Universiteit Leiden

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Compensation for researchers affected by corona

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many researchers and PhD candidates with a fixed-term contract have fallen behind in their research. The faculties and research institutes have received funds to compensate for this.

The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO) for 2020 stipulates that the parties will set aside 0.45% of the wage bill to solve problems arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. In the case of Leiden, this means that 1.1m euros have been made available to extend the fixed-term contracts of PhD candidates and postdocs who have encountered problems because of the crisis. This only applies to extreme cases and does not apply to external PhD candidates and PhD candidates with a scholarship.

Terms and conditions

With the global lockdowns, PhD candidates and postdocs at Leiden have faced delays and other problems in their research. The Executive Board therefore asked a broad working group (faculties, HRM, finance, administrative support) to determine which terms and conditions would apply to extending fixed-term contracts.

Insurmountable problems
Researchers who have faced unsurmountable problems because of COVID-19 and thus fallen so far behind in their research that it would be impossible to catch up have now received compensation. This consists of an extension to their existing contract or a new contract for a maximum of three months. 

More than 100 applications

The faculties nominated over 100 researchers for compensation. PhD candidates comprised by far the largest group. The faculties also highlighted cases of researchers who would not be eligible for the compensation. Foreign colleagues, for example, who were stuck in Leiden after completing their research and researchers who had a permanent contract but encountered delays in externally funded projects. The faculties have been asked to seek other solutions and to continue to monitor and support these researchers. The funds awarded were transferred to the faculties in September.

Large differences

There are large differences between the faculties. Some research could be continued online whereas other research could not. There were relatively many applications from institutes that conduct a lot of field or lab work, mainly because this is dependent on equipment, labs and respondents.

The University is looking into how to respond to future cases.

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