Hundred and fourth Session
Rome, 15 – 19 September 2003
Recommendations and Decisions of the ICSC
The purpose of this paper is to inform the Committee of recent developments in the activities of the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) and the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Board (UNJSPB) and changes in the conditions of service of staff in the Professional and higher and General Service categories.
United Nations Common System
1. The ICSC, at its fifty-sixth session held in Rome from 31 March to 18 April 2003, having taken into account the views expressed by the Member States at the fifty-seventh session of the General Assembly, continued its review of the pay and benefits system and took further decisions with regard to:
2. The Commission took note with satisfaction of the work completed thus far. It looked forward to the completion of the validation process and the final development of the new system, which should be ready for its review at its fifty-seventh session.
3. The Commission emphasized its earlier decision to take a careful and deliberate approach to rewarding contribution, particularly in the context of its planned pilot study of performance pay and a related broad-banded salary structure. It had earlier decided that any pay for performance policy should be based on a well-understood, acceptable and credible performance appraisal system. It had also decided, and reported to the General Assembly, that it would apply confluence of factors approach consisting of performance, competency development and client feedback in the pilot study. The Commission decided to establish a working group, consisting of the ICSC secretariat and representatives of the organizations and staff, to recommend criteria that could be used to determine the degree of success of the pilot study and consider, in detail the issues that need to be addressed in order to proceed with the pilot study.
4. The Commission decided that it would continue to address the issue of the Senior Management Service, on the basis of the guidelines provided on the subject in its 2002 report, and noted the development work on the Senior Management Service was proceeding under the auspices of the Chief Executive Board for Coordination. It requested the organizations to inform it of progress made, as appropriate, with a preliminary report to be submitted at its fifty-seventh session.
5. The Commission decided to request its secretariat to provide it at its fifty-seventh session with a document which would address issues that would be involved in revising the job classification system currently applicable to the General Service and related categories along the lines of those being considered for the new job design and evaluation for the Professional and higher categories.
6. The Commission decided to commence its review with the education grant in 2004.
Base/floor salary scale
7. The Commission, in its review of the net remuneration margin between the UN base/floor salary scale for Professional and higher categories and the corresponding base net salary levels of officials in comparable positions serving in the US civil service, decided to recommend to the General Assembly that it use the nationwide non-locality pay as reference point for the United Nations base/floor salary scale, rather than Washington, DC salaries (including locality pay) as had been the case since 1994. The comparison based on the nationwide (non-locality) pay would result in no adjustment being made to the current base/floor salary scale on 1 March 2004 and, consequently, no consolidation of percentage points of post adjustments and no revision of the mobility and hardship scheme and separation payment scale.
8. At its fifty-fifth session in 2002, the Commission had noted the completion of the fifth round of surveys and, in accordance with its normal practice, decided to conduct a comprehensive review of the headquarters and non-headquarters methodologies in 2003. In this context the Commission established a Working Group which would review both General Service salary surveys methodologies.
9. The Commission reviewed the report submitted by the Working Group at its fifty-sixth session.
10. The Commission confirmed the Flemming principle in its current formulation and interpretation as the basic principle for the General Service salary survey methodology and reaffirmed its responsibility for the conduct of salary surveys for General Service and related categories at headquarters locations. The Commission decided to emphasize the issues of transparency and confidentiality as elements of major importance in the overall survey process.
11. The Commission, on the basis of the report of the Working Group, approved a new categorization of non-headquarters duty stations by establishing four groups of duty stations differentiated by the number of employers to be retained for final analysis. The Commission also decided to increase the share of employers from the public/non-profit sector from the current 25 per cent to 33 per cent of the total retained employer. With regard to data collection, the Commission agreed that alternative data collection techniques could be used in the survey process. Those techniques should be used judiciously and when necessary to ensure the best possible participation and to obtain the most accurate and complete survey data.
12. The Standing Committee of the Board of the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund held its regular session in New York during the period between 7 and 11 July 2003. FAO was represented by a delegation from its Staff Pension Committee members representing the 3 constituencies: Conference; Administration and Participants. The following relevant points are extracted from the Standing Committee report to present to the Finance Committee:
13. In its proposal, the Pension Fund Secretariat recalled the historical background of the ASHI deduction programme through which health insurance premiums for beneficiaries of the Fund are deducted from their pension benefit in accordance with the terms of the Health Insurance Policies of each member organisation. The Standing Committee noted the increased costs for running the ASHI deductions programme and hence agreed to the Secretariat cost-sharing proposal between the organization members in the programme. The Standing Committee agreed to the study - proposed by the Secretariat – to improve the controls and reporting of the ASHI process; identify possible system automation and provide cost saving analysis in the implementation of any changes. The estimated cost of the project (including the study) put at US$ 500,000 is to be prorated amongst the participating organizations. Similarly, the Standing Committee agreed to the Secretariat proposal that the staff costs (1 GS) associated with the programme and amounting to US$ 61,000 per annum be prorated amongst the organizations. The above recommendations would result in a one-time charge of approximately US$ 50,000 levied on FAO for its share in the project costs and approximately US$ 6,500 per annum for staff costs.
Benefit Provisions of the UNJSPF.
14. The 2002 UN Joint Staff Pension Board requested the Secretariat to consult with the Committee of Actuaries and report to the Standing Committee on proposals for changes in benefit provisions of the Fund: i. the purchase of additional years of contributory service; ii. Elimination of the (one-year) time limit for electing to validate or restore prior periods; iii. Upward review of the “benefit” stipulation under article 38 (residual settlement). The Standing Committee took note of the Secretariat presentation and requested the Secretariat to conduct a study in consultation with the Committee of Actuaries, and present its findings to the Board in 2004.
15. The following levels for the Rome post adjustment classification, showing the fluctuations of the post adjustment multiplier relative to changes in the rate of exchange were announced by the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) from July 2002 to June 2003. Changes in the multiplier were for the most part due to currency fluctuation only.
|March 2002||104.0||July 2002||1.019||114.1||14.1|
|April 2002||104.3||Aug. 2002||1.016||114.3||14.3|
|May 2002||104.6||Sep. 2002||1.015||114.4||14.4|
|June 2002||104.6||Oct. 2002||1.022||113.8||13.8|
|July 2002||104.7||Nov. 2002||1.017||114.3||14.3|
|Aug. 2002||105.1||Dec. 2002||1.009||114.1||14.1|
|Sep. 2002||105.3||Jan. 2003||0.958||120.4||20.4|
|Oct. 2002||105.7||Feb. 2003||0.931||123.5||23.5|
|Nov. 2002||105.8||Mar. 2003||0.929||123.7||23.7|
|Dec. 2002||105.9||Apr. 2003||0.929||123.7||23.7|
|Jan. 2003||106.5||May 2003||0.868||131.3||31.3|
|Feb. 2003||106.8||June 2003||0.849||133.9||33.9|
16. In accordance with the procedures for interim adjustment approved by the Council at its Eighty-Sixth session, it is foreseen that a 2.5 per cent net increase in salaries of the General Service staff in Rome will become due effective 1 November 2003.
1 Index of cost-of-living for international officials in Rome. Please note that the index has been re-based effective 1 October 2000, date of the last cost-of-living survey.