In the new CLA for Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) , function-based contracts are only possible for employees from pay scale 11 and up, and pay scales 14 and up for the CLA of research institutions (CAO-OI). This excludes PhD candidates.

What are function-based contracts?

A function-based contract entails a yearly agreement between employer and employee about the specific deliverables that are expected. They make you account for your performance rather than your presence. This provides the employee with the freedom to plan their own working hours and leave without approval of the employer. For this reason, time-based requirements such as overtime and reduction of working hours are not applicable to function-based contracts.
Furthermore, you are expected to have used up all of your holiday entitlement by the end of the calendar year. This enables you to organize your work to suit your personal circumstances. For example, it is easier to combine work with family responsibilities. Naturally, they do include presence agreements in relation to collaboration, work consultations and team performance. A function-based contract can only be agreed upon on a voluntary basis and with mutual consent of the employer and employee.

What are the pros and cons of a function-based contract?

With his form of contract, it is clear for both employer and employee what deliverables are expected within a year. On the website of UNL these pros are stated as enabling you to organize your own time, making it easier to balance your work life and private life, the absence of leave registration, and the possibility for making individual agreements about taking up sabbatical leave .
Some important cons on the other hand are:

  • Most employees fail to take the legal minimum of leave hours, so it is difficult to manage your own leave.
  • There is no accrual of unused leave hours.
  • At the end of a temporary contract, leftover leave hours are not paid out.

Many new employees are unaware that they can reject a function-based contract (it is on a voluntary basis and with mutual consent),
and their employer cannot force them to work in a function-based contract. Also, the loss of unused leave hours and the absence of registration thereof also encounters major legal objections.

How do you know that you are working on a function-based contract?

Entering a function-based contract must be laid down in writing. This must show that both parties want to work according to a function-based contract. After all, there must be mutual consent of both parties. Subsequently, according to the function-based contract, annual work agreements must be made in an annual interview/evaluation. If a function-based contract was entered into at the start of employment, the employment contracts must contain a clear reference to the function-based contract and must refer to the CLA (CAO-NU) articles and appendix about the function-based contract and the conditions that apply.

How can you get rid of a function-based contract?

Submit a written request to your employer. Invoke the new CLA, under which a function-based contract is no longer possible for PhD candidates, but also invoke the retention of your rights for paid leave and, in particular, leave days that have not yet been taken.

If you are a member of a labour union, you can receive free legal advice about the steps to be taken. If you are not yet a member, come and meet the AOb, for example on September 4th (alternative opening of the academic year) on the Campusplein the VU in Amsterdam between 11:00 and 12:00, where the AOb togehter with FNV, the Young Academy and APNet will be present.

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