Five-Yearly Review: the Staff Association keeps you informed!

The Staff Association (SA) has already published several articles on this topic, especially at the beginning of the year and at the end of June (Echo No. 248).

In these articles, we discussed the implementation of the decisions taken by the CERN Council in December 2015, covering the deadlines and progress, but also the SA’s concerns.

First milestone reached

On 18 August, all staff members received an individual notification letter indicating:

  • their placement within the new salary scale, i.e. their grade and salary position expressed as a percentage of the midpoint of the grade;
  • the provisional benchmark job they are assigned to.

An information sheet was also enclosed in the email from HR Office.

Soon after, the SA was contacted by a significant number of colleagues seeking further information on the content of the documents or wishing to share their disappointment and fears regarding the impact that these changes will have on their career.

It seems therefore that the information provided by the Human Resources Department is not explicit enough.

Public meeting, Thursday, 22 September, from 9:00 to 10:00 am in the Main Auditorium (500/1-001)

In an effort to best address your questions, the SA invites all personnel to participate in a public meeting on Thursday, 22 September, at 9:00 am. After the meeting, you are more than welcome to share your thoughts with us over coffee or tea.

What is important to understand?

Basic salary and salary position

The transition from a career path in the previous system to a grade in the new system came into effect on 1 September 2016. This transition does not affect the current basic salary, and it is carried out automatically on the basis of a predetermined equivalence of career paths and bands on the one hand, and grades on the other.

However, the new salary scale has, or can have, a significant impact on advancement for some of us. For example this concerns those who are in a personal salary position, which means that their salary position falls outside the new salary scale.

There are two types of personal positions. The first type applies to staff members, whose salary is inferior to the minimum salary of their grade, whereas the other one applies to those, whose salary is superior to the maximum salary of their grade. In both cases, the Administration and the Management must prioritize reviewing the placement of staff members in personal positions.

Benchmark job (BMJ)

The placement in a benchmark job was done by HR on the basis of:

  • the ‘Job Title’ and the ‘Professional code’ registered in the HR database at the time of the change, which is why the change was carried out automatically for the vast majority of staff members; few manual changes were made, only in the absence of equivalence of the HRT codification and the benchmark job;
  • the grade in the new system;
  • the internal guidelines.


The SA finds that the guidelines that have been used to define placement are not always equitable.

For instance, in the technical sector, all technicians in career path D (grade 5) are placed in “technical engineer” benchmark jobs and assigned to grades 4-5-6, whereas in the administrative sector, all administrative assistants, equally in path D (grade 5) are placed in benchmark jobs with a lower classification 3-4-5.

The SA has requested to place everyone currently in career path D in benchmark jobs that encompass grades 4-5-6. The SA also opposes the unequal treatment of personnel in technical and administrative sectors. We have already received feedback concerning placements that do not seem to be consistent with legitimate expectations. The upcoming public meeting will provide an opportunity to share our thoughts with you, but also to gather information and hear your opinions first hand.

Regardless, it is important to note that this classification is, for the time being, PROVISIONAL and your placement has to be confirmed during the next annual merit recognition exercise at the latest.

When, how and with whom to discuss my definitive placement?

In the letter of 18 August, HR explains that: “Your Supervisor and your Human Resources Adviser are at your disposal to review and discuss this matter where applicable, in particular if you consider that you have not been assigned to the Benchmark Job which corresponds to your current functions. You will receive confirmation of your Benchmark Job Title at the latest by 1 May 2017.”

Simply put, what is important for you to understand is that you have to contact your supervisor and your HRA as soon as possible, by preference in writing, if you consider that you have not been assigned to the right benchmark job and placed in the right grade classification. This is exactly what the SA encourages you to do!

Of course, if you have any problem, or if your request is denied, we are here to listen to you and to intervene if needed, to ensure your case is handled correctly and assessed by the Administration.

In the public meeting, we will present different scenarios and types of claims that can be made.

The Administration has assured us, however, that they aim to investigate and handle all “contentious” cases before the end of the year in as much as possible.

Administrative Circular No. 26 – Recognition of merit close to being finalized

In the note joined to the letter sent by HR on 18 August, several references are made to Administrative Circular No. 26 regarding:

  • performance assessment, MERIT exercise in 2017 (ex-MARS);
  • transition measures applicable to staff members in a personal position (the maximum salary of the grade reached);
  • promotions;
  • career review, etc.

Seen that the concertation meeting (SCC) between the SA and the Management is scheduled just two days before the public meeting, we will be in a position to give you the latest updates.

Come find out more, ask your questions in the public meeting, and encourage your colleagues to participate too. Finally, please don’t hesitate to send us your questions before 20 September 2016 at We will do our utmost to give you answers in the public meeting. And of course, it goes without saying that anonymity will be strictly respected!

by Staff Association