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Concertation on Home Leave

Update on the concertation (November 2021)

An improved offer for those who are furthest away but overall all categories except 0-2,000km has been made, as can be seen in the table below.

This should be applicable from 2021 onward.

Geographical distance between the place of employment and the place of origin, in kilometers2013 Decision in force nowDays of home leave per calendar year
0-2,0002,52,5 (No change)
Above 10,00059 (+4)

In addition, there was mention of a new SPECIAL LEAVE for administrative/medical purposes

We intend to accept this definite improvement on the current 2013 Decision on Home Leave, which has taken far too long. We must push hard for the new Special Leave and the new Teleworking Decision for EU DEL.

Home leave for officials, temporary staff and contract staff serving in a third country

Proposed Joint OSP position

After a wait of over 7 years (since Jan 2014) – we must ensure that ALL EXPAT staff get something – we cannot accept that some DEL colleagues in countries ( 0-2,000 kms) have NO increase whatsoever and remain at 2.5 days

There is room to improve the COM/EEAS offer - they are currently offering the absolute MINIMUM – we firmly believe DEVCO can increase the offer – the question is how much

We propose increases to all km categories (see OSP proposal of 2017 below for reference).

COVID- specific situation :

Under COVID it is undeniable that travel has become more complex and lengthier for all and even more so for staff based in DEL

We are proposing unreservedly exceptional increases in Home Leave for all km categories for application in 2021/2022 with the inclusion of a REVISION clause end 2022 due to COVID and the disruptions to travel that affect DEL STAFF more.

SUMMARY and GENESIS of this HL proposal

Additional Special leave has been requested by OSPs/CLP HU since the onset of the new Annex X in Jan 2014 which severely cut the annual leave allocation

Staff have been waiting 7 years for a political gesture of good will to compensate partially for Annex X cuts to Annual Leave

EEAS/COM committed themselves to increasing HL as of January 2019 – this did NOT take place – no increase despite written communication to all DEL EXPATS in December 2018

Previous CCP/CLP HU request below – MAY 2017 – the CCP sent this request directly to Commissioner OETTINGER and OSPs requested a Concertation – no concertation ever took place in 2017/2018

CURRENT DECISION on HL in FORCE since 1 Jan 2014

Home Leave : All officials working outside the EU are entitled to home leave calculated on the basis of the distance between the place of employment and the place of origin.

Geographical distance between the place of employment and the place of origin, in kilometresDays of home leave per calendar year
Above 10,0005

021 HR Home Leave Proposal for concertation

Nothing for less than 2000, max of 2 extra days for more than 10,000 km

See the Draft Decision Proposal

In addition to the above, we all have a range of specific arguments to demonstrate the “particular needs” as per Annex V of the Staff Regulations for expatriates serving in delegation to justify why more HL is required. The above provides us all with the general framework so that we are all clear on what is at stake in this 1st meeting of concertation.

Request for political consultation on the subject of "recycling" (Appendix X). Jan 2021

Revision of the rules governing the mobility of Contract Agents in Delegations

EEAS - Revision of the rules governing the mobility of Contract Agents in Delegations: mobility at the EEAS cannot be an exact replica of that at the European Commission and must take into account the small number of posts available each year.

On May 26 the trade union organizations were invited to take part in a social dialogue concerning the revision of Decision ADMIN(2017) 19 of November 8, 2017 governing the mobility of Contract Agents of the EEAS in Delegation. This revision aims to bring the rules governing mobility at the EEAS closer to those of the Commission (Decision C(2020) 997 of February 26, 2020). It includes a number of improvements, starting with 1) a reduction in the number of years of assignment to countries with 30% or more of Indemnités de Conditions de Vies (ICV); 2) the possibility of being assigned to the same Delegation twice in a career, non-consecutively.

However, to ensure that mobility at the EEAS is sustainable, the trade unions were keen to push the review further, taking into account the specific nature of the Foreign Service, first and foremost the very low number of permanent contract staff positions. Pending the possibility of inter-institutional mobility (along the lines of the Gentlemen's Agreement between the Commission and the Executive Agencies), for which U4U will continue to campaign, a number of demands have been put on the table:

  • a reduction in the number of countries to be listed among its 'choices', currently set at 5 from a barely superior number of proposals;
  • the possibility of completing two 4-year postings at headquarters.

Without this, mobility at the EEAS cannot meet the objective of ensuring a high level of mobility and stimulating career progression that it is supposed to offer.


