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Programme and Operations Policies and Procedures

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POPP>Human Resources Management>Annual and Special Leave>Special Leave
Special Leave
1.0 Relevant Regulations and Rules
Staff regulations and staff rules, including provisional staff rules, of the United Nations

This policy implements UN Staff Rule 5.3
2.0 Policies
Main Policy
Special Leave
3.0 Procedures
Main Procedures

Special Leave

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James Hanneman
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Summary of Changes/Comments
January 9, 2023 - The policy has been updated to reflect UNDP's transition to its new cloud-based management platform Quantum in January 2023, replacing its previous ATLAS system.

April 23, 2020 - Paragraphs 16 and 22 of the Special Leave policy were updated to clarify that special leave for purposes of external employment will be approved only if it is deemed in UNDP’s interest and to reinforce that this cannot exceed 24 months in duration. Where external employment is approved for purposes of accompanying a UNDP spouse reassigned to a duty station by UNDP, the time limit is extended to 60 months.

May 31, 2019 - The policy update includes editorial changes to provide clarity, align with the terminology reflected in the UN Staff Regulations and Rules as well as the Gender Parity Strategy, and to include the decisions approved by the Administrator related to the Gender Steering and Implementation Committee (GSIC) initiatives.

Service credit for entitlement accrual

50.          All accrued annual leave must be exhausted prior to starting SLWOP, except in the case of SLWOP granted for military service as per staff rule 5.3 (c), for technical assignment as per staff rule 5.3 (b) or SLWOP following any of the parental leave entitlements, or as per paragraph 11 (k), SLWOP granted to locally recruited staff members for UNV assignments.

Visa status

54.          Visas which a staff member has been granted on the basis of their employment with the Organization pertain to active service. A staff member’s authorized stay in the United States expires automatically upon separation from service (which includes entry into special leave with or without pay of more than 30 days) or transfer to a duty station outside the United States, even if the G-4 visa stamped in the passport indicates that it is valid beyond the separation or transfer date.  If a staff member on special leave wishes to remain in the duty station for study purposes, for instance, the staff member is responsible for obtaining the requisite visa. UNDP will not sponsor or support any such applications and will abide by its obligations towards the host country. 

Separation from service after special leave without pay

62.          If the staff member has not identified or accepted a suitable placement at the expiry of SLWOP or its extension(s), they will be separated from service in accordance with the UN Staff Regulations and Rules or the terms specified in the letter granting the approval for SLWOP.


67.          Upon approval of any type of special leave, a communication to the staff member to this effect stating the terms of the leave and administrative formalities (together with a copy of this policy) is prepared by the respective HR contact in UNDP, and should include the following information:

         d)            Confirmation that all accrued annual leave to date will be exhausted prior to commencing special leave (with or without pay) except for reasons mentioned under paragraphs 49 and 50;

June 26, 2015 - Change in procedures to reflect implementation of e-services in 2011 (section Procedures and Roles & Responsibilities). Update UN Staff Rule reference and clarify annual leave accrual during maternity leave followed by SLWOP (para. 44). 

October 14, 2013 - Alignment of accrual of service credit with UN Staff Rule 5.3 (para. 45). 19 July 2010: In prescriptive format, contract modality as per UN Staff Regulations and Staff Rules. Reviewed and edited (minor edit without substantive changes) in 2014.