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Home leave Decision 2022: an improvement for some staff

The new home leave decision 2022[1] will provide more days of leave to official, temporary agent and contract agent colleagues who are employed 2001km or more away from their official place of origin[2].  Generation 2004 thinks that this decision will have a far from solid impact on the general purpose of having a good work-life balance and the time to connect with friends and family, not to forget all the inevitable administrative work one needs to do when back in the home country. Note that the new home-leave rules are applicable already for year 2022 and that  they include provision for those who can ‘demonstrate that the round trip between the place of employment and the place of origin cannot be made within the days granted’ (Article 1). Let us know [1]whether you have managed to make use of this provision!

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While this is an increase for some colleagues, it offers no change for those who are at 2000km or less from their home country (since this might have repercussions for those within the EU). So, while this is indeed a step in the right direction, Generation 2004 believes that additional measures are needed to mitigate the impact of the unfair reduction of 18 days of annual leave for expatriate staff.

‘The 2014 reforms package reduced the number of days of annual leave by 42 % (from 3.5 to 2 days per month) for staff in delegations and introduced changes to the calculation of the living conditions allowance. Overall, the staff’s perception that working conditions have deteriorated is stronger in delegations than at the Commission as a whole. In 201622, fewer than 50 % of delegation staff considered the Commission to be an attractive workplace, with only 21 % considering that human resources matched the workload.’ (Paragraph 58)

Commission reply: ‘The Commission wants to point out that the expressions of interest on postings in Delegations remain high, confirming as a general rule the attractiveness of working in Delegations.’ (European Court of Auditors (ECA), 2019, Special report no 15/2019 [3]: Implementation of the 2014 staff reform package at the Commission – Big savings but not without consequences for staff)

Note that Delegations were repeatedly highlighted in the ECA report as one area of the Commission where staff were particularly badly affected by reforms.

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‘One of the drivers for the changes in the SR revision affecting delegations was to generate cost savings. However, spending on delegation staff accounts for only 4.7 % of all expenditure from the administration budget. We found that the small budgetary savings were accompanied by a significant negative impact on staff.’ (Paragraph 59)

‘However, the HR implications of the cost-saving measures were not all assessed in the same degree of detail. In particular, there was no risk analysis or assessment of the positive or negative consequences of the following measures:[…] — changes to the terms of employment in delegations, e.g. annual leave and the method for calculating the living conditions allowance.’ (Paragraph 78)

Commission reply: ‘Due to the dynamic nature of the decision-making process, the Commission could not systematically carry out impact analyses for any new proposed measure arising during the negotiations.’

‘Overall, the 2014 package has had negative consequences for staff. There has been a marked decrease in staff satisfaction and an increase in sick leave, in particular among those most affected by changes to the SR and to their workloads. The perception of a deterioration in the terms of employment is strongest among the staff of delegations. Employment conditions have become less favourable for existing staff.

Interest among potential new recruits has also declined. The changes are likely to exacerbate existing difficulties in recruiting staff from some countries which are already significantly under-represented at the Commission.’ (Paragraph 96)

Generation 2004 notes that those DG NEAR colleagues  who at 2000km or less from their home country  have been left out of this gain, again creating unnecessary divisions between us all: staff category, contract type, pre/post 2004/2014 Staff Regulations reform and now distance.

Generation 2004 continues to push for further improvement, in particular for additional leave days to address administrative work/medical reasons[3] regardless of the distance between the place of posting and the home base.

If this affects you, please get in touch [1]! Will this will in any way improve on the negativity highlighted in the ECA report? What are your thoughts?


[1] Repealing Commission Decision C(2013) 9035 final of 16 December 2013 [6] and HR DEC(2013) 014 [7]

[2] Note post-Brexit: place of origin was changed for certain calculations  and this might impact your inclusion or exclusion from these additional days (this affected the annual travel payment for many staff, not just UK staff [8]).

[3] Note that there is provision in sysper for some staff to have the medical appointment and the travel time as special leave: make a draft request in order to see the available options. Please don’t use up your precious annual leave unnecessarily!