UNU Personnel Policy

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  • PERSONNEL POLICY OF THE UNITED NATIONS UNIVERSITY

    Adopted by the UNU Council at its 50th session in December 2003; amended at its 56th session in December 2009, and further amended at its 60th session in November 2013, 63rd session in May 2015, 67th session in June 2017, 69th session in June 2018, 70th session in December 2018, 71st session in May 2019, at its 72nd session in December 2019, at its 73rd session in June 2020, and at its 75th session in June 2021.

    Article I

    PURPOSE AND SCOPE

    1.1  The Personnel Policy of the United Nations University (hereinafter referred to as “UNU” or “the University”) shall respond to the requirements of the University as a global academic institution of scholarly vigour and excellence, flexibility and effectiveness.

    1.2  All University personnel shall be committed to the fulfilment of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, the purposes and objectives of the University as defined in the Charter of the United Nations University (“the UNU Charter”), and the principles and policies of the University as laid down by the UNU Council. In accordance with these purposes, principles, objectives and policies, University personnel shall fully enjoy academic freedom in their work.

    1.3  The University shall be an equal opportunity workplace, in which all University personnel shall be treated without distinction based on race, culture, religion, age, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, (dis)ability, socio-economic status, association, or any other attribute or perceived attribute.

    1.4  All provisions in the Personnel Policy of the United Nations University, including any policies and administrative issuances applicable to University personnel, shall apply equally to:

    (a)  All University personnel regardless of gender identity or expression, including University personnel who identify as transgender, intersex, gender diverse, or who have alternative expressions of gender; and

    (b)  Opposite-sex and same-sex spouses or partners, in the case of provisions which cover spouses or partners of University personnel.

    Article II

    UNIVERSITY PERSONNEL

    2.1 Pursuant to Article VIII of the UNU Charter, the University shall comprise of the following categories of personnel:

    A. Academic personnel

    1. The academic personnel of the University shall consist of:

    (a)  The Rector;

    (b)  Persons serving at the University Centre, comprising:

    (i)  The Vice-Rectors;

    (ii)  Other directing and professional personnel performing academic functions who may be so designated by the Rector;

    (iii)  Personnel under Personnel Service Agreement, Consultant or Individual Contractor Contract with the University who have been engaged to perform academic tasks within the scope of the University’s activities and operations; and

    (iv)  Research personnel, visiting professors, fellows, and other scholars.

    (c) Persons serving outside the University Centre, comprising:

    (i)  The Directors of Research and Training Centres and Programmes;

    (ii)  Other directing and professional personnel performing academic functions in Research and Training Centres and Programmes and Operating Units who may be so designated by the Rector;

    (iii)  Personnel under Personnel Service Agreement or Consultant or Individual Contractor Contract with the University, at Offices of the University or in its Research and Training Centres and Programmes, Operating Units, associated institutions or elsewhere, who have been engaged to perform academic tasks within the scope of the University’s activities and operations; and

    (iv)  Research personnel, visiting professors, fellows, and other scholars.

    2. The Rector and, save as otherwise provided for in their terms of appointment, academic personnel coming within paragraph 1 (b) subparagraphs (i) and (ii), and paragraph 1 (c) subparagraphs (i) and (ii) above, shall be in posts approved by the UNU Council in the University budget (hereinafter referred to as “Established Posts”). Such personnel shall be officials of the United Nations and shall be covered by the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations, subject to such arrangements for special rules or terms of appointment as may be agreed upon by the Rector and the Secretary- General of the United Nations in accordance with the UNU Charter, to meet the special needs of the University.

    3. Other academic personnel within paragraph 1 (b) subparagraphs (iii) and (iv), and paragraph 1 (c) subparagraphs (iii) and (iv) above, shall not be so covered and shall be neither “staff members” under the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations nor “officials” for the purpose of the Convention of 13 February 1946 on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations (“the Convention”). They may, however, be given the status of “experts on mission” in the sense of section 22 of Article VI of the Convention. If they are required to travel on behalf of UNU, they may be given a United Nations certificate in accordance with section 26 of Article VII of the Convention.

    B. Administrative Personnel

    1. The administrative personnel of the University shall consist of:

    (a)  The Rector;

    (b)  Persons serving at the University Centre, comprising:

    (i) Directing and other personnel who perform administrative functions; and

    (ii) Personnel engaged to perform administrative functions under Personnel Service Agreement, Consultant or Individual Contractor Contract.

    (c) Persons serving outside the University Centre, comprising:

    (i)  Directing and other personnel who perform administrative functions at Offices of the University or in its Research and Training Centres and Programmes and Operating Units; and

    (ii)  Personnel engaged to perform administrative functions under Personnel Service Agreement, Consultant or Individual Contractor Contract at Offices of the University or in its Research and Training Centres and Programmes and Operating Units, associated institutions or elsewhere.

