The 6-year rules

There are two 6-year rules in the Commission:

  • The 6-year rule for Contract Agents (CAs) – which makes it impossible for a CA 3b to work for more than 6 years in the Commission. This rule is enforced very strictly, no matter how hard you work(ed), you are fired after 6 years if you are a CA 3b.
  • The 6-year rule for the Staff Representation – which imposes that staff representatives cannot be seconded to the staff representation for more than 6 years over a rolling period of 10 years [1]. The purpose of this healthy rule is to ensure that staff representatives stay in touch with the services of the Commission. Indeed, the staff representation benefits from 41 full time secondments which allow them to sit the joint committees where staff issues are discussed with DG HR but also to represent the voice of the staff. When a staff member gets a secondment, they leave their service for a period of time during which they work for the staff representation, just like when someone is seconded to another organisation in the interest of the service. The danger of course is that he or she may lose touch with reality, which highlights the need and importance of the 6-year rule. Generation 2004 has always been worried about these secondments, we know too well that the staff representatives of 2004 did nothing to defend us back then and instead traded our rights against access for them to grades that they would not have been able to reach beforehand. In the end, we have, however, taken the secondments because if you are not present in the relevant meetings, things proceed without you.

Things are now reaching new heights. Commissioner Oettinger announced about a year ago that he wanted to reform the staff representation. In order to convince the unions to embark in this reform, he offered to postpone the application of the 6-year rule for staff representatives. We remind you that this rule came into force in 2012 and at its first deadline it gets broken… So, we cannot help but note the contrast between the 6-year rule for CA3bs where no flexibility is allowed and the 6-year rule for staff representatives where all sorts of exceptions are allowed!

More importantly, the 6-year rule for the staff representation is a good one. It seems to us that most of the current staff representatives (from other unions) have been seconded for ever. As far as we can tell, many of them were actually already seconded to the staff representation in 2004. This is not healthy!

For that reason, we drafted a note to the Commissioner to try to convince him to stop playing these kinds of games. Rules are rules and they should not be bent to justify a reform of the staff representation which, by the way, is long overdue. Let us hope that the Commission will finally implement the 6-year rule and bring some fresh air into the staff representation!


[1]  Framework agreement, Article 30

 Update 08.06.2021: HR is now trying to apply this 6-year limitation.

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