AIIC-World Customs Organisation Agreement

Agreement setting out the conditions of employment of freelance conference interpreters

SECTION I – Signatories

1. The International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC)

on the one hand;

The World Customs Organisation (WCO)

on the other hand;

2. CONSIDERING the decision taken by the WCO to align its Staff rules on those of the Co-ordinated Organisations as from the 1st of July 1981

3. RECALLING that the Co-ordinated Organisations and AIIC entered into an agreement governing the conditions of employment of freelance conference interpreters

4. RECALLING that the WCO and AIIC, since 1983, entered into several successive agreements covering specifics periods.

5. CONSIDERING the WCO’s request for consultation due to the need to renegotiate the terms of their agreement entered into on 15 December 2009 (covering the period 2010-2014).

6. CONSIDERING the renegotiation by the parties of the terms of their agreement previously entered into, the parties hereby acknowledge that this Agreement, covering the period 2011-2016, repeals and supersedes henceforth the agreement previously entered into on 15 December 2009.



6. The rate of daily remuneration shall be set in accordance with Section IV (Working conditions) and Annex I (composition of teams) :

  1. either at the lower rate, or rate I ,which is payable for meetings to which a large team of interpreters is assigned;
  2. at the higher rate, or rate II, which is payable for meetings to which a small team of interpreters is assigned or whenever the conditions laid down in paragraph 19 are met.

7. With effect from 1st of January 2005, the daily remuneration of interpreters shall be as follows:

  1. for Rate I (basic rate 100) : 1/20th of the basic monthly salary of an official of grade L4 step 8, unmarried, resident in France, plus an amount of 6% calculated on the same basis (cf. monthly salary scales in force in the organisations). This remuneration shall be indexed annually in accordance with the recommendation of the CCR on the said monthly salary;
  2. Rate II (higher rate): 160% of Rate I.

8. Within a given contract, any day which is not a public holiday and which is not worked shall qualify for payment of the daily remuneration provided for in paragraph 7 a) above and, as appropriate, of the daily subsistence allowance provided for in paragraphs 27 and 28. In the case of two contracts performed elsewhere that at the professional place of residence, separated by a period of not more than two days, the WCO may elect to pay compensation (remuneration at Rate I plus daily subsistence allowance) for this or those days.


a) Provision for retirement

9. The Organisations shall deduct from the daily remuneration an interpreter’s contribution of 7%, to which shall be added their own contribution of 14%, and shall pay the aggregate of 21% to the Caisse de Prévoyance des Interprètes de Conférence (CPIC) or, as appropriate, to the Caisse Commune de Pension des Interprètes et Traducteurs (CCPIT)

10. The WCO reserves the right, should the interpreter request on legitimate grounds that he or she not be affiliated to one of the funds mentioned in paragraph 9, to pay the contribution of 21% to another retirement fund adhering to the same principles, subject to the agreement and under the responsibility of the interpreter concerned.

11. Interpreters who have contributed before 1979 to other retirement funds shall retain that option.

b) Provision to cover accidents, illness and temporary or permanent inability to work (loss of earnings)

12. The WCO shall take out an insurance policy with Allianz through Van Breda to cover the interpreters whom they employ against the risks of accident, illness and temporary or permanent inability to work which may arise during the periods covered by their contracts.

13. A copy of that insurance policy shall be forwarded to the general Secretariat of AIIC.

14. The insurance premiums payable in respect of periods of work shall be funded on the basis of two-thirds by the WCO and one-third by the interpreter.

15. The aggregate premiums shall be paid by the WCO to Allianz through Van Breda the interpreter’s share being deducted from the daily remuneration.


Definition of working day

16. Each working day shall comprise a maximum of two sessions of three hours to three-and-a-half hours each, starting from the time for which the meeting is convened. If the meeting lasts longer than the above norm, the team shall be either reinforced or replaced by a relief team; where that is impossible, each interpreter concerned shall be entitled to time off in lieu within the period of his contract or, failing this, to financial compensation.

Composition of teams

17. The minimum number of interpreters assigned to a meeting shall vary in accordance with the number of languages, as shown in the table appended to this agreement.

18. For meetings in the two official languages of the WCO (English and French), the minimum number of interpreters shall be three, working both ways. This number shall be increased to four if the meeting lasts longer than the above norm.

19. In the case of scientific or technical meetings or meetings presenting particular difficulties, such as systematic interpretation of documents read out, a large team of interpreters, remunerated at the higher rate, shall be engaged.

20. The list of meetings mentioned in paragraph 19 shall be drawn up jointly by the WCO and a delegation of interpreters (see Appendix II).

Very short meetings

21. In the exceptional case of a meeting of one and a half hour to two hours at the most, a small team of interpreters, paid at the basic rate (Rate I), shall be recruited.

Cancellation of contract or reduction of assignment time

22. If the contract is cancelled or if the duration of the assignment is reduced for reasons beyond the interpreter’s control, remuneration at rate I shall be payable, excluding the daily subsistence allowance, during the period covered by the contract including traveling time. The daily subsistence allowance shall be payable for any journey already embarked upon.

23. In accordance with AIIC professional code, the interpreter shall inform the WCO concerned of any alternative assignment, including traveling time, which the interpreter obtains for the day or days affected by such cancellations. In such cases, the remuneration corresponding to the said days shall not be paid.

24. No payments shall be due in respect of a cancellation of which the interpreter is informed more than two months before the starting date of the assignment.


a) Professional address

25. For the purpose of this agreement, freelance interpreters may not have more than one professional address simultaneously. This professional address shall be declared to the WCO no later than the first contract entered into; any change shall be notified in writing thirty days in advance and may apply only to continuous periods of at least six months. In the case of interpreters who are AIIC members, the AIIC yearbook shall be binding.

b) Travel expenses

26. The rules governing travel expenses shall be those in force in the WCO and providing, inter alia, for reimbursement of travel expenses on production of documentary proof of expenditure.

c) Daily subsistence allowances

27. The rules governing subsistence allowances shall be those in force in the WCO. The subsistence allowances payable to interpreters are those paid to Group II (A5-A4) in the scales of the Co-ordinated Organisations

28. Where an interpreter is assigned to a meeting at a place less than 50 kilometres from his professional address, he shall be entitled to a daily subsistence allowance if the departure time of the train from his professional address is before 8 a.m. or if its arrival time on the return journey is later than 11 p.m. In cases where the subsistence allowance is paid, travel expenses are payable only for one return journey. Conference interpreters undertake not to claim payment of the daily subsistence allowance unless they stay at the place of the meeting.

d) Remuneration for travelling time

29. Where an interpreter is assigned to a conference at a place which is more than 50 kilometres from his professional address, he shall receive half a day’s pay at the lower rate both for the day preceding and for the day following the conference.

30. However, if the duration of the train trip does not exceed 90 minutes, the interpreter shall receive a subsistence allowance if, by leaving the station at his professional address at 8 a.m. at the earliest, he cannot be in the booth at least one hour before the beginning of the meeting. A subsistence allowance shall also be paid to the interpreter who, given the meeting schedule, will not be able to arrive at the station of his professional address before 11 p.m.

31. However, no remuneration shall be paid where the WCO informs the interpreter, at the time of engagement, that the conference will begin sufficiently late and/or end sufficiently early for the interpreter to travel on the first and/or the last day of the conference by the authorized means of transport, leaving the station or airline town terminal at the professional address or returning to it between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m.

32. Where the interpreter has to spend more than half a day travelling before the day on which the conference starts or after the day on which the conference ends, he shall receive remuneration at the lower rate for the day preceding and the day following the conference.


33. In the interests of both parties, the WCO shall endeavour, wherever possible, to maintain a measure of stability in its recruitment policy, to engage interpreters directly and individually, and to avoid any sudden cessation of engagements.


34. The working conditions and conditions of remuneration set out in this agreement shall apply only to the traditional situation where the interpreter is in the meeting room. If the WCO decides to make use of tele-interpreting or new technology, new conditions (duration of sessions, number of interpreters, etc) shall be drawn up jointly with AIIC.

35. Where technical facilities are being constructed or improved, the WCO shall endeavour to comply with the standards and specifications of the International Standards Organisation and the International Electrotechnical Commission.


36. The present agreement covers the period 1 September 2011 to 31 August 2016.


37. Negotiations with a view to the renewal of the present agreement shall take place during 2015. However, either party may request early renegotiation of the agreement should exceptional or unforeseen circumstances arise. The purpose of such negotiations is to find a mutually acceptable solution as soon as possible.


38. Throughout the period of this agreement, consultations may take place at the request of either party, between representatives of AIIC and of the Division of Administration and Personnel of the WCO.

39. Any difference of opinion over the interpretation of the present agreement which has not been resolved in accordance with the procedure provided for in the preceding paragraph shall be settled through consultations between AIIC and the Head of the Division of Administration and Personnel of the WCO.


40. Any disputes between an interpreter and the WCO shall be submitted to the Arbitration Tribunal body provided for in the “Mode of settlement of disputes arising out of contracts“ laid down in Decision CCCXXXI of the WCO.

41. The present Agreement shall be binding only on the signatories.

Done at Brussels, in two (2) originals copies, each Party acknowledging by their signature receipt of the copy intended for it.

For the AIIC

For the WCO

Benoît Kremer

Mr. Ray McDonagh
Chief Administration and Personnel




Minimum number of interpreters


Large team
(Rate I)

Small team
(Rate II)

2-language conference
interpreted into those 2 languages



3-language conference
interpreted into 2 languages
interpreted into those 3 languages



4-language conference
interpreted into 2 languages
interpreted into 3 languages
interpreted into 4 languages



5-language conference
interpreted into 2 languages
interpreted into 3 languages
interpreted into 4 languages
interpreted into 5 languages




List of meetings mentioned in paragraph 19

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