    2. Administrative personnel within paragraph 1 (b) subparagraph (i), and paragraph 1 (c) subparagraph (i) above, shall be in Established Posts. Such personnel shall be officials of the United Nations and shall be covered by the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations, subject to such arrangements for special rules or terms of appointment, as may be agreed upon by the Rector and the Secretary-General of the United Nations in accordance with the UNU Charter, to meet the special needs of the University.

    3. Other administrative personnel within paragraph 1 (b) subparagraph (ii), and paragraph 1 (c) subparagraph (ii) above, shall not be so covered and shall be neither “staff members” under the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations nor “officials” for the purpose of the Convention. They may, however, be given the status of “experts on mission” in the sense of section 22 of Article VI of the Convention. If they are required to travel on behalf of UNU, they may be given a United Nations certificate in accordance with section 26 of Article VII of the Convention.

    C. Trainees

    1. The trainees of the University shall consist of:

    (a)  Persons who have been awarded fellowships by the University for postgraduate training and/or research; and

    (b)  Other persons who have been awarded fellowships by the University for training in international or national technical assistance programmes.

    2. Trainees coming within paragraphs 1 (a) and (b) above, shall be neither “staff members” under the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations nor “officials” for the purpose of the Convention.

    2.2  University personnel, other than the Rector, who are officials of the United Nations as defined in A (2) and B (2) of paragraph 2.1 above, shall be referred to hereinafter, where appropriate, as “United Nations University (UNU) Staff.”

    2.3  For all Established Posts for research and/or capacity development for the purpose of drawing on comparative benchmarks, due consideration shall be given to equivalent or corresponding academic ranks commonly used in leading universities and research institutions around the world.

    2.4  The terms of appointment of UNU Staff shall normally be governed by the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations.

    2.5  Pursuant to paragraph 5.1 and 5.2 (a) and (b) below, UNU Staff shall be granted fixed-term appointments subject to the conditions specified in Article IV below. A fixed-term appointment does not carry any expectancy, legal or otherwise, of renewal or conversion, irrespective of the length of service.

    2.6  Pursuant to paragraph 5.2 below, University personnel, who are not officials of the United Nations, shall be granted appointments subject to the conditions specified in Article IV below.

    2.7  University personnel shall be solely responsible to the Rector in the exercise of their functions. In the performance of their duties, they shall neither seek nor accept instructions from any government or from any other authority external to the University.

    Article III

    RECRUITMENT

    3.1  Uniform standards and criteria shall be applied to the recruitment of personnel at the University Centre and the Research and Training Centres and Programmes. The paramount consideration in the appointment of University personnel shall be the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity, with due consideration given to geographical diversity and gender parity. Recruitment for each Established Post shall follow the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations and shall be based on appropriate job description and selection criteria.

    3.2  Recruitment shall be made on an open and competitive basis, and after consideration of a number of candidates. Without prejudice to the recruitment of fresh talent at all levels, the fullest regard shall be given, in filling vacancies, to the requisite qualifications and experience of persons already in the service at the University.

    3.3  The terms and conditions of appointment of University academic personnel shall be sufficiently flexible to make it possible to draw upon scholars and scientists from other academic or research institutions who can be engaged for limited periods of time under secondment or other appropriate arrangements.

    3.4  Equal opportunities for recruitment, appointment, assignment, promotion and career development shall be given to candidates, or to the University personnel, as the case may be, regardless of gender or disabilities.

    3.5  The University supports the meaningful participation of persons with disabilities in all their diversity, the promotion of their rights, and the consideration of disability-related perspectives.

    3.6  Young scholars and scholars from developing countries shall be given special opportunities to participate in the activities of the University Centre and in the network of Research and Training Centres and Programmes and associated institutions.

    Article IV

    CONTRACTUAL STATUS

    4.1  Initial appointments of Vice-Rectors and Directors of Research and Training Centres and Programmes shall normally be for a fixed-term of four years. Individuals on such fixed-term appointments shall be eligible for re-appointment for one more term of up to four years. The combined total of such fixed-term appointments (initial and re-appointment) shall normally not exceed eight years.

    4.2  Initial appointments of UNU Staff who are academic personnel shall normally be for a fixed-term of one year. Subsequent appointments are subject to satisfactory service and are limited to a maximum period of three years. The combined total of such fixed-term appointments (initial and renewal) shall normally not exceed six years.

    4.3  Initial appointments of UNU Staff other than academic personnel shall normally be for a fixed-term of one year. Such fixed-term appointments may be renewed thereafter for periods of up to four years, subject to satisfactory service.

    4.4  UNU Staff holding fixed-term appointments referred to in paragraphs 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 above shall be given at least three months’ advance notice of the non-renewal of their appointment prior to the date of expiration.

    4.5  The contractual status of University personnel who are not officials of the United Nations, such as academic and administrative personnel, visiting scholars, research associates, co-ordinators, consultants and individual contractors, interns, trainees, and postdoctoral fellows shall be governed by the terms and conditions set forth in Personnel Service Agreements, Consultant or Individual Contractor Contracts, or other contractual arrangements. As detailed in the first paragraph of the Conditions of Service for Consultants or Individual Contractors, consultants and individual contractors are neither “employees” nor “agents” of UNU. The contractual terms for each of those groups, including the rates of honoraria or other payments, shall be standardized to the extent possible within each functional unit, and shall be administered with sufficient flexibility.

    Article V

    APPOINTMENT AND PROMOTION

    5.1  All appointments to Established Posts within the University shall be made on behalf of the Secretary- General of the United Nations by the Rector.

    (a)  The Vice-Rectors of the University shall be appointed by the Rector after consultation with the Chair of the UNU Council and such other members of the Council as the Chair may designate for this purpose;

    (b)  The Directors of the Research and Training Centres and Programmes shall be appointed by the Rector in accordance with the Statutes applicable to such Centres and Programmes (See RTC/Ps Statutes):

    (c) Appointments to Established Posts at the Research and Training Centres and Programmes shall be made by the Director of the Centre or Programme concerned on the Rector’s behalf, in accordance with the Statutes relating to such Centre or Programme and the procedures established by the Rector.

    5.2  Except as may be otherwise provided in accordance with paragraph 7 of Article VIII of the UNU Charter:

    (a)  Academic and administrative personnel who are officials of the United Nations shall be appointed by the Rector pursuant to the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations, subject to such arrangements for special rules or terms of appointment as may be agreed upon by the Rector and the Secretary-General in accordance with the UNU Charter, to meet the special needs of the University;

    (b)  Appointment of UNU Staff in posts subject to local recruitment (hereinafter referred to as “National Officers”) shall be covered by Rule 4.4 of the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations;

    (c)  Academic and administrative personnel who are not officials of the United Nations shall be appointed by the Rector in accordance with the provisions laid down in their terms of appointment; and

    (d)  Trainees and postdoctoral fellows shall be appointed by the Rector with the view of fulfilling the purposes and objectives of research and training in the University.

    5.3  A Central Review Board shall be established by the Rector in accordance with established procedures of the United Nations to give advice on appointment and promotion of UNU staff in the Professional category and at the Principal Officer level (D1) other than Directors of Research and Training Centres and Programmes at this level.

    (a)  In particular, the Central Review Board shall advise the Rector on:

    (i)  Initial fixed-term appointment; and

    (ii)  Promotion in accordance with paragraph 5.7 below;

    (b)  The Central Review Board shall review the process for compliance with the approved selection criteria and shall offer recommendations. Where these recommendations are not in line with those of the relevant manager, the Board shall transmit its recommendations for final decision to the Rector.

    5.4  Composition of the Central Review Board

    (a) The Central Review Board shall be composed of UNU Staff at the First Officer level (P4) and above, as follows:

    (i) Two members and an appropriate number of alternates, selected by the Rector;

    (ii)  Two members and as many alternates as those appointed under subparagraph (i) above, who shall be selected by the Staff Council, as established in accordance with paragraph 8.2 below;

    (iii)  One additional member with voting rights, selected jointly by the members selected by the Rector and the members selected by the Staff Council;

    (iv)  The Director of Administration or an authorized representative, as an ex-officio non-voting member; and

    (v)  A designated official of the Human Resources Unit who shall serve as Secretary, without voting rights.

    (b)  Members and alternates shall be appointed for a period of two years and shall be eligible for re- appointment.

    (c)  The Central Review Board shall elect its own chairperson and establish its own procedures.

    5.5  A Central Review Panel shall be established by the Rector in accordance with established procedures of the United Nations to give advice on matters referred to in paragraph 5.3 above with respect to all UNU Staff in the General Service category.

    5.6  The Central Review Panel shall be composed in a manner similar to that of the Central Review Board with the exception that its members shall be at the Second Officer level (P3) and above. A designated official of the Administration shall serve as an ex-officio non-voting member of the Panel.

