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The Staff Union Assistance Fund (SUAF)
What is it? The SUAF is a Staff Union Fund that depends on voluntary donations from individual staff members and provides either repayable loans or non-repayable gifts. Its purpose is to “provide financial assistance in case of need to members of the staff of the ILO and their families” (see Appendix I, paragraph 2, of the Staff Union Rules). The term “staff member” refers to any person who is, or has been, employed by the ILO in any capacity or at any duty station. The basic operating principles of the SUAF are those of solidarity and compassion. We may all one day face an emergency involving unexpected expenses and an urgent need for financial assistance. That’s where SUAF comes in!
When does it help? It helps ILO active and retired colleagues, and their families all over the world who find themselves in difficult situations in order to support them to meet urgent financial needs by extending loans and small financial donations. Support is provided in the following type of situations: long-term illness, permanent or long-term disability, bereavement, housing lost in case of war or natural disaster, housing reparation in emergency situations or for extreme security reasons.
What it is not: The Fund is not – and its statutes do not permit it to be seen as – an interest-free bank or credit institution. Therefore, assistance is not given to colleagues wishing to buy a house or car, or pay for private education for their children, or visit family members living abroad, etc.
How does it function? Any staff member of the ILO or retired staff member of the ILO can present a request for help (loan or donation) together with sufficient information on the situation that pushes him/her to present this request and proofs of expenditures incurred or that he/she will be forced to incur. The SUAF’s Board analyses the request and determines to accept it or not. If the decision is positive, the Board decides if it is accepted as a loan or as a donation (in exceptional cases) depending on the gravity of the situation, the financial situation of the staff member presenting the request and the financial situation of the SUAF itself.
How does a loan function? If a loan is accepted, it is given without interest rates. However, it cannot represent more than 20% of net monthly income during a maximum repayment period of 24 months. In extreme humanitarian cases, the Board may exceptionally decide to accord a loan above the 20% ceiling, or for a longer period determined by the duration of the staff’s contract. In order to determine the total amount provided as a loan, the SUAF Board needs to have a copy of the staff’s contract (end date).
How does a loan function? In the event that the person requesting the loan does not have a contract with the ILO beyond 24 months from the start of the loan repayment period, the SUAF requests to obtain assurances from the official (Director, HRD, etc) responsible for decisions on renewal of the contract that the recipient will be extended in a contractual relationship with the ILO beyond the loan repayment period, or the Board reduces the maximum repayment period accordingly. Monthly payments of loans are automatically deducted from the payroll. Once we have this information, we endeavour to respond as soon as possible. It usually takes around 10 days to get the loan approved.
Who decides? The Staff Union Assistance Fund is run for staff by staff. A volunteer board of five to six contributors to the Fund decide on urgent requests for assistance from ILO colleagues and retirees from around the world based on criteria of urgency of need, genuine hardship, emergency and financial situation of those requesting assistance. Nathalie Devaud-Dalibard (devaud-dalibard@ilo. org) Gloria Moreno-Fontes Chammartin(mfontes@ilo. org) David Seligson (seligson@ilo. org) Craig Russon (russon@ilo. org) Edmundo Werna (werna@ilo. org) Azédinne Sefrioui-Benzerrou (azeddine. sefrioui@bluewin. ch) All requests to the Fund for assistance are carefully considered by the Board as a whole, which meets regularly to discuss more complicated cases and matters of principle arising from them.
Loans & Gifts - July 2008 to June 2010 Loans: Africa 26 Asia 23 Europe 4 Latin America 0 Gifts: Africa 4 Asia 23 (Manila’s Hurricane and Tornado) Latin America/Caribbean 10 (Haiti’s Hurricane and earthquake) Europe 5
Would you like to contribute? The Fund is largely financed by the generosity of more than a hundred ILO serving officials making donations on a regular basis. Thanks to them, the financial situation of the Fund remains healthy. However, the SUAF needs more members as demand for help is rising and we do not have the resources to respond to all the requests from our colleagues in need. Every contribution, however small, aids the Fund to build up sizeable enough sums to be of real help. Contributions are calculated on the basis of parts per thousand of net monthly salary. It is for you to decide how much you wish to pledge each month. As guide, one part per thousand represents about 6 Swiss francs for a G. 3 at headquarters and 9 Swiss francs for a P. 3 per month. The Staff Union also makes regular contributions to support the Fund. Help us to help! In order to strengthen the Fund, we invite you to become a SUAF member by filling in the SUAF form! Please join the effort – it doesn’t cost much.