(Using this link you can return to the overview article on the new policy for scientific staff)
Below you can find information on the following subjects:
- What is expected of a member of staff in this position?
- Type of contract and duration of the employment
- Percentage of employment
- Salary and seniority
- Supplementary pension
- Only possible reasons to end the employment
What is expected of a member of staff in this position?
This group consists of all other contractual members of scientific staff not belonging to group 1 or group 2. These will be members of staff carrying out scientific activities as their main assignment, or structurally contributing to the execution of a scientific assignment from their specific academic expertise and competences, including tasks of research management or research coordination (of a project or a laboratory). Also the heads of clinic (“kliniekhoofden”) of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine belong to this group.
Apart from these there are also remain some exceptional temporary positions as contractