Starting work

In the first few months of your working life here the Administration has to make a whole series of decisions about you which will have significant impact on you throughout your career in the institutions of the European Public Service.

The Staff Regulations, of which you have your own copy and which you have read carefully, are supposed to determine the essentials. Nevertheless a whole range of implementing guidelines – sadly all too many – provide the Administration with considerable discretionary powers.

Let’s begin with work!

Upon recruitment, you will be assigned to the grade allocated to the competition you passed. You may be awarded an additional step (i.e. two years’ seniority) within the grade, depending on your relevant work experience. You will be eligible for promotion to the next grade after a minimum of two years in your grade.

Union Syndicale has experts who can explain the system, and ensure that its members are made aware of the rules in force in each institution. In addition, in the event of a need to challenge a decision made or imminent, on request Union Syndicale is there to provide members with advice, or to take up their case should an appeal be necessary through in-house procedures (under Article 90 of the Staff Regulations).

Union Syndicale helps its members find their way through the maze of procedures and committees to make sure that they are given full credit for their professional capacities ; getting off on the right foot is vital in public service. Union Syndicale representatives on promotion committees, however, are scrupulously impartial in providing assistance and support to all those eligible for promotion, whether union members or not.

Professional training begins as soon as you start work. Information on training policy, and advice on available or recommended courses is clearly something you need right away.

Union Syndicale can provide members with documentation, as well as specialist advice on the best options for career development, and how to find the kind of job you really want to do.

So your probationary period is over, all went well and you have an excellent report. No ? Then you need help.

Union Syndicale is right there to assist its members at difficult times like these, which may even involve the threat of losing the job they worked so hard to get. Appeals exist, but of course you need to be aware of how to go about them.

Finally, all sorts of problems with your working conditions may crop up right from the outset: working hours, overtime, computer systems, your office and equipment, health and safety of premises, including those housing the crèches, childcare facilities, canteens, etc.

Here again Union Syndicale is there to help and advice those of its members who experience such problems, and to represent them in dealings with the administration if necessary, keeping individuals’ names out of it if they prefer.

Let’s look at benefits and individual rights …

Since you are under an obligation to live near your workplace, the administration has to compensate you for the expenses involved in complying with this requirement (removal costs, installation allowance, daily subsistence allowance, etc.).

The administration determines your place of origin and entitlement to an expatriation allowance, which in turn affect your and your family’s entitlement to a range of other benefits.

The administration will also establish your personal circumstances, which affect payment of certain allowances : you are unmarried, head of household, married, divorced, separated, with dependents, school age children or other; all this information affects decisions made about you.

You should not wait too long before thinking about your retirement and old age pension, especially if you have acquired pension rights in other schemes. You have ten years to make up your mind to transfer them into the Community scheme. NB : Generally speaking, it is much more advantageous to transfer them as quickly as possible after the end of your probation, but it is much more difficult to determine that quickly whether the transfer is worthwhile in your case.

In all of this Union Syndicale is there to help its members with advice and information about all the complex issues dealt with in the plethora of implementing guidelines to the Staff Regulations.

Union Syndicale can also help with official applications, and lodging of complaints or appeals.

At work

Once all these multifarious decisions have been made, and you have put your probationary period behind you, you will now be established as an official or appointed as a temporary or contract staff member.

As your career progresses, changes will inevitably occur, both in your working life and in your private life.

Changes can create serious and complex problems.

Just to mention a few of the main ones: promotions and appointments, staff reports, access to jobs in management, open and in-house competitions, certification, equal opportunities, change in family circumstances (children completing their education), handicapped children, dependents, medical expenses claims, invalidity, pension rights, etc.

Not only does Union Syndicale continually make the experience of its experts available to its members ; it offers a wide range of services with professional help form lawyers, doctors, specialists in property matters.

Members of Union Syndicale can seek free advice on professional or private matters, from a lawyer with specialist knowledge of the Staff Regulations.

If members need to appeal decisions made by the institutions, Union Syndicale may take on their case, subject to approval by its executive, and to certain conditions notified in advance (in accordance with our rules on legal defence).

In the event of a medical problem, especially in cases of disability or invalidity, members may be referred to a specialist.

Finally members may consult an expert from the office of one of Brussels’ leading notaries, for advice and help with the technical and legal aspects of buying or building a house in or around Brussels.

All of these services are, of course, provided in the strictest confidence.

Union Syndicale may also deal with more specific cases, subject to approval by the executive. As their career moves on, Union Syndicale members may well be interested in sitting a competition. Union Syndicale has worked out a training programme to help its members and their families in preparing for these examinations.

We hope these few lines of introduction will convince you to join our union, or at the very least stimulate your curiosity.

If you would like to know more, please do not hesitate to ask. We would be happy to send you more information, or better still to set up a meeting with an officer of the union.