Change in the mandatory age of separation - Update
When will it come into effect?
The GA decided in its resolution 70/244 dated 23 December 2015 that the mandatory age of separation for staff recruited before 1 January 2014 should be raised by the Organization of the United Nations common system to 65 years of age at the latest by 1 January 2018, taking into account the acquired rights of staff.
The United Nations Staff Regulations and Rules are applicable not only to the UN Secretariat but also to the UN funds and programmes. Therefore, any change to the mandatory age of separation for the UN Secretariat would be applicable to the funds and programmes. Therefore it was important for the Secretariat to take into account the impact of any change on the operations of the funds and programmes.
Following the GA’s decision, giving due consideration to the operational realities faced by the Organization including the budgets approved by the GA for the period 2016-2017, and bearing in mind the need to harmonize with the funds and programmes, the SG decided that the new mandatory age of separation to 65 will be implemented for all staff effective 1 January 2018.
The required amendment to the staff regulation 9.2 on the mandatory age of separation will accordingly be submitted to the General Assembly at its 72nd session in the fall of 2017 for its consideration and approval.
How will it work?
The mandatory age of separation for all serving staff as of 1 January 2018 will be age 65. In order to preserve the acquired rights of staff members, staff members who, as of 31 December 2017, are eligible to separate upon reaching the mandatory age of separation of 60 or 62, as applicable, may still do so through a simple written request indicating that they wish to exercise this right. Availing of the earlier age of separation of 60 or 62 for these staff after 1 January 2018 will not be considered as early retirement and they will be entitled to full pension without the penalties associated with early retirement.
Once the amended staff regulation 9.2 is approved by the GA, details on the administrative process as to how to submit such a written request will be prepared and communicated to staff through the appropriate administrative issuance or information circular.
Why is this rule not being implemented earlier?
As noted above, in deciding on the effective date of implementation, the SG took into account the budgets approved for the Secretariat for the period 2016-2017 as well as the operational needs of the organization and those of the Funds and Programmes. In terms of the budget, austerity measures resulted in the GA abolishing a number of the posts expected to become vacant during the course of the 2016 – 2017 biennium due to the retirement of the incumbents. Thus the earliest the new mandatory age of separation of 65 can be taken into account in the budgets of the Organization is in the context of the preparation of the budget proposals for 2018–2019. Hence from a budgetary perspective it is not feasible for the UN to increase the mandatory age of separation to 65 prior to 1 January 2018.
Can I be retained beyond the mandatory age of separation at 65?
The current policy governing the retention in service beyond the mandatory age of separation which is captured in the administrative instruction ST/AI/2003/8remains unchanged. In accordance with the policy, retention in service beyond the mandatory age of separation is made only in exceptional circumstances by the SG where it is in the interest of the Organization.