Introductory note : At its 13th session (September 1952: CO-ORDINATION/R.132), CCAQ adopted guiding principles concerning the application of certain staff rules. These are set out in paras. 23-52 of CO-ORDINATION/R.132 and relate, inter alia, to home leave (para. 34); sick leave (paras. 35-37); maternity leave (paras. 38 and 39); and leave for urgent personal reasons (para. 40). For the purpose of considering subsequent developments it is convenient to deal with the subject under six headings - (i) home leave and annual visits to family (which, fundamentally, are entitlements to payment of travel costs rather than to leave as such); (ii) sick leave; (iii) maternity leave; (iv) annual and special leave, i.e. all other kinds of leave (which are entitlements to be absent from duty); (v) rest and recuperation travel (an entitlement between 1968 and 1981); and (vi) hours of work and public holidays. Even so, there is some overlap.

Section 3.1: Home leave and annual visits to family/family visit travel

(1)     The report of the special session on salary review matters (March 1957: CO-ORDINATION/R.244) sets out in para. 38 the purpose of and entitlements to annual family visits, in relation to home leave.

(2)     At its 19th session (March 1958: CO-ORDINATION/R.264, paras. 62-66) CCAQ agreed that, as regards home leave travel for dependants, there would in exceptional circumstances be a need to authorize home leave travel for some members of the family even though the staff member was not himself going on home leave at the same time.

(3)     At the first part of the 21st session (April 1960: CO-ORDINATION/R.325, Annex I, para. 9) CCAQ recorded that General Service staff were entitled to home leave where the "recognized home" was outside the country of the duty station, but that some organizations made special arrangements in respect of staff recruited from outside the normal area of non-local recruitment.

(4)     At the first part of the 22nd session (January and March 1961: CO-ORDINATION/R.351, paras. 23-26) CCAQ considered a proposal that in certain designated areas of difficult climatic or living conditions the organizations should contribute towards the cost of "local leave journeys" to suitable rest areas once a year, for staff from outside the designated area. It set up a working party to examine the matter.

(5)     At the second part of the 22nd session (July 1961: CO-ORDINATION/R.373, paras. 12-19) it agreed, after considering the working party report on difficult areas (see paragraph (4) above), that as regards service in an area of West Africa comprising Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Dahomey (now Benin); Gabon; Gambia; Ghana; Guinea; Ivory Coast; Liberia; Mali; Mauritania; Niger; Nigeria; Senegal; Sierra Leone; Togo and Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso):

  1. staff should be permitted to accumulate and carry over annual leave from one year to another without limitation, provided that contracts would not be extended solely to enable leave to be taken, nor would payment on separation be made for more than sixty days' accrued leave;

  2. an official whose home leave country was outside the designated area of West Africa, and who was not entitled to an annual family visit, should be entitled (with his accompanying dependants) to home leave once in every eighteen months of qualifying service in the area, provided his service was to continue at least six months beyond the date of return or date of eligibility (whichever was later; the leave could be granted any time within six months before the completion of eighteen months' service). On assignment to a "normal" duty station, the next home leave would be determined by"normal" rules;

  3. as an alternative to the home leave entitlement as in (ii), an executive head could authorize payment of reasonable travel costs (not to exceed home leave costs) to the nearest place which he considered suitable for leave purposes. This must not, however, be done for two successive home leave entitlements.

(6)     At the 23rd session (March 1962: CO-ORDINATION/R.391, paras. 71-76) CCAQ agreed to continue the special arrangements referred to in paragraph (5); UN proposed to seek legislative sanction for appropriate amendment of its Staff Regulations. The Committee agreed further that the Sudan should be designated as an area to which the conditions applied, and that proposals for other additions should be sent to the Secretary of CCAQ, who would consult TAB secretariat and simultaneously circularize other organizations to enable the proposal to be assessed and a decision made. UN Controller would establish a system of notifying all organizations of the list of approved designations.

(7)     At the 24th session (March 1963: CO-ORDINATION/R.430, paras. 58-59) CCAQ noted that the UN had not obtained General Assembly approval for the proposed 18-months home leave cycle in difficult areas, and did not propose to re-open the question for the time being. No organization felt that immediate action was imperative. The special needs of experts employed on an academic or school year basis should and could be dealt with by any organization in ways suited to its circumstances. "Rest and recuperation leave" as an alternative to the special home leave entitlement discussed above would not be further utilized for the present.

(8)     Also at the 24th session (March 1963: CO-ORDINATION/R.430, para. 97) CCAQ agreed that OPEX personnel should be treated on the same basis as other experts, as regards home leave.

(9)     At its 29th session (March 1968: CO-ORDINATION/R.669, para. 68) CCAQ agreed that some amelioration of living conditions in field areas might be made through more generous interpretation of the rules regarding travel time for home leave.

(10)     At its 31st session (March 1970: CO-ORDINATION/R.798, para. 55) CCAQ agreed that, subject to the general provision that one home leave is granted in respect of each two years of service, there was no reason for any provision in the rules that entitlement to the leave should depend on service continuing for six months beyond the second anniversary of the departure on the previous home leave. Other requirements should remain unchanged.

(11)     At the same session (CO-ORDINATION/R.798, para. 57) CCAQ further considered the question of rest and recuperation leave which had been discussed at the 30th session (1969) and which is referred to in para. (5)(ii) above. The subject is dealt with in section 3.5.

