Working conditions

Return to the office well out of sight

As we have done since the very beginning of the COVID‑19 pandemic, we at Generation 2004 continue to closely monitor developments and their repercussions on our working conditions, as well as the health and well-being of staff. In November we participated in two Social Dialogue meetings with DG Human Resources and Security (DG HR) to discuss all the issues pertinent to the health emergency.

Continue reading Return to the office well out of sight

Local agents update

Implementation of the new package for local agents (LAs)

While the administration commits to get the large number of EU Delegation exceptions (‘derogations’) ready for a decision by February 2021, it means the entire package will not be available for LAs to decide until then. In this latest update to this ongoing issue, Generation 2004 urges all LA colleagues to ensure that they fully understand the entire package before they make their decision as it is likely to be irreversible. Continue reading Local agents update

Home-office equipment dilemma: zero clarity

Following the announcement by Commissioner Hahn and DG HR of a move to help staff equip their home offices, many of you contacted Generation 2004 to enquire about the two different schemes mentioned. Yes, you read that correctly, the Commission has set up one scheme for the (partial) reimbursement of a screen and an office chair (purchase deadline 31 December [1]) and is developing a more comprehensive second scheme for 2021.

Generation 2004 was pleased that the Commission is at last taking steps in the direction we have been advocating for since the start of the COVID‑19 crisis: support staff under the compulsory teleworking arrangements by improving ergonomics at home.

Continue reading Home-office equipment dilemma: zero clarity

Office-space reorganisation: reply from DG Trade

Generation 2004 sent a note to Ms WEYAND, Director-General of DG Trade on 4 November 2020 to request clarification on their plans for an office-space reorganisation.

We were contacted in relation to plans to move only assistants/secretaries and clerks (ASTs/AST-SCs) and contract agents (CAs) into shared offices.

Continue reading Office-space reorganisation: reply from DG Trade

Teleworking from abroad: Survey results are out

Generation 2004 asked you for your opinion on this topic in a 10-question survey over 5 weeks October-November 2020 and 1 500 of you responded. The short answer to our question of whether you want to be able to telework from abroad is a resounding ‘YES!’: 93% (1 393) of those who responded would like to have that option available.

Though it must be noted that there are several different versions of ‘yes’ proposed and it was possible to select more than one of them: Yes, for a limited period like summer, Christmas etc./Yes, in exceptional situations like COVID‑19./Yes, permanently.

Continue reading Teleworking from abroad: Survey results are out

Things to check before holidays start (Tips)

Although at the moment you are most probably in full trying-to-find-one-last-gift mode (good luck with that!), there are perhaps some other things worth checking before your well-deserved Christmas and New Year holiday leave.

If you meet the criteria, submit your request to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as it is available: the deadline is 15 January 2021. Continue reading Things to check before holidays start (Tips)

Finally – reimbursement of teleworking costs

Yes, we can! This is the bottom line of this article. Yes, we can convince the Commission to do the right thing, even if it takes a lot of pressure (and more pressure) and  notes (and more notes). After many discussions and meetings, DG HR has agreed in its Coronavirus update #23 to reimburse the costs for a screen and an ergonomic chair with ceilings of €150 and €200, respectively. While the reimbursement process has only just been set out [1] (and for seconded national experts (SNEs) is still being worked on [2]), this is a huge win for our colleagues, and we take the opportunity to thank all of you who have supported us during the last 8 months while we fought this uphill battle. A special thanks goes to the colleagues who used our template to request a reimbursement. While DG HR has refused these Art. 90.1 requests, the sheer number of them proved that there is a real need. This is your victory.

Continue reading Finally – reimbursement of teleworking costs

Brexit: CJEU confirms fears on loss of entitlements

So, the comforting ideals expressed in ex-President Juncker’s post-Brexit-referendum message to staff appear to have been no more than kind words, something we suggested might be the case in our previous article Were British Hats really left at the door?

The CJEU has read and applied the Staff Regulations with no special consideration [1] for any ‘European spirit’ and agrees with the Commission that this re-evaluation of entitlements has always been clear to staff, an outcome which is more than a little disconcerting, given that ex-President Juncker himself encouraged affected Brussels-based staff to acquire Belgian nationality. Continue reading Brexit: CJEU confirms fears on loss of entitlements

Extension for your decision on the new local agent conditions – 31 June 2021

See our first article on the modernisation of local agent (LA) conditions of employment. 

Extension of timeline for LAs to decide whether or not to sign up to the addendum for LA conditions 

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic and the situation of European External Action Service (EEAS) HR Unit BA.5 being rather under-staffed, there is a delay in preparing the local-law reference guide for 140 delegations. Therefore, the initial deadline for signing up the addendum has now been extended to 30 June 2021. See Joint Decision ADMIN(2020) 45 for details. 

Continue reading Extension for your decision on the new local agent conditions – 31 June 2021

The yearly salary update: time for the exception clause

Eurostat has published its 2020 report on the yearly salary update. While in the recent past this update was essentially a percentage number, this year the exception clause introduced in the 2014 Staff Regulations, will be triggered for the first time.

The relevant provisions regarding the exception clause are in Annex XI, Chapter 5, ‘moderation and exception clauses’ of the Staff Regulations. The provisions do not make for easy reading for non-lawyers, but essentially the exception clause consists of two ingredients:

  1. A decrease in the European Union’s gross domestic product (GDP)
  2. A positive specific indicator

Continue reading The yearly salary update: time for the exception clause