implementation (refer paragraph 49(b)(v) above) of a decision by the General Assembly, location-specific SOLA amounts will be harmonized by the Commission as a unified SOLA rate for each duty station currently designated as an Administrative Place of Assignment, in consultation with the organizations and the staff federations. Such amounts will be promulgated by the ICSC. Such unified SOLA rates will take effect one year after the implementation of a decision by the General Assembly, unless as provided in (d) below. Existing staff currently performing duties in a non-family duty station: b. For staff currently assigned to an Administrative Place of Assignment (APA): Staff assigned to an APA for service in a non-family duty station at the time of implementation of the decision by the General Assembly will initially continue to receive the SOLA they receive at the time of implementation of the new scheme. One year after the implementation of the decision by the General Assembly, and for the duration of their assignment to the same APA, they will receive the unified SOLA rate for that APA, as established by the Commission; c. For staff currently in receipt of EMSEA: Staff assigned to a non-family duty station at the time of the implementation of the decision by the General Assembly will receive EMSEA at the current rate for the duration of their assignment to that non-family duty station, or five years after the implementation of the decision of the General Assembly, whichever is the shorter. Existing staff reassigned to perform duties in a non-family duty station within one year of the implementation of the decision by the General Assembly: d. For staff reassigned to an Administrative Place of Assignment (APA): Staff reassigned to an APA for service in a non-family duty station within one year of implementation of the decision by the General Assembly will initially receive the SOLA applicable to the APA at the time of implementation of the new scheme. One year after the implementation of the decision by the General Assembly, and for the duration of their assignment to the same APA, they will receive the unified SOLA rate for that APA, as established by the Commission, provided that there remains at least six months between the reassignment and the one year anniversary of the implementation of the decision by the General Assembly: if the period between the reassignment and the anniversary date is less than six months, the staff member will receive the unified SOA-specific SOLA amount immediately on reassignment. e. For staff reassigned to a non-family duty station and in receipt of EMSEA: Staff reassigned to a non-family duty station within one year of the implementation of the decision by the General Assembly will receive EMSEA at the current rate for the duration of their assignment to that non-family duty station, or five years after the implementation of the decision by the General Assembly, whichever is the shorter. Existing staff reassigned to perform duties in a non-family duty later than one year after implementation of the decision by the General Assembly: f. Staff assigned to an APA for service in a non-family duty station will receive the unified SOLA rate for that APA, which one year after implementation of the decision by the General Assembly would in each of the ensuing four years be reduced by one-quarter of the difference between: (i) the applicable SOLA rate plus the normal hardship allowance at the APA; and (ii) the normal hardship allowance plus the additional non-family hardship element at the POD (i.e. equivalent to what the United Nations Secretariat staff receive). g. Staff reassigned to a non-family duty station and in receipt of EMSEA will receive the difference between: (i) the applicable EMSEA rate; and (ii) the additional non-family hardship element. All organizations would convert to the new non-family hardship element no later than five years after the General Assembly decision, at which time full harmonization would have been achieved. Organizations which currently used SOA or EMSEA would retain the option of adopting the new additional non-family hardship element at any time prior to the five year deadline, subject to discontinuing the use of EMSEA or SOLA. h. For newly recruited staff: Newly recruited staff who join the organization on or after a date six months after implementation of a decision by the General Assembly will be assigned under the non-family hardship element as approved by the General Assembly, and should not be offered the option of being assigned under SOA or with EMSEA. i. Full harmonization five years after implementation of the non-family hardship element: All assignments under SOA, as well as the payment of EMSEA, as applicable, will be discontinued effective five years after implementation of the non-family hardship element. This would, inter alia, require that the provisions governing the applicability of EMSEA in cases of staff being assigned, or re-assigned, to a non-family duty station as contained in sub-paragraphs I.10 (b) and (c) of annex I to the Field Security Handbook be removed with effect from five years after the implementation of the General Assembly’s decision. Five years after the implementation of the General Assembly decision the ICSC will discontinue the unified SOLA rates and organizations are expected to base the staff members entitlements on the place of duty and all staff should fall under the provisions of the non-family hardship element.
(c) Harmonization of rest and recuperation: (i) To recommend the proposed harmonized Rest and Recuperation Framework (annex VIII). (ii) To encourage organizations to the extent possible to absorb additional costs imposed by the framework within existing resources.
(44) At its twentieth session (CEB/2010/5, paras.80-89), HLCM, while expressing appreciation to the ICSC for developing a framework and a methodology to determine conditions of service in non-family duty stations, noted the concerns of a number of agencies, as also expressed by the staff associations, regarding negative impact of the ICSC decision on the harmonization of such conditions of service on frontline humanitarian operations and on staff.
(45) At its 21th session in Paris (CEB/2011/3, paras. 72-86), HLCM thanked the ICSC Vice Chairman for the information provided and expressed its full commitment to work closely together on the transitional arrangements for the harmonization of conditions of service in non-family duty stations and on the framework for Rest and Recuperation (R&R).
(46) At its twenty first session (CEB/2011/HLCM/HR/9, paras.12-14) the HR Network agreed to develop the ToR of the Field Group before ICSC summer session. The ToRs need to contain the formalization of the relationship between the Field Group, the HR Network and ICSC; Agreed to develop process for generating substantive issues for discussion at a retreat with ICSC in July prior to the Commission’s session; And requested the CEB Secretariat to call a meeting of the Network Chairs to discuss strategic collaboration with HLCM and ICSC.
(47) At the same session (CEB/2011/HLCM/HR/9, paras.36-40), the HR Network thanked the working group for the hard work undertaken during the past three years on Conditions of service of the General Service and other locally recruited staff: Review of the methodologies for surveys of best prevailing conditions of employment at headquarters and non-headquarters duty station; Requested the ICSC secretariat to ensure that the manual and training be prioritized to inform staff in methodology I and II duty stations of the changes so that they were well informed on how to proceed. The Commission’s decision was in ICSC/72/CRP.4/Add.6 (see Annex 7).
(48) At its twenty third session in September 2011 (CEB/2011/HLCM/HR/23, paras. 12-15), regarding the harmonization of vacancy advertisements and selection processes at country level for GS and NPO positions that was led by UNESCO, the HR Network agreed to prefer the use of internal staff resources on detachment, if possible, rather than the hiring of external consultants. The final choice would be made by the HR Network on the basis of proposals from the organizations. Members also agreed that it would be more straightforward to choose pilot countries which do not have multiple duty stations. The initial conclusion was to propose Uruguay and Viet Nam to the next meeting of the HLCM, in late September 2011.