It is the rule rather than the exception that finishing your dissertation takes longer than the duration of your contract. Employee-PhD’s with a full appointment mostly have four-year employment contracts with the university. However, many PhD students need more time: most research points to an average duration of five years. The fact that this is common practice could be an incentive for your employer to offer you a contract extension.
Who is involved in your application for contract renewal? It is not just your supervisor who decides on the extension of your contract. Such an application involves many different parties. First, the application for renewal will be dealt with by your immediate superior. It helps if you already discussed and prepared your application for renewal with the significant actors from your department, such as your direct supervisors and university project managers. They may be consulted in the process of assessing your application.After this, your application will be provided with advice by the P&O-advisor at faculty level. Subsequently, the application is provided with financial advice by the controller or financial employee of the faculty. Finally, the application, together with all of the advice, is assessed by the faculty’s Operations Director (directeur bedrijfsvoering).
If your contract expires and is not renewed, your formal employment with the university ends. If this happens and your thesis is not yet finished, this could put you into a difficult position. But once your contract has expired, you can unfortunately no longer claim a great deal of the rights you had as an employee.