British Staff

High Representative and Commission position with regard to staff with UK nationality only in EU Delegations

See also our topical page on Brexit and its effects on EU Staff

Leave entitlements: Court overturns lower court decision

Last year, we started lodging collective complaints / appeals on your behalf against the decisions of the Commission and the EEAS concerning the length of your annual leave, which has progressively been reduced by the EU legislature from 42 days per year (before 2014) to 24 days per year.

These actions were based on a pilot case pending at the Court of justice since 2014. In 2018, in the first instance (see below), the General Court ruled that the EU legislature had infringed upon the Charter of Fundamental Rights by reducing the length of the annual leave. The Court argued in essence that it was incompatible with the principle according to which the EU legislature must promote the improvement of the living and working conditions of every worker and that it had not ensured in this case that the health and safety of all officials and other members of staff serving in third countries and placed in a particularly difficult situation were sufficiently protected.

The Commission, the Council and the Parliament challenged that ruling in appeal before the CJEU. In the meantime, the Commission and the EEAS refused to implement the ruling to the benefit of each applicant, leaving staff members posted in delegation no choice but to individually challenge the decision concerning their annual leave. In other words, the members of staff who would not participate in this action would not have been able to benefit from a potential positive ruling in the pilot case.

In order to give a possibility to as many staff members as possible to lodge such an appeal, we agreed together with the trade unions to set a fixed amount as a contribution to the costs of a collective judicial action. On that basis, in 2019 and in 2020 we lodged collective complaints / appeals on your behalf pending a final decision of the Court in the pilot case.

Yesterday Sept 8th 2020, the Court delivered its ruling in the pilot case and they have unfortunately sided with the institutions. In essence, the Court argued that as long as the length of the annual leave was superior to 20 days, which is the minimum prescribed by an EU directive, it could not be held that the EU legislature had infringed upon the right to annual leave nor that it would affect the living and working conditions of officials and contract staff posted in delegations. As a result of this ruling, the collective actions we have lodged on your behalf can only be dismissed and we will therefore inform the Court that we withdraw the applications. The full text of the Court’s ruling is available here.

The Tribunal annuls the effects of Article 6 of Annex X of the 2014 Staff Regulations!

December 2018: The Tribunal considers that the reduction in annual leave for staff in Delegation must be annulled! Read the ruling…

In judgment T-518/16, the Tribunal annuls the individual decisions to reduce the number of leave entitlements of the applicants from 2014, and therefore not the amending regulation of Article 6 of Annex X to the Staff Regulations, the annulment of which had not been requested and which therefore continues to be in force for the other agents who did not bring the case before the Tribunal. Nevertheless, it seems that the principle of equality between civil servants requires that the reduction in leave be abolished even for civil servants and agents who have not lodged an appeal.

The applicants have claimed that there has been an infringement of the right to annual leave enshrined in Article 31(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and guaranteed, inter alia, by Article 7 of Directive 2003/88/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of November 4, 2003 concerning certain aspects of the organization of working time.

The reasoning of the applicants is that this right is intended to enable the worker, on the one hand, to rest in relation to the performance of his duties and, on the other, to enjoy a period of relaxation and leisure.

In short, the Court held that the significant reduction in the number of days of annual leave brought about by the new Article 6 of Annex X to the Staff Regulations infringes their right to annual leave, and that this infringement is not adequately justified.

It should be noted that this judgment may be appealed to the Court for annulment, a course of action which the Council is likely to follow in view of the financial implications.

In T-517/16, on the other hand, it is true that the result is the opposite (dismissal of the appeal), but the appellants put forward other arguments and the Court of First Instance did not uphold them, hence the dismissal of the appeal.

Letter concerning the application of the Court's ruling on annual leave in Delegations - Annex X of the Staff Regulations - Article 6
The unions call for the application to all of the leave entitlements reinstated by the Court of Justice

Work-life balance in Delegations

Proposal for the creation of a new Delegation posting category "Child Free Posting", for security reasons. (12/04/2019)

Request for administrative consultation for the draft decision on home leave for staff in Delegations (avril 2018)

Leave days : New measures on work-life balance for DEL Staff (29/01/2018)

Vidéo : Working in delegations: challenges & difficulties (Oct 2017)

CLP HU Concept Paper to improve work-life balance in EU Delegations (May 2017)

The Central Staff Committee of the Commission writes to Mr Ottinger and Mrs Mogherini


Note for the attention of

bulletMr OETTINGER, Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources
bulletMs MOGHERINI, High Representative/Vice President

Subject: Central Staff Committee Resolution on EU Delegations adopted by unanimity

The Central Staff Committee (CSC) held its 491st plenary meeting in the EU Delegation in Montenegro from 18 to 19 May 2017.

The CSC took note of the staff concerns as well as the results of the staff surveys which show a deterioration of the quality of the work-life balance and working conditions in EU Delegations.

