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Human resources

Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities: negotiation settlement reached

29 June 2021

The Association of Universities  in the Netherlands (VSNU) announced today that a negotiation settlement on the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO NU) for 2021 has been reached. The CAO runs from 1 January 2021 to 31 March 2022. Agreements have been made on matters such as salaries, hybrid working and permanent contracts (sooner) for assistant professors, associate professors, full professors, staff on a Vidi or Vici grant and non-academic staff. 

Structural pay increase, one-off payment and increased minimum wage

The negotiators from the VSNU and the employee organisations reached a negotiation settlement on Friday 25 June 2021 about the new CAO NU for 2021. The parties have taken a further step towards more permanent contracts for university employees, while also creating opportunities for hybrid working post-pandemic. In addition, there will be a structural pay increase of 1.64%  as of 1 July 2021, with a further 0.36% increase as of 1 January 2022. Staff will also receive a one-off payment of €650 and the minimum wage for the university sector will be raised to €14 an hour as of 1 July 2021. 

More permanent jobs

In the negotiation settlement for the new CAO NU the parties have agreed that assistant professors, associate professors and full professors will – in principle – receive a permanent contract after one year. If this is their first appointment at a university, however, this will be 18 months. Temporary academic staff who have received a Vidi grant will also receive a permanent contract. Support and management staff will receive a permanent contract after a year’s employment. Marcel Nollen, Vice President of VU Amsterdam and chief negotiator on behalf of VSNU: ‘Universities are taking a significant step towards creating more jobs with permanent contracts for both academic staff and support and management staff.’ 

Allowance for working from home

The parties to CAO NU 2021 expect that once the coronavirus measures are eased, people will still want to work from home. The universities would like to accommodate this development. As a result, the employees have agreed that employees in the Netherlands can adopt hybrid working, if their position and teamwork allow this. Managers, supervisors and employees will reach agreements on the possibilities for adopting hybrid working. Universities will therefore offer staff an internet allowance of €25 per month and an allowance for working from home of €2 per day.

The new CAO NU runs from 1 January 2021 to 31 March 2022, and applies to over 55,000 employees in the university sector. The parties to the CAO NU will present the negotiation settlement to their members and will try to reach a final agreement by 1 August at the latest. The agreements will then be incorporated into a new CAO text. 

The press release and negotiation settlement can be found on the VSNU website.     

Normal academic standard

The VSNU, WOinActie and the student and employee unions will continue to aim for a normal academic standard, where the students of today receive the education they need to meet the challenges of tomorrow. We call  on the Dutch House of Representatives to scrap the €149m euro efficiency deduction from the Spring Memorandum, and are asking the new government to make €1.1b of structural investments in the university sector. These are needed to reduce the workload and to bring the academic research and teaching back up to a normal academic standard.

Action plan for the new agreements 

We can imagine you have questions about this information. We have therefore asked HRM to look at the impact of these agreements on Leiden University and to work with the faculties on an action plan for their implementation. 

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