The Common System  

The term common system is shorthand for the United Nations common system of salaries, allowances and other conditions of service . Its origin can be traced to the relationship agreements concluded between the United Nations and the specialized agencies. While the wording of these agreements varies, most of them carry language to the effect that it is agreed to develop common personnel standards, methods and arrangements designed to avoid serious discrepancies in terms and conditions of employment, to avoid competition in recruitment of personnel and to facilitate the interchange of personnel .

The common system was intended to prevent competition among the organizations in staff recruitment and to facilitate exchange of staff. Other rationales for a common system include:

  • Efficiency/economy of scale: central maintenance of salary scales and allowance schedules means far fewer resources have to be deployed for these purposes in each organization;
  • Equity/fairness: morale can be jeopardized when staff working side by side have different conditions of service -- a uniform approach lessens such dissatisfaction;
  • Cost-efficiency/control: for the Member States, a common set of employment conditions permits an overview of staff costs.

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2019 International Civil Service Commission (v5)