Diversity, Equality and work-life balance


Clara Van Panhuys


Manuel Cespedes Ocampo


Andrew Christian


Séverine Deboos


Yuka Okumura

Coordinator: Clara Van Panhuys

Members: Manuel Cespedes Ocampo, Andrew Christian, Séverine Deboos, Yuka Okumura

Technical Advisers: Lou Tessier, Aria Tung

Objective: To contribute to the improvement of the working environment for all ILO officials by combating any form of discrimination, and promoting inclusion, equality and diversity whilst facilitating the pursuit of a healthy work-life balance in a workplace free from violence and harassment.

While we all uphold the common UN charter and work towards the promotion of a Decent Work Agenda for all, we all bring with us diverse perspectives, work experiences, lifestyles and cultures, which should be valued, respected and supported. The Staff Union Committee aspires to create a working environment where diversity, equality, equity, inclusion and work-life balance is respected and leveraged to improve organizational performance and the well-being of ILO officials. 

Means of action

Building upon the success of the previous year and learning from the challenges faced, the Staff Union proposes continuing to work on special mechanisms/initiatives to facilitate inclusion, diversity, equality and work-life balance.

More specifically, the working group will:

  • Ensure that all negotiations – conducted under the framework of the JNC – are conducted through a gender equal, non-discriminatory and an intersectional lens. This will include negotiations on:
    – Contract policy and mobility;
    – Revision of the policy against harassment, including sexual harassment;
    – Disability inclusion policy;
    – And others, as relevant, and depending on the needs and decisions of the JNC.
  • Actively support the promotion of respect in the workplace, including a workplace free from harassment and discrimination at HQ and in the field and in collaboration with HRD and others (Welfare Officer, MEDSERV, Ethics Officer, the Mediator and others).
  • In consultation with GEDI and HRD, support the promotion of diversity and inclusion, especially the implementation of the Disability Inclusion Policy in the ILO, particularly in the areas of employment and non-discrimination.
  • In collaboration with the UNGLOBE Coordinators at the ILO, support sensitization, awareness-raising, and advocacy efforts for better inclusion of LGBTIQ+ colleagues in the ILO, as well as UN policies, events and networking activities for interested colleagues.

Organize awareness-raising; information sessions; activities on International Days to exchange views/concerns and share information, knowledge and good practice and exchange with ILO Staff and Union members, in collaboration when relevant, with GEDI, FUNDAMENTALS, UN-GLOBE, the Employment Resource Group (ERG) and HRD.

Recent News

What future parents at the ILO should know.

First, let us check out Provisions of article 8.7 (Parental leave) of the Staff Regulations.

All staff, on a fixed-term contract, irrespective of funding source, is covered by the provisions of the recently negotiated Collective Agreement on Maternity Protection and Parental Leave in the ILO.

If you have a fixed-term contract and your current appointment covers your pregnancy and parental leave, you have the right as a birthing parent to 26 weeks of parental leave and as a non-birthing parent to 16 weeks of parental leave. If your fixed term contract is terminated or not renewed and is due to expire within less than 6 weeks of the baby’s due date or during the pregnancy, then you will be granted 16 weeks of parental leave with full salary and allowances.

Funds have been budgeted centrally to cover parental leave replacements so your team will be able to fund your parental leave/replacement.

If you have a short-term contract and the baby’s due date arises before the expiration of the contract, as a birthing parent you will also benefit from 16 weeks. As a non-birthing parent, you will benefit from 8/4 weeks if these periods are covered by your current contract (depending on whether you worked for more or less than 6 months at the ILO before the due date) according to the Collective Agreement on Maternity Protection and Parental Leave in the ILO. If the contract ends during the parental leave, it will be extended to cover 16 weeks, only for birthing parents.

However, if you are under a fixed-term contract that expires before 6 weeks of the baby’s due date as well as if you are under a short-term contract and your due date is after the end of the contract, note that:

  • The Human Resources Development manual Chapter 4 – a non-negotiated, HRD drafted manual – mentions in its Para 12. “If an official’s contract ends during her pregnancy or during either post-natal maternity leave or adoption leave, and the responsible chief does not intend to extend her contract, s/he should refer the matter to the HR Partner.” It is worth a try. The medical service (MEDSERV) is aware of this commitment from HRD to look into the situation.
  • Feeling unwell during your pregnancy at the ILO? You can let MEDSERV know. MEDSERV staff act as consultants in relation to staff health issues.

Just like MEDSERV needs to be informed of cases of distress, your Staff Union also needs to become aware of the frequency of such cases in order to defend you at best. The SU working group on Diversity, Equality and work-life balance develops the Union’s position with regards to parental leave, to protect parents’ and child’s well-being, as well as gender equality and equity in retention and access to career opportunities.