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Decisions of the ICSC on Post Adjustment issues
ICSC 85th session

At its 85th session, the International Civil Service Commission (ICSC) took the following decisions with respect to the methodological issues pertaining to the 2016 round of cost-of-living surveys, their implications for the results of the surveys for headquarters duty stations, and the implementation of these results.

Methodological issues pertaining to the 2016 baseline surveys at HQ duty stations

With regard to the cost-of-living survey for Geneva, the ICSC reiterated that the collection and processing of data from the 2016 survey was conducted correctly, and in accordance with the approved methodology, guidelines and procedures.

The Commission took note of the findings in the report of the team of statisticians representing Geneva based organizations on various aspects of the post adjustment methodology, as well as the secretariat’s response to those findings, and decided to refer both reports to the Advisory Committee on Post Adjustment Questions (ACPAQ). The Commission subsequently appointed an independent consultant to conduct a comprehensive review of the methodology underpinning the post adjustment system, taking into account the views expressed by representatives of organizations and staff, about that methodology at the eighty-fifth session of the Commission. The report of the consultant was submitted for review by ACPAQ at its 40th session and its recommendations to the Commission at its 86th session. The Commission endorsed all the recommendations and requested the secretariat to use them as a basis for a comprehensive review of the post adjustment system, in close collaboration with all stakeholders, with the goal of putting in place a new methodology by the next round of surveys.

Measures to mitigate the impact of negative survey results on staff salaries

In view of many repeated appeals from Executive Heads of UN common system organizations based in Geneva and elsewhere, for the Commission to consider measures to mitigate the impact of negative survey results on salaries of staff, the Commission decided to modify the existing operational rules for implementation of the gap closure measure, as follows

  • Introduce a margin of 3 per cent to be added to the results of the cost-of-living surveys resulting in a PAI that is below the prevailing pay index by more than 3 per cent; which effectively reduces the resulting decrease in the pay level for existing staff;
  • Extend the period of the transitional measures applicable to existing staff (that is, staff on post on the implementation date of the survey results) to 6 months when the personal transitional allowance (PTA) is paid in full (instead of three months, originally). Thereafter, the PTA is revised downwards by 3 percent (instead of 5 per cent, originally), every 4 months (instead of every 3 months, originally), until it is phased out.
It must be noted that these measures apply to surveys conducted in ALL duty stations under the 2016 round of surveys, not just Geneva or other HQ duty stations

The Commission also approved the results of the cost-of-living surveys in London, Madrid, Paris, Rome and Vienna; and decided that the results for these five duty stations be implemented on 1 August 2017, taking into account inflation and exchange rate fluctuations between the survey date and the date of implementation of the results (1 August 2017).

The Commission further decided to change the implementation date of the results of the 2016 cost-of-living survey in Geneva from 1 May 2017 to 1 August 2017, in order to align it with the other two duty stations for which transitional measures were applicable (Rome and Madrid). This meant, that, with the above-referenced modified transitional measures, there was no impact on the salaries of existing staff in these three duty stations, until February 2018.

Please note that the post adjustment classification reviews conducted for all Group I duty stations in February 2018 including the three duty stations for which transitional measures were applicable (Geneva, Madrid, and Rome) were not affected by the management of the UN/US net remuneration margin in 2018 which took into account the salary increase granted to officials of the US federal civil service, the comparator.




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