    5.7  UNU Staff whose terms of appointment are governed by the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations shall be eligible for promotion as a result of classification of their Established Post at a higher level in accordance with procedures established by the Rector or through candidature to fill new or vacant Established Posts classified at a higher level than their own grade. Qualified UNU Staff in the General Service category shall be eligible to apply and be considered for vacant posts in the Professional category in accordance with procedures established by the Rector.

    Article VI

    SALARIES AND RELATED ALLOWANCES

    6.1  The salary scales and related post adjustments and allowances for UNU Staff in the Professional and higher categories shall be as specified in the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations.

    6.2  The salary scales for UNU Staff in the General Service category shall be as specified in the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations.

    6.3  The remuneration scales for University personnel engaged under a Personnel Service Agreement shall be established by the Rector.

    Article VII

    PERSONNEL DEVELOPMENT, TRAINING, AND PERFORMANCE

    7.1  The University shall endeavour to create an organizational environment that motivates and fosters career development. This shall include opportunities for movement of personnel within UNU, and between UNU and other entities of the United Nations System of Organizations, by means of rotation, re-assignment, loan or secondment. Opportunities shall be given for in-house or external training, studies or research in order to improve knowledge and skills or to enable personnel to keep abreast of the latest scholarly, scientific, technological, managerial and administrative developments in their respective fields.

    7.2  The University shall give special attention to enhancing the capabilities of its personnel by fostering collegiality and collaboration, participation in scholarly and professional meetings related to their fields of interest, and mobility of scholars within the University system.

    7.3 The University shall establish an appropriate performance management policy and related procedures including a rebuttal process which aims at:

    (a)  Promoting high performance and continuous learning;

    (b)  Empowering managers and holding them responsible and accountable for managing and motivating their personnel;

    (c)  Ensuring proper and regular communication between managers and their personnel;

    (d)  Encouraging a high level of personnel participation in the planning, delivery and evaluation of work; and

    (e)  Recognizing and rewarding successful performance and addressing under performance in a fair and equitable manner, in the best interest of the University.

    Article VIII

    STAFF RELATIONS

    8.1  The Rector shall establish and maintain continuous contact and communication with University personnel in order to ensure their effective participation in identifying, examining and resolving issues relating to personnel welfare, including conditions of work, general conditions of life and personnel policies.

    8.2  A Staff Council shall be established in accordance with the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations and shall be entitled to initiate proposals to the Rector for the purposes set forth in paragraph 8.1 above. It shall be organized in such a way as to afford equitable representation of UNU Staff who are academic and administrative personnel, serving at the University Centre and at the Research and Training Centres and Programmes, by means of elections that shall take place at least biennially under electoral procedures drawn up by the Staff Council, and agreed to by the Rector.

    8.3  The Staff Council shall be composed to reflect equitable representation of UNU Staff who are academic and administrative personnel. UNU Staff serving at the University Centre and the Research and Training Centres and Programmes shall be eligible for nomination as candidates for the Staff Council. The Staff

    Council shall elect its own Chair and other officers as necessary. The Staff Council shall be accorded appropriate facilities to ensure its effective functioning as the staff representative body.

    8.4  A Joint Advisory Committee shall be established by the Rector to give advice regarding personnel policy and general questions of personnel welfare as provided in paragraph 8.1 above.

    8.5  The Joint Advisory Committee shall be composed as follows:

    (a)  A Chairperson appointed by the Rector in consultation with the Staff Council;

    (b)  Two members and one alternate nominated by the Staff Council;

    (c)  Two members and one alternate appointed by the Rector; and

    (d)  A designated official of the Administration who shall serve as Secretary.

    8.6  The Joint Advisory Committee shall be the principal forum in which consultations are held on questions of personnel policies and issues relating to personnel welfare. It shall establish its own rules and procedures and meet regularly or as often as necessary to consider proposals on matters that fall within its purview and to make recommendations to the Rector in regard to such proposals. It may set up subsidiary bodies to assist in its work.

    8.7 Discrimination, harassment, including sexual harassment, and abuse of authority shall not be tolerated at UNU or in connection with the work of the University.

    8.8  Preventive and corrective measures shall be established by the University in order to address prohibited conduct issues, such as discrimination, harassment, including sexual harassment, and abuse of authority.

    8.9  UNU shall record information of any member of the University personnel who has been found to have engaged in sexual harassment or who left employment with an unresolved allegation of sexual harassment against them and has not cooperated in an investigation of the allegation. Such information shall be recorded in the United Nations’ ‘ClearCheck Database’ in accordance with procedures to be established by the Rector on the basis of guidelines issued by the Secretariat of the United Nations.