(12)     At a special session in June 1971 (see CO-ORDINATION/R.885, paras. 19-21) CCAQ agreed that all organizations should apply the rules on home leave and family visits in such a way that leave journeys were not denied as a result of mere technicalities. Subject to the overriding limit that not more than one home leave journey was taken for every two years of service (and one family visit where appropriate), wide discretion should be used over the matter of timing. It agreed also that General Service staff should have the same entitlement to family visits as Professional staff.

(13)     With ICAO reserving its position, CCAQ agreed at its 33rd session (March 1972: CO-ORDINATION/R.931, paras. 34 and 35) that, when a staff member was not accompanied by any of his dependants at his duty station:

     (a)     he may exchange his entitlement to family visit travel for an entitlement to his spouse to visit him at the duty station, within the cost limit which would have applied to the family visit journey;

     (b)     if his dependants resided in different places, he may use his family visit entitlement to visit any one of them, subject to the cost not exceeding the cost of a journey to the place of home leave or permanent duty station;

     (c)     the entitlement to family visit travel should not preclude entitlement to education grant travel.

     The above arrangements presupposed that:

     (a)     the staff member met the conditions regarding duration of appointment and timing of journeys;

     (b)     the dependants met the conditions regarding length of residence and timing of journeys.

(14)     At the 41st session of CCAQ (March 1975), and again at its Special Session in August 1975, FAO proposed a liberalization of the home leave entitlement which would permit a family to have every second home leave in the country of the spouse, if different from that of the staff member, but not exceeding the cost to the staff member's "home of record". At the latter session, FAO also suggested an even wider alternative liberalization in the form of a lump sum payment of the value of the tickets which the organization would normally provide, leaving the staff member free to make his own arrangements. It was generally agreed that the latter idea could not be accepted but the first might well be examined at the 43rd session (1976) if FAO wished to put forward a specific, documented proposal (CO-ORDINATION/R.1087, paras. 54 and 55 and CO-ORDINATION/R.1113, paras. 22 and 23).

(15)     At the special session in August 1975, FAO also proposed that family visit travel be accorded during the first year of service and to staff having one year appointments. CCAQ agreed to examine the question at its 43rd session (1976) on the basis of FAO documentation (CO-ORDINATION/R.1113, para. 24).

(16)     At its 43rd session (March 1976: CO-ORDINATION/R.1145, para. 20), CCAQ agreed that where two persons married to each other were staff members of different organizations participating in the common system, the same rule regarding cumulation of home leave entitlements should apply as in the case where they were staff members of a single organization. It further agreed that the organizations would take steps to ensure that they were informed when the spouse of a staff member was employed by another organization, and that each organization would then inform the other whenever its staff member proceeded on home leave in his or her own right. Finally, it was agreed that the question of sharing home leave costs in such situations should be left to bilateral agreements.

(17)     At the same 43rd session (ibid., paras. 24 and 25) CCAQ gave preliminary consideration to several proposals by FAO affecting home leave and family visit travel (see paras. (14) and (15) above). It agreed that the time had come for a cautious reappraisal of the travel rules as a whole, and that it would make a study leading up to concrete proposals to ICSC.

(18)     In its second annual report (1976) (A/31/30, paras. 74, 271-274), and on the basis of its review of the UN salary system, ICSC recommended no change in provisions for home leave or travel to visit dependants.

(19)     In the context of the establishment of a scheme for the classification of duty stations according to conditions of life and work, ICSC at its 12th session (July 1980), decided that staff in certain duty stations would be eligible to take home leave every 12 or 18 months (see section 10.2).

(20)     In 1987 the Commission approved the recommendation of a working group for accelerated home leave entitlements for field staff experiencing temporary housing shortages, with certain provisos (A/42/30, para. 220).

(21)     The 18-month home leave entitlement for Professional and higher-level staff remained in effect until 1 July 1990, when it was abolished in accordance with the new mobility and hardship package adopted by the General Assembly on the recommendation of ICSC (resolution 44/198; A/44/30, vol. II, paras. 300-333). The 12-month home leave entitlement remained for duty stations at hardship levels C, D and E. For details on the application of the new package, see sections 10.1 and 10.2.

(22)     Reviewing measures to implement the new package, CCAQ at its 72nd session (February-March 1990: ACC/1990/4, para. 60) agreed that as of 1 July 1990 the arrangements described in paragraph (20) above should be discontinued.

(23)     At its 77th session (July 1992: ACC/1992/23, paras. 108-109) CCAQ, with WHO reserving its position, agreed that service credits towards home and annual leave should not accrue after the first month spent in the home/third country in evacuation status and that non-accrual of service credits towards annual leave should also apply to locally recruited staff who were not required to report to work during prolonged evacuation.

(24)      At its 79th session (July 1993: ACC/1993/22, paras. 111-112) CCAQ considered a note by WHO, on behalf of several Geneva-based organizations, with regard to the possibility of allowing family visit travel whether or not a child of the staff member had joined the staff member at the duty station and recognized that, although no formal change in the conditions for the grant was acceptable, each organization should deal with the matter on a case-by-case basis.

(23)     At its 77th session (July 1992: ACC/1992/23, paras. 108-109) CCAQ, with WHO reserving its position, agreed that service credits towards home and annual leave should not accrue after the first month spent in the home/third country in evacuation status and that non-accrual of service credits towards annual leave should also apply to locally recruited staff who were not required to report to work during prolonged evacuation.

(24)     At its 79th session (July 1993: ACC/1993/22, paras. 111-112) CCAQ considered a note by WHO, on behalf of several Geneva-based organizations, with regard to the possibility of allowing family visit travel whether or not a child of the staff member had joined the staff member at the duty station and recognized that, although no formal change in the conditions for the grant was acceptable, each organization should deal with the matter on a case-by-case basis.