This nice story happened to one of our members. His experience demonstrates that one should not give up when facing difficulties with DG HR or PMO. There are plenty of excuses to cut the entitlements of newcomers. If you need advice we are there to help you!
The Original Story:
Shortly after my entry into service and before receiving the first salary, I did not know yet the allowances I was going to receive. To avoid surprises, I checked once again the Staff Regulations, and then I asked by email the PMO office to receive an allowance to which I believed to be entitled. This simple act started a process that took more than one year to
Firstly, PMO refused to grant the requested allowance, as one document related to my work history seemed to contradict my request. However, the contradiction was only apparent, and I clarified it by providing an additional document, which removed any doubt about my status. PMO remained silent for some months and then, following my reminders, asked me to provide additional dedicated letters from all my previous employers.
Even though I considered that my status was already proven by the abundant documentation provided to Human Resources during the recruitment process, I contacted my previous employers and obtained the requested letters stating, unquestionably, my status and working conditions. When I forwarded to PMO these documents, I was certain to have fulfilled the requirements and completed the procedure. However, PMO spotted that, according to one document, for few weeks within a period of many years my status was not clearly in line with what is indicated in the Staff regulations, which at this regard uses a term that is not fully defined and remains open to interpretation. Hence, PMO quickly rejected my request and closed the case, regardless of my objections.
I felt that the decision was not fair as my request was denied for a peculiar interpretation of a generic term in the Staff regulations but, according to common sense, the request was indeed legitimate. I brought my case to the Mediation Service and the staff association ‘Generation 2004’, where I received professional support and learned more about my rights. I submitted an official complaint according to the Article 90 of the Staff Regulations, and I made PMO aware that my case was closely followed by representatives of Generation 2004. After these actions, PMO suddenly changed their decision and accepted my request, giving no further explanations.
This process cost a substantial amount of time and energy to the people involved, but moreover it confused me, as my request was eventually accepted only after I made an official complaint and involved the Mediation Service and Generation 2004, and not because I provided new information. Yet, I was pleased to find out that within the EC there are procedures and Institutions that can (try to) safeguard the rights of the employees – if they are aware of them and use them properly and timely!