    Article IX

    TITLE RIGHTS

    9.1  UNU shall be entitled to all property rights including, but not limited to, title, patents, copyrights and trademarks, with regard to material which bears a direct relation to, or is made in consequence of, the services provided to UNU by its personnel. At the request of UNU, personnel shall assist in securing such property rights and transferring them to UNU in compliance with the requirements of the applicable law. Any material published by, or on behalf of, such personnel in this regard shall contain appropriate reference to UNU and a copy of such published material shall be provided to UNU.

    Article X

    DISCIPLINARY MEASURES

    10.1  UNU Staff shall be subject to disciplinary measures set out in Regulation 10.1 and Rules 10.1 to 10.4 of the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations.

    ARTICLE XI

    APPEALS AND DISPUTE SETTLEMENT

    11.1  UNU Staff shall be subject to the system of administration of justice set out in this Article XI and Regulation 11.1 and Rules 11.1 to 11.5 of the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations.

    Internal Evaluation Mechanism

    11.2  UNU Staff who consider that their contract of employment or terms of appointment have been violated shall ensure that the Rector has been made aware of the issues involved and has been provided with an opportunity to resolve them. To this end, UNU Staff shall submit to the Rector in writing a request for Internal Evaluation within fifteen calendar days from the date in which the UNU Staff received the first notification of the contested decision. The Rector’s response, reflecting the outcome of the Internal Evaluation shall be communicated in writing to the UNU Staff within fifteen calendar days of the request for Internal Evaluation.

    11.3  The conduct of the Internal Evaluation set out in paragraph 11.2 above shall not result in any extension of the deadlines applicable to Management Evaluation and to the filing of an application with the United Nations Dispute Tribunal, as set out in the relevant Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations.

    Informal Resolution Mechanism

    11.4  Notwithstanding the Internal Evaluation Mechanism set out in paragraphs 11.2 and 11.3 above, in all cases involving violation of contracts of employment or terms of appointment, including all pertinent regulations and rules, UNU Staff may attempt to have the matter resolved informally through the Office of the United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation. The conduct of informal resolution may result in the extension of the deadlines applicable to Management Evaluation and to the filing of an application with the United Nations Dispute Tribunal, as specified in Rules 11.2 (c) and (d) and 11.4 (c) of the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations.

    11.5  The conduct of informal resolution by the Office of the United Nations Ombudsman and Mediation may include mediation. Mediation may be initiated by either party to the dispute at any time before or after the UNU Staff chooses to pursue the matter formally. An application shall not be receivable by the United Nations Dispute Tribunal if the dispute arising from a contested decision has been resolved by an agreement reached through mediation in accordance with Rule 11.1 (d) of the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations.

    Formal Resolution Mechanism

    11.6  Formal resolution shall proceed in accordance with the Rules 11.2, 11.3, 11.4 and 11.5 of the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations.

    Procedure for Personnel Service Agreement and Consultant or Individual Contractor Contract

    11.7 The dispute settlement mechanism for personnel engaged under Personnel Service Agreement and Consultant or Individual Contractor Contract is described in the respective Conditions of Service for Personnel Service Agreement or Conditions of Service for Consultant or Individual Contractor Contract.

    Article XII

    SOCIAL SECURITY

    12.1  UNU Staff shall participate in the United Nations Joint Staff Pension Fund in accordance with the Regulations and Rules of that Fund.

    12.2  UNU Staff shall be entitled to participate in a scheme of social security in accordance with the Staff Regulations and Rules of the United Nations.

    12.3  The Rector may provide appropriate arrangements for University personnel engaged under Personnel Service Agreement in regard to matters referred to in paragraph 12.1 and 12.2 above.

    Article XIII

    SEPARATION FROM SERVICE

    13.1  As provided in Regulation 9.3 of the Staff Regulation and Rules of the United Nations, the Rector may terminate the appointment of UNU Staff with a fixed-term appointment prior to the expiration date for any of the reasons specified in Regulation 9.3(a) of the Staff Regulation and Rules of the United Nations or for such other reason as may be specified in the letter of appointment. A fixed-term appointment may also be terminated as a result of dismissal for misconduct under Regulation 10.1 of the Staff Regulation and Rules of the United Nations.

    13.2  Conditions relating to resignation, indemnity payment and repatriation grant in the case of UNU Staff holding a fixed-term appointment shall be governed by Regulations 9.1, 9.3 (c) and (d), and 9.4 of the Staff Regulation and Rules of the United Nations, respectively.

    13.3  The Rector shall establish conditions relating to separation from service for University personnel engaged under a Personnel Service Agreement.

    Article XIV

    AMENDMENT AND SUSPENSION

    14.1 The Personnel Policy of the United Nations University may be amended or suspended by the UNU Council.