Please note that this is a working translation. The Italian version is the
APOSTOLIC LETTER ISSUED MOTU PROPRIO OF
APPROVING THE NEW
STATUTE OF THE LABOUR OFFICE OF THE APOSTOLIC SEE (ULSA)
Twenty years ago, 1 January 1989, my venerable predecessor John Paul II, with
the Motu Proprio “On the first anniversary”, instituted the Labour Office of the
Apostolic See, with the task of contributing to “ensure that, in the particular
labour community operating in the employ of the Pope, the dignity of every
collaborator be actively honored; the economic and social rights of every member
be recognized, protected, harmonized, and promoted; respective duties be ever
more faithfully fulfilled; a lively sense of responsibility be stimulated; ever
better service be rendered”.
Emphasizing above all the ecclesial and pastoral mission of those who serve in
the Holy See, insofar as it is a participation in the universal mission of the
Roman Pontiff, the nascent Office was entrusted with the implementation and
consolidation of a true and proper labour community – as punctually described in
the Letter of the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II of 20 November 1982 regarding the
meaning of labour performed for the Apostolic See– and its jurisdiction,
functions, and capacity were fixed. These particular prerogatives were
reaffirmed in 1994 in the Motu Proprio “The Solicitude” with which the Servant
of God John Paul II definitively approved the Statute of the ULSA. Reiterating
with this document the typically communitarian concept of labour relations and
the specific nature of service rendered to the Holy See, the Pope asked the
Labour Office of the Apostolic See to continue consolidating the labour
community with steps aimed at promoting the full execution of the Bylaws
provided for its protection and to resolve any problems which should arise
In light of the principles recalled above, which inspired and dictated its
constitution, as well as the valued commitment through the years of Labour
Office members to accomplish their statutory duties with an authentic spirit of
faith and ecclesial service, I wish to reaffirm the unique function assigned to
the Labour Office of the Apostolic See of contributing – in conjunction with
Administrations, Bodies, and Institutions – to the promotion and consolidation
of the envisaged labour community, an example of co-responsibility and Christian
In keeping abreast of transformations taking place in society, culture, and the
world of labour in general, as well as the journey of responsiveness and
collaboration accomplished within the various Vatican Bodies, the ULSA is aware
of the particular task, which it is called at present to accomplish for the
professional, spiritual, and social formation of personnel, in accordance with
the ecclesial mission of all who collaborate with the Successor of Peter in his
ministry of service to the universal Church.
In the area of its proper duties, the Office therefore will never fail to strive
for participation in internal or external initiatives intended for the cultural
enhancement and continuing professional education of personnel, in order to
encourage the necessary identification of each person with the values and ideals
of the institution.
I order that the present Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio, with which I
approve the attached Statue, be published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.
I decree that the provisions herein established have full and lasting value as
of 1 January 2010, anything to the contrary notwithstanding, albeit deserving of
Given in Rome, at the Apostolic Palace, on 7 July of the year 2009, the fifth of
BENEDICTUS PP. XVI
OF THE LABOUR OFFICE OF THE APOSTOLIC SEE
DEFINITIONS, JURISDICTION, AND FUNCTIONS
1. The Labour Office is the Body responsible for the promotion and consolidation
of the labour community of the Apostolic See.
It is governed by the present Statute.
The activity of the Office relates to the labour, in all its forms and
expressions, provided by personnel in the employ of the Roman Curia, of the
Governorate of the Vatican City State, and of the Bodies or Institutions
administratively managed directly by the Apostolic See (hereinafter called
Jurisdiction may be expanded to other Bodies or Institutions only by decree from
the Superior Authority.
The specific qualification of contracted personnel is determined by the Bylaws
and organic tables of the single Administrations.
Non-contract labour relations or labour provided by collaborators are excluded
from this Office’s jurisdiction.
In the event of dispute, certification of the nature of a Body or Institution
administratively managed directly by the Apostolic See is entrusted to the
Secretariat of State.
1. The Office, through its bodies and in collaboration with the Administrations,
participates in the development of the labour community and, in particular:
a) Elaborates and proposes amendments, additions, and cancellations and
formulates opinions on the regulatory actions and Bylaws of the single
b) Promotes uniformity in the application of general and particular Bylaws
and unity of direction in personnel management, also for the purpose of
favouring mobility between different Administrations and roles;
c) Favours improvements, insofar as is compatible, in the economic, welfare,
and social security conditions of personnel;
d) Collects, elaborates, and disseminates information deemed necessary and
useful for the achievement of its institutional objectives;
e) Plans and implements study and labour research programs and stimulates,
through participation in qualified initiatives, cultural enhancement and
continuing education regarding methods, tools, and expertise, as well as the
implementation of plans for personnel training;
f) Promotes conciliation and, failing that, proceeds to arbitrate in
individual, multiple, or collective labour-related disputes between
Administrations and their current or former contracted employees, within the
limits of jurisdiction set out in Art. 2.
1. The Office is constituted of:
— the Presidency
— the Council
— the Director
— the College of Conciliation and Arbitration
Appointment and Duties of the Presidency
1. The Presidency is composed of the President, appointed by the Holy Father,
and two Assessors, appointed by the Cardinal Secretary of State, who are experts
in labour issues and in the organization and management of personnel and who do
not belong to the Administrations set out in Art. 2.
The President and the Assessors are appointed for a five-year period.
2. The Presidency, within its jurisdiction, formulates legislative and
regulatory proposals and furnishes opinions to the Secretariat of State.
3. The President:
a) Represents the Office in every ambit;
b) Convenes and chairs meetings of the Presidency and the Council;
c) Manages and directs, through the Director, the activity of the Office;
d) Promotes, with the assistance of the Director, uniformity in the
application of Bylaws and unity of direction in personnel management within the
e) Submits the proposals of the Office in the field of labour legislation to
the competent Authority;
f) Updates the Council, and promotes its opinion, on the state of the
problems and initiatives adopted by the Presidency;
g) Notifies those concerned of the deliberations of the Office’s collegial
bodies and makes known, if so requested, labour-related decrees of the Superior
Composition, Appointment, and Duties of the Council
1. The Council, chaired by the President of the ULSA, is composed of:
— the two Assessors, as per Art. 5 paragraph 1;
— a representative of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples;
— a representative of the Secretariat for the Economy;
— a representative of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See;
— a representative of the Secretariat for Communications;
— a representative of the Fabric of St. Peter’s;
— a representative of the Governorate of the Vatican City State;
— four personnel members – composed of: a cleric, a religious man or woman, and
two lay persons – after consultation with the personnel.
All members are appointed by the Cardinal Secretary of State.
2. In the event of termination or resignation of one of the Members, even for
unexcused absences from three consecutive meetings or for the loss of the
qualifications which led to the appointment, the same modalities for his/her
substitution shall be followed, for the remaining period of the mandate.
3. The Council remains in office for five years. The appointment procedure must
be initiated three months before cessation of its mandate.
4. The Council is the consultative and preparative body for draft legislation in
the areas provided for by Art. 3.
It may be invested with the functions of dispute conciliation in accordance with
Art. 14 paragraph 2.
Convocation and Deliberations of the Council
1. The Council must be convened at least three times per year and whenever the
Presidency deems necessary or seven members of the Council request it.
2. A convocation notice containing the agenda shall be sent by registered mail
at least ten days before the meeting.
3. The agenda shall be established by the President, who also includes any
topics of discussion proposed by at least four members.
The Council shall deliberate only in the presence of the majority of its members
and through an absolute majority of those present. In the event of a tie vote,
the final decision rests with the President.
Minutes of all meetings are sent to the Cardinal Secretary of State.
1. The Council may entrust the examination of certain issues to special referent
Commissions, in which representatives from the Administrations and personnel, as
well as external experts, may be called upon to participate.
2. Commissions must report within the time period established by the Council,
formulating, be they authorized, proposals upon which the Council shall
3. Commission members are appointed by the President, who shall establish their
Appointment and Duties
1. The Director is appointed by the Holy Father for a five-year term, which may
2. The post of Director may not be filled by a person who holds or has held
managerial duties in one of the Administrations set out in Art. 2.
3. The Director:
a) Assists the President in managing the Office’s personnel and voices an
opinion on the hiring and appointing of the same;
b) Participates with a consultative vote and acts as actuary in meetings of
the Council and the Presidency;
c) Collaborates with the President in planning meetings of the Council and
the Presidency and in preparing decrees, overseeing their drafting;
d) Liaises between the Office and the Administrations;
e) Maintains relations with personnel representatives;
f) Supervises the study and investigation into proposals concerning norms and
formation programs for personnel;
g) Promotes the implementation, according the directives of the Presidency
and in collaboration with the single Administrations, of promotional initiatives
for the formation and mobility of personnel;
h) Oversees the mandatory attempt at conciliation in labour-related disputes
which fall within the jurisdiction of the College or of the Tribunal of the
Vatican City State.
The College of Conciliation and Arbitration
Composition, Appointment, and Duties of the College
1. The College of Conciliation and Arbitration is composed of persons qualified
in law, prudence, and equanimity, appointed by the Cardinal Secretary of State,
from whose members he chooses the President.
2. College Members are appointed for a five-year term, which may be renewed.
3. The duty of settling labour-related disputes belongs to the College of
Conciliation and Arbitration.
It shall examine and rule on single disputes through Commissions, each
constituted by three Members.
4. The President shall set the schedule of hearings and the composition of the
Commissions biannually, designating who shall chair each.
In case of impediment of one of the three Members, the President shall
substitute him or her with another Member of the College.
5. In the absence of a Commission Chair, the presidency falls to the most senior
in order of appointment of the Commission Members present.
Dates of appointment being equal, seniority of Commission Members shall be
determined by age.
Submission of Petition
1. Anyone claiming to be aggrieved by a labour-related administrative measure,
unless the measure was approved specifically by the Supreme Pontiff, may submit
a petition to the Labour Office or may appeal to the Vatican Judicial Authority,
following the mandatory attempt at conciliation before the Director of the ULSA,
which is a condition for admissibility.
2. In the event the Bylaws of the respective Administrations so provide with
specific rules, the person claiming to be aggrieved shall exhaust all degrees of
internal appeal before making use of the means provided for in the present
article, under the penalty of inadmissibility of the petition in question.
3. Disputes, be they individual, multiple, or collective, related to violations
of specific regulations applicable to labour-relations, within the scope of
jurisdiction defined in Art. 2, shall be resolved through the forms of
conciliation mentioned below and, in cases of failed conciliation, through the
examination and decision of the College of Conciliation and Arbitration.
Collective disputes are those associated with the interests of an entire
category of contracted employees.
Multiple disputes are those related to the selfsame legal issue or to selfsame
requests submitted by multiple employees in a single petition or in single
4. Every right derived from the labour relationship is limited to a term of five
years, effective from the day in which it may be claimed.
The submission of the petition to the Director for completion of the mandatory
attempt at conciliation shall interrupt the statute of limitations until the
parties are notified of the report, which concludes the mandatory conciliation
5. Matters under jurisdiction of the Disciplinary Commissions provided for by
the General Bylaws of the Administrations set out in Art. 2 shall be excluded
from both petition and appeal.
Deadlines for Submission of Petition
1. A petition shall be submitted by the petitioner to the Office within thirty
days of the date of notification, or, failing that, from the effective awareness
of the measure against which one intends to appeal. In the event jurisdiction
belongs exclusively to the Vatican Judicial Authority, the petition must be
submitted to the Director for completion of the mandatory attempt at
conciliation within the deadline set out in Art. 11 paragraph 4.
2. In the situation set out in Art. 11 paragraph 2, the deadline shall be
effective from the date of notification of the decision with which the
Administration definitively rejected the internal appeal process.
3. The same thirty-day deadline for petition submission to the Office shall
apply also in cases of implied rejection by the Administration, wherein the
latter takes no decision within ninety days of receipt of the petitioner’s
internal appeal, as per Art. 11 paragraph 2.
Procedure for Submission of Petition
1. A petition, as per Art. 12, must contain:
a) Name and surname of the petitioner, as well as the election of domicile in
Vatican City or in Italy for the purposes of communications addressed to
b) Indication of the respondent Administration and the contested measure or
the reasons which form the basis of the petition;
c) Elements which the petitioner believes are adduced in support of his/her
reasons, with indication of the evidence to be presented;
d) Evidence, in cases of a petition against an implied rejection, of the date
of receipt by the Administration of the internal appeal.
2. The petition shall be submitted either by registered mail with
acknowledgement of receipt, or directly to the Labour Office, and shall be noted
in the relevant register.
Admissibility or Inadmissibility of the Petition
1. The Director shall determine the admissibility of a petition within thirty
days of its receipt, having verified the fulfillment of the conditions set out
in Art. 13.
2. The Director may, with the authorization of the President, defer the
conciliation attempt to the Council.
3. Against a declaration of inadmissibility, an objection may be lodged with the
Director within ten days of notification, following the procedure set out in the
The Director shall accept or reject the objection within thirty days.
4. Appeal to the College of Conciliation and Arbitration against the rejection
of an objection shall be admitted within sixty days, which College shall rule on
the admissibility of the petition and, if affirmative, may entrust the
conciliation attempt to the Director.
The decision by which the College declares a petition inadmissible is final.
Mandatory attempt at conciliation by the Director
1. The Director, a petition having been admitted, convokes the parties for the
attempt at conciliation.
2. Completion of the attempt at conciliation shall constitute a condition of
admissibility for any request submitted in relation to labour-related disputes,
be they individual, multiple, or collective, before the Labour Office or the
Vatican Judicial Authority.
Inadmissibility must be disclosed, even ex officio, no later than during
the first hearing before the College of Conciliation and Arbitration or the
Tribunal of the Vatican City State.
3. The petitioner must appear in person and, only in cases of justified
impediment, may be substituted by a special prosecutor delegated with authority
to enter into conciliation efforts and appointed though a public deed or an
authenticated private deed. The petitioner may be assisted by a person chosen
from contracted employees or retired employees from his/her own or another
Administration, or by an Attorney enrolled in the Register.
4. The respondent Administration, having received a copy of the petition, must
notify the Director of the name of the designee it delegates with authority to
enter into conciliation efforts at least five days before the date scheduled for
the attempt at conciliation and deposit, within the same period, a record
indicating its reasons and the evidence it intends to produce.
5. The mandatory attempt at conciliation must be defined within ninety days from
the date on which the petition is admitted if overseen by the Director and
within one hundred eighty days if deferred to the Council.
The deadline may be prorogated only once for not more than half of its duration
by written agreement between the parties or by justified decision, respectively,
from either the Director or the President.
Exceeded the deadlines set out in the preceding paragraphs, an appeal may be
lodged in accordance with Art. 16 within sixty days, under penalty of
revocation, to the College of Conciliation and Arbitration or the Vatican
6. The Director shall prepare a report on the attempt at conciliation, which, in
case of justified impediment of the petitioner, may be underwritten by his/her
In case of successful conciliation, the aforementioned report shall be
In case of failed conciliation, the Director shall remind the parties in the
report that they may lodge an appeal within sixty days either with the College
in accordance with Art. 16 or with the Judicial Authority.
The Administration is obliged to appear before the Director of the ULSA in order
to complete the attempt at conciliation. Any failure to appear amounts to a
negative result of the attempt at conciliation, and note must be made in the
relative report for the purpose of the subsequent determination of court fees by
the College or the Vatican Judicial Authority.
Appeal to the College of Conciliation and Arbitration
1. The College shall hear the dispute on appeal, which shall be submitted to the
Director within sixty days from the date of the report detailing the failed
attempt at conciliation or from expiration of the deadlines set out in Art. 15
If the parties have not lodged an appeal with the College or the Vatican
Judicial Authority within sixty days from the date of formation of the report
detailing failed conciliation or from the expiration date of the aforementioned
deadlines, the Director – with a decree – shall declare the dispute closed due
to inactivity of the same.
2. The appeal must contain, under penalty of inadmissibility: indication of the
parties and the contested measure; statement of the facts and clarification of
the grounds for appeal; determination of the object; description of the evidence
on which it is founded.
Five copies of the appeal and attached documents must be deposited. The address
in Vatican City or Rome of the petitioner’s Attorney must also be indicated in
the appeal, in accordance with Art. 175 of the Vatican Civil Procedural Code.
The appeal shall be referred immediately to the College by the Director along
with the documents annexed to it and the report detailing the attempt at
3. The appeal shall be submitted either by registered mail with acknowledgement
of receipt, or directly to the Labour Office, and shall be noted in the relevant
Procedure for Appeal before the College
1. Within ten days of receiving the appeal, the President of the College shall
schedule a hearing, indicate the Commission and supervisor, and prepare the
transmission of the appeal and the documents of the Administration.
At least thirty days must elapse between the date of transmission of the appeal
and that of the scheduled hearing.
2. The Administration may submit its conclusions and any preliminary requests up
to ten days before the hearing.
The aforementioned conclusions, along with its annexed documents, shall be
deposited in five copies, one of which belongs to the appealing party. The
latter is entitled to reply in writing, depositing five copies of his/her
counterclaims no later than five days before the hearing.
3. In the event the respondent Administration pleads incompetence of the College
because it is not a Body or Institution administratively managed directly by the
Apostolic See, the President of the College shall suspend the proceedings and
ask the President of the ULSA to formulate a petition of certification to the
Secretariat of State in accordance with Art. 2 paragraph 3, attaching a copy of
all procedural documents.
The parties shall be given immediate notification of the order.
4. Following certification by the Secretariat of State, the President of the
College shall either declare the ULSA incompetent in material or set a new
hearing, providing notice of it to the parties twenty days prior.
Procedural deadlines shall be suspended until the date of the decree, which sets
the new hearing.
1. The petitioner must appear personally at the hearing. The Administration
shall be represented by a designee delegated with authority to enter into
At the hearing, the Commission shall again attempt conciliation. The attempt may
be renewed until publication of the decision. In the event of conciliation, the
Commission shall draft a report, which is enforceable.
2. If the attempt at conciliation fails, the Commission shall begin examination
of the parties. Refusal to undergo examination shall constitute behavior
assessable by the Commission for the formulation of its decision.
The Commission may appoint one of its members to gather evidence.
Parties may submit short explanatory briefs up to seven days prior to the
3. During oral proceedings, the parties may not repeat information already
provided in writing, but shall be limited to providing brief descriptions of the
more important details of the case and to presenting arguments related to the
written claims of the other party.
4. Insofar as the non-judicial nature of the College permits, the provisions of
the Vatican Civil Procedural Code shall be applied to the procedure.
5. Defense of the parties may be undertaken exclusively by an Attorney licensed
to practice in accordance with Art. 1 of the attached APPENDIX.
6. Notification of the acts of the College related to conciliation and
arbitration proceedings shall be sent through the Vatican Postal Service by
registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt.
1. Within one hundred twenty days of the submission date of the appeal, the
Commission shall meet for the decision in chambers, during which it shall
deliberate through a majority of votes.
If the number of pending appeals impedes the aforementioned deadline being met,
the President of the College shall decree a reasonable extension, making it
known to the parties.
2. Decisions must carry the letterhead “Ufficio del Lavoro della Sede Apostolica
– Collegio di conciliazione e arbitrato” (i.e. “Labour Office of the Apostolic
See – College of Conciliation and Arbitration”), followed by: composition of
the Commission (President and Members); evolution of the case; resolution of any
preliminary or incidental issues; legal motivation; decision; date of decision;
signatures of the College’s Members; and, finally, the Office’s seal.
3. In the event of a successful appeal, the Commission shall repeal, in whole or
in part, the contested measure and rule on the merits of the dispute.
4. Commission decisions are final, except in cases of revocation or nullity
lawsuits, which are subject to the provisions set out in Art. 18 paragraph 4.
Decisions shall be enforceable upon notification of the parties.
Computation of Deadlines
1. All deadlines regarding activities of conciliation and arbitration of the
ULSA shall be suspended from 11 August to 20 September each year, as well as
during public holidays and non-public holidays, which per regulation or per
special decree are non-working days.
Procedure for Appointment of the Council
1. Three months prior to the cessation of the Council, the procedure for the
appointment of a new Council must be initiated in accordance with Art. 6 of the
REGISTER OF ATTORNEYS
FOR THE COLLEGE OF CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION
OF THE LABOUR OFFICE
OF THE APOSTOLIC SEE (ULSA)
Dispute defense before the College of Conciliation and Arbitration of the Labour
Office of the Apostolic See may be undertaken, besides by Attorneys of the Roman
Rota who have a degree in civil law, also by persons enrolled in the special
Register established by the present norms.
The Register of Attorneys shall be kept by the College of Conciliation and
Arbitration under supervision of the President of the ULSA.
Graduates in civil law may be enrolled in the Register, providing they have
forensic experience and special expertise in the field of labour and are
outstanding in their legal training and probity of life.
Enrollment in the Register shall be requested by direct application to the
President of the ULSA, accompanied by documents which prove the qualities
described above, along with an express declaration that the applicant resides in
Enrollment in the Register shall be determined by the President of the ULSA,
having evaluated any information and heard the opinion of the President of the
College of Conciliation and Arbitration. Enrollment shall be for a three year
term, which may be renewed triennially until completion of the 75th
year of age.
The President of the ULSA is not required to justify rejection of an
application, and no appeal may be lodged against such a decree.
The practice of defense activities by those enrolled in the Register shall be
subject to the swearing of an oath before the President of the ULSA or a
delegate, according to the attached formula.
Legal advisers and Administration heads of office involved in a dispute may
defend their respective Administrations before the College of Conciliation and
Arbitration of the ULSA.
In the event an enrolled attorney fails to fulfill the aforementioned duties,
the President of the ULSA or his delegate – having performed an investigation
into the case and heard the person concerned and the College of Conciliation and
Arbitration – shall issue a decree, not subject to objection, removing him/her
from the Register.
Attachment to the Appendix
I, …………………………………………, enrolled in the REGISTER of Attorneys at the Labour Office
of the Apostolic See (ULSA)
do promise and swear
to be faithful to the reigning Supreme Pontiff and to his legitimate successors;
to accept and abide by with firm decision the Magisterium of the Church
regarding doctrine and Catholic moral teaching; to fulfill with diligence and
abnegation my professional duties; and to strictly observe the secrecy of
So help me God and these Holy Gospels, which I touch with my hands.
I, the undersigned, certify that the aforementioned Sir, enrolled in the
Register of Attorneys at the Labour Office of the Apostolic See (ULSA), has
today given oath in my hands.
In the headquarters of the ULSA…………………………………………………