Effective July 1 2012

Late cancellation/no show fees for OHRM learning and development courses


1. Introduction

The Office of Human Resources Management (OHRM) of the United Nations Secretariat manages the Organization’s learning and development programmes in line with paragraph 2.10 (a) of ST/SGB/2009/9 “Learning and development policy” for staff at all levels, through programmes that are aimed at developing core values, core and managerial competencies and promoting a shared organizational culture and values.

All learning programmes are continuously monitored and revised to ensure best practice and to maintain a high quality of delivery and relevance to the United Nations work environment. The ability to measure the impact on staff member work performance is a primary instructional design consideration for all learning and development programmes.

2. Late cancellation of attendance/no show

The sections within OHRM which manage the Secretariat learning and development programmes continue to struggle with the challenges of late cancellation/no shows by participants.  This is an issue of increasing concern, given the current financial environment.  It is understood that certain cases of cancellation/no shows are unavoidable, as in the case of illness.  However, a number of participants fail to attend the courses due to poor planning or changes in work priorities which could have been foreseen. 

There is an estimated no show rate of 20% to 30% of participants in workshops which could be avoided with adequate advance notice, allowing OHRM to place waitlisted staff members in vacant slots.

3. Proposal to introduce late cancellation/no show fee


OHRM will introduce a fee to cover some of the costs incurred by the Organization in the cases of late cancellation and no shows, as well as to encourage accountability by both staff and their managers. The Language and Communication Programme already has a process in place (refer to ST/IC/2012/3) to handle late cancellation and no shows with regard to participation in language courses.  The current proposal  addresses OHRM’s other centrally coordinated learning and development programmes.



4. Implementation

Effective 1 July 2012, a fee will be implemented that addresses late cancellation and no show and cases. OHRM will charge a “per seat” fee to the respective office/department.  The allocation for upgrading of technical and substantive skills will be used as the source of this fee.  To avoid excessive administrative work, the fees will be billed on a quarterly basis for all instances where a staff member from any office/department cancels his/her attendance late or does not show up for learning programme for which they have registered unless the conditions 1 to 4 in Section 6 below apply. OHRM will coordinate and receive the cancellation fee directlyfrom the respective EO by way of deducting the amount from that Office or Department’s allocation for the Upgrading of Substantive and Technical Skills.


5. Fee structure

The fees are based on the actual cost per seat/per participant for each of the respective programme (see cancellation fee per course below)


6. Scenarios with no fees

No fee will be charged for the following scenarios (1-4) below. However, all other cases will incur costs per cancellation/no show.

1) Staff member cancels a course four working days before the course takes place, allowing time to secure a participant from the waitlist to attend.

2) Staff member presents a medical certificate within three working days following a late cancellation and no show, during the course period.

3) A suitable replacement from the Office or Department is identified and he/she attends the course in the place of the staff member who cancelled attendance late. .
4) No fee will be charged for mini-lunchtime workshops.

For any other reasons, however, the respective office/department will be charged a cancellation fee, even if the cancellation is due to exigencies of service. 



7. Management Development Programme (MDP) and Leadership Development Programme (LDP)

The cancellation/no show fees to be applied for the MDP and LDP are based on estimated cost of an empty seat to the Organization. The Organization is also required to pay a hotel cancellation fee if a hotel reservation is cancelled within one week of the programme. However, no fee will be charged for the following scenarios:

1) A suitable replacement is identified for Module I and he/she attends in the place of the staff member who cancelled attendance late except where travel costs have been incurred.

2) Staff member presents a medical certificate within three working days of a late cancellation and no show during the course period.


For LDP, the participant’s Office or Department will reimburse OHRM any transportation costs (air and rail tickets), as well as any cancellation or change fees incurred as a result of cancellation of participation.

Please click on the following links for more information

Cancellation Fees Per Course (as of 1 July 2012)

Managing Late Cancellations Flowchart