Letter to the Secretary-General concerning parental leave policy proposal for the UN Secretariat.

Dear Colleagues,


You may recall that we had shared with you the outcome of the recently concluded General Assembly, in which the UN 5th committee, after long and difficult deliberations, had concluded its debate around the budget and the UN common system at the eleventh hour.


We have shared with you the positive outcome of the ICSC decision to change the UN Parental Leave framework to a much more appropriate model that is in tune with other international organisations and in line with science-based recommendations from, among others, the World Health Organization.


The staff unions of the UN Secretariat, who are all members of the Staff Management Committee, came to learn recently that despite earlier commitments made by the UN’s leadership that the new policy on parental leave would be issued at the beginning of this year and proposed text in the draft administrative instruction that indicated that staff who had children in 2022 would be eligible to benefit from the new parental leave framework application. This “retroactivity” would not be implemented, and the new parental leave policy would now be issued effective 1 January. Staff would only benefit from the new arrangements effective from that date.


This news came to us as a shock, and the unions collectively felt that this policy interpretation was not in line with the text and intent of the GA Resolution.

Consequently, we have requested ASG OHR, Ms Martha Helena Lopez, to delay the new policy issuance, and we decided collectively to send a letter to the UN Secretary-General indicating our disappointment about his intention to implement this policy in the proposed manner.


I’ve attached the letter sent to the SG and a copy of the GA document with the relevant passage pertaining to the new parental leave policy framework highlighted.


Please circulate this email and attachments with your respective constituents in the missions.


We will revert if we receive any answer on the subject matter from the SG.


Kind Regards,

Mark Polane

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