The CSC underlines the crucial role staff play in EU Delegations and invites Commissioner Gunther H. Oettinger and High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini to coordinate efforts among the Relex services for a swift adoption and implementation of the measures proposed by the CLP HU concept paper on the work-life balance in EU Delegations, and in particular:

  • Introduce and implement teleworking in EU Delegations for all staff categories in line with the Commission Decision on teleworking which is already implemented in Commission Headquarters.
  • Provide additional special leave for expatriate staff in EU Delegations.
  • Introduce more flexibility in use of public holidays for all staff categories, in line with the current practice in Commission Headquarters.
  • Assess and address with concrete measures the issue of excessive workload in EU Delegations and stop the staff reduction policy.
  • Ensure that flexitime and recuperation is fully implemented for all staff categories in EU Delegations as set out in the Commission Decision on flexitime implemented in Commission Headquarters.
  • Modernise the Local Agents Framework Rules by improving the current social rights and protection in line with EU Directives, including (a) increase social security rights to cover additional entitlements to be extended after retirement; (b) maintain the acquired rights of staff in service arising from the specific conditions of employment; (c) introduce and implement a reclassification system for Local Agents.
  • In line with the commitment at Commission level, negotiate a transparent procedure to ensure the swift identification and publication of Team Leader posts for Contract Agents foreseen by the new General Implementing Provisions (GIPs).
  • Improve medical care and procedures for all staff categories in EU Delegations, including the necessary flexibility to address specific cases.
  • Ensure that the security of all staff categories in EU Delegations is given high priority, and introduce the legal basis for Local Agents evacuation/internal relocation measures as discussed by the CSC and CLP HU with the former Commission Vice President Kristalina Georgieva.
  • Ensure that job descriptions correspond to the functions of staff in line with the Staff Regulations; Stop recruiting staff at a lower Functional Group or Grade than the functions they are actually performing, i.e. CA FGIII recruited in lieu of CA FG IV; AST replaced by CA; LA Group III recruited in lieu of LA Group II or I, etc.
  • Apply accelerated reclassification to all Contract Agents grades, starting from the current reclassification system, taking into account Commissioner Oettinger’s political declaration on the Contract Agents GIPs.

The CSC and CLP HU are working closely with the Commission and the EEAS services for a swift introduction and implementation of the above proposed measures.

As foreseen in Article 9 of Staff Regulations, the CSC and CLP HU request a specific meeting with Commissioner Oettinger and High Representative / Vice President Mogherini to explain the above measures to improve the conditions of staff in EU Delegations.

Task Force Careers

EEAS HR report for 2016

Here are the draft documents produced by the TF, as they are by the end of May 2017. They are communicated for information only and should not be considered as decisions.

Contribution of Working Group on AD Officials

Career path for EEAS AST and AST/SC staff

Vision, tools and facilitating measures for Contract agents in the EEAS

Career Planning and Advice

Learning and development

Thematic draft paper by Mobility and Rotation Working Group (MRWG)

Team on Recruitment and Promotion

Working group on Temporary agents

Perspectives from Heads of Political Sections

Gender and Equal Opportunities Strategy

Task Forces "Career Development" and "Gender and Equal Opportunities": Implementation Roadmap

Judicial review of CFSP personnel management acts

Judgment of the Court of Justice conferring jurisdiction on the Court of Justice to hear disputes concerning personnel seconded by member states to CFSP missions (important § highlighted).

The Court reaffirms that :

  • The very existence of effective judicial control to ensure compliance with the provisions of Union law is inherent in the existence of a state governed by the rule of law.
  • The Court of First Instance and, in the event of an appeal, the Court of Justice, are competent to review acts of personnel management relating to operations "in the field" concerning both staff seconded by Member States and staff seconded by the institutions of the Union.

As a result of this case, the Council has apparently decided to grant legal personality to the missions.

Educational Allowances

Note au personnel sur les allocations scolaires (juin 2016)

Agreement between the EEAS and the Commission on the new package of measures concerning educational allowances for staff serving in delegations. May 2016

Recours en Annulation auprès du Tribunal de l'Union Européenne contre la nouvelle politique du personnel au SEAE concernant les Allocations Scolaires en délégations

A career for ASTs

Letter to the administration on the AST career plan (April 2016)

Training for EPSO competitions

It's very difficult for people based in delegations to travel to Brussels to attend preparatory courses for EPSO competitions. This puts them at a real disadvantage, compared with better-prepared candidates.

That's why we've set up a program of desktop courses, in the form of webinars. No need to travel!

See the courses on offer and register …