About the HR Handbook

The principles guiding our status, conditions of service and conduct as UN staff members are established in the Staff Regulations and Rules and described in various policies. Secretariat policies together with the Charter of the UN, and the Staff Regulations and Rules serve as the organization’s legislative framework, defining obligations of management and staff. Here you will find descriptions of the various administrative issuances within the legislative framework. All of these follow a hierarchy as explained below, and can be found in the HR Handbook. Notice and Disclaimer


The United Nations Charter is the treaty that established the United Nations, and includes the purposes and principles, membership, and organs of the United Nations, among other things. The Charter has 19 chapters and 111 articles in which Articles 7, 8, 97, 98, 100, 101 and 105 relate to human resources. The Charter of the United Nations was signed on 26 June 1945, in San Francisco, at the conclusion of the United Nations Conference on International Organization, and came into force on 24 October 1945.

Staff Regulations

The Regulations designate staff as international civil servants and contain the text of the Declaration made at the time of appointment. In the Regulations you will find the fundamental conditions of service and the basic rights, duties and obligations of UN staff members related to the relevant articles of the Charter of the United Nations. Click to read the Staff Regulations in full.

Staff Rules

The Staff Rules follow on and relate directly to the Staff Regulations by expanding on their meaning and how they are applied. The Staff Regulations and Staff Rules are normally published together. Click to read the Staff Rules in full.

Secretary-General's Bulletin

An SGB establishes the directives for and implementation date of policy and mechanisms related to the Staff Regulations and Staff Rules or decisions adopted by the General Assembly, or any important decision decided by the Secretary-General. 

Administrative Instruction

When an SGB is issued or a Staff Regulation or Rule is modified, an Administrative Instruction usually follows from the Under-Secretary-General for Management. An AI provides the ‘how-to’ procedures for carrying out the policy or change. When even more specific details in procedures are required, Guidelines in support of an AI may be written. 

Information Circular

ICs cover a range of just-in-time updates and practices in the Secretariat, such as holiday schedule, visas, local salary scales, working hours, pension, taxation, and membership in selection bodies.  

Guidelines and Agreements

Guidelines set detailed operational standards and procedures for the application of an Administrative Instruction for the guidance of both management and staff. In case of conflict with provisions in instruments of a higher legal order such as Administrative Instructions, Secretary-General's bulletins or Staff Rules and Regulations, the provisions of these instruments prevail. Included under Guidelines but technically multilateral agreements are the Inter-Organization Agreement concerning Transfer, Secondment or Loan of Staff, and the UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination and the Association internationale des interpètes de conférence regulating the conditions of employment of short-term conference interpreters.