Progressive retirement programme (PRP)

In March 1997 the Finance Committee and Council approved the implementation of the Progressive Retirement Programme, as set out in document CERN/2181 - CERN/FC/3949, for an initial period of three years starting on 1st April 1997, with the possibility of subsequent extension subject to a decision by the Director-General.

At the present time the programme has been extended until 31st March 2021.

Aim of the programme:
The essential aim of the programme is to facilitate progressive retirement and help to lower the average age of the personnel, while at the same time allowing the Organization to continue to benefit from the skills and expertise of experienced staff working part time.

1. Eligibility

To be considered for the Progressive Retirement Programme you must:

  • be a staff member aged at least 55 on the proposed date of joining the Programme,

  • hold an indefinite contract stipulating a basic working week of 40 hours, at the moment of submission of the application and at the moment of entry into the Programme
    (Staff members participating in the Scheme of Part-time work as pre-retirement measure (PTP) may apply to join the Progressive Retirement Programme), and

  • have contributed to the CERN Pension Fund for at least 30 years (Entitlements to benefits from other pension or insurance schemes will also be taken into account). 

Applications to join the Programme must be for a minimum period of one year, which must start on the first day of a month and end the last day of a month and must not extend beyond the statutory age limit of 65 years.

Members of the personnel who are shift workers entitled to additional periods of membership of the Pension Fund by virtue of article R III 1.24 of the Staff Rules and Regulations and Administrative Circulars No. 22 (22A and& 22B since January 2000) may opt to benefit, as they choose, either from the provisions applicable to shift work or from the Progressive Retirement Programme.

2. Employment conditions during membership of the programme

2.1 Status and activities outside the Organization of staff participating in the Progressive Retirement Programme

Participants in the programme retain their member of the personnel status and are subject to the Staff Rules and Regulations as well as to a specific set of regulations which override some of them. Under articles R I 3.02-04 of the Staff Rules and Regulations, they are not entitled to engage in any professional or political activity outside the Organization nor in any activities of a commercial nature without first obtaining written authorisation from the Director-General. 

2.2 Remuneration/financial conditions

The remuneration and the financial conditions of participants in the programme are calculated on the basis of a 20-hour contractual working week. This principle applies both to the basic salary and to allowances and indemnities, with the exception of the reimbursement of education fees and home leave expenses, where applicable, and of the special personal allowance paid to former holders of contracts with a 44-hour working week.

The Organization will also pay participants in the Programme a Progressive Retirement Allowance (article R V 1.31 of the staff Regulations) amounting to 20% of the basic full-time salary corresponding to their position in the salary grid.

Contributions are no longer paid into the CERN Pension Fund when a staff member joins the programme.

Contributions to the CERN Health Insurance Scheme, which remain compulsory, are the same as those for part-time personnel (contribution payable by main member plus supplementary contribution for spouse in certain circumstances).

2.3 CERN Pension Fund

As well as committing themselves to remaining in the programme until their departure from the Organization, participants continue to be members of the CERN Pension Fund& but irrevocably forgo any further accumulation of periods of membership through contributions to the fund for their retirement pension and are not entitled to receive a pension during membership of the programme.

At the same time, both the staff member and the Organization cease to pay their contributions, currently 9.37% and 21% of the reference salary respectively, into the Pension Fund.

The conditions attached to the programme include the staff member's agreement to abide by a specific set of regulations that override some of the Rules and Regulations of the Pension Fund.

Participants in the programme become beneficiaries of the CERN Pension Fund when they leave the programme. The principles governing deferred retirement pensions apply to participants in the Progressive Retirement Programme and, for the purposes of calculating benefits, the reference salary of the staff member concerned, as defined in § 5 of the document CERN/2181 - CERN/FC/3949, is adjusted in the same way as the pensions during his period of participation in the programme.

The provisions governing the amounts of the pension for disability not arising in the course of duty, the surviving spouse/partner's pension and orphan's pension are described in § 6, 7 and 8 of the document CERN/2181 - CERN/FC/3949

2.4 Personal schedule of working hours

Subject to compatibility with the requirements of the service concerned, a schedule of time worked/not worked is drawn up and agreed by the department hierarchy and the staff member in advance. The staff member's department will exercise a certain degree of flexibility in agreeing the periods of time when the staff member is not at work, which may be organised on a daily, weekly or seasonal basis. Priority will be given to compensatory leave taken at the end of the staff member's career or to other periods compatible with the efficient running of installations and services. Requests for compensatory leave outside the periods laid down in the agreed schedule of working hours are subject to a notice period of twice the duration of the leave requested.

See also: Explanation of the adjustment rule for working hours of PRP and PTP participants

2.5 Annual leave

The annual leave entitlement and the maximum number of days of annual leave that can be carried forward from one year to the next are calculated in proportion to the staff member's contractual working hours. 

2.6 Compensatory leave and overtime

Hours of work performed over and above the contractual working hours give entitlement to compensatory leave of up to a maximum of 40 hours per week but are not remunerated.

Staff members participating in the programme are entitled to accumulate a leave entitlement equivalent to a maximum of 12 consecutive calendar months of absence, except if the leave is taken immediately prior to termination of the employment contract with the Organization, in which case the ceiling is extended to 24 consecutive months of absence.

Staff members participating in the Programme are not authorised to perform overtime within the meaning of article R III l.06 of the Staff Regulations.

2.7 Conditions of contract termination

If the staff member is entitled to travel and removal expenses and to the reinstallation indemnity, they will be payable in full in accordance with the Staff Rules and Regulations.

Any outstanding days of leave owing to the staff member must be taken before the termination of his contract. No payment will be made in lieu of annual leave or compensatory leave other than in exceptional circumstances, i.e. the death or permanent disability of the staff member concerned, in which case the payment will be in accordance with the financial conditions applicable on the last day of his contract.

Staff members participating in the programme who wish to resign (before the age of 65) from the Organization must give six months' notice in writing.
Nevertheless, in order to be able to proceed with the administrative formalities, if the last day of work is before the six month's notice, the resignation has to be sent 1 or 2 months minimum before the last day of work (a Template of resignation letter for PRP participants is available).

Procedure updated on: