It's a wrap! After multiple negotiations rounds, the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (UNL) and the trade unions FNV, FBZ, AOb, and CNV Overheid have reached a provisional agreement on the development of employment terms and conditions for Dutch Universities.

The parties will determine, after a vote by the members of the trade unions, by July 26th 2023 the latest, whether this negotiation settlement will be converted into a definitive agreement, and will apply from April 1st 2023 until June 30th 2024.

Please find an overview of the current agreements that can apply to you.

Agreements relevant for employed PhD candidates at Dutch universities

  • Salary increase: Per August 1st 2023, the salaries of university employees will receive a general increase of 9%. This salary increase will be paid no later than September 2023.
  • One-off allowance: Employed PhD candidates will receive a one-off lump sum payment of €800 in the month of September.
  • End-of-year allowance: As of the calendar year 2023, the end-of-year allowance (as referred to in Article 3.4 of the CAO-NU) will be paid out in November.
  • Restriction of function-based contracts: Parties have decided as of January 1st 2024, to restrict participation in function-based contracts to employees in scale 11 or higher. This is specifically important for PhD candidates, as function-based contracts restrict you in building-up holiday hours, and deny you the ability to get remaining holidays paid out by the end of your contract. If you currently have a function-based contract, we recommend you to contact your HR department.
  • Continued payment in the event of illness: In the first year of illness the employee will continue to receive 100% of their salary, in the second year of illness, this will be 70%.
  • Reimbursement of union contributionThe trade unions (FNV, FBZ, AOb, and CNV overheid) will organize a Trade union month at the start of the academic year. Employees who become members in this month will be reimbursed for one-half of their first annual contribution, up to a maximum of €100 per employee.
  • Permanent contracts: Currently, 15% of the academic staff with teaching duties (full professors, associate professors, assistant professors and other lecturer categories) have a temporary employment contract. The parties have agreed that the sector will reduce this figure to 13.5% within a period of no more than three years.
Agreements on diversity and inclusion
  • Personal and/or religious holidays: In order to accommodate personal and/or religious beliefs, parties agreed (effective from 2024) to offer the possibility of paid leave on a holiday that is significant to them by allowing employees to exchange this day of leave on Good Friday for another holiday or anniversary.
  • Gender transition leave: Universities will take an initial step toward introducing (partially paid) gender transition leave, until a national law is drafted.
  • Inclusive CAO-NU: Parties have agreed to conduct a joint study aimed at simplifying the CAO-NU text (without making any substantive meaning) to make it as gender-neutral as possible.
  • Recognition & Rewards (R&R): Due to a stronger focus on work pressure and development space for R&R, parties will (from January 2024) expand the number of development days for training, development and long-term employability to 3 days, with all 3 days to be explicitly linked to development within the context of R&R and/or long-term employability.
Other agreements

Editorial changes will be made to article 2.5 lid (birth leave as a reason for extension). This will potentially allow PhD candidates to extend their contract with the time of birth leave they have taken within the contract. Please note, this editorial change is still in progress and is therefore not a given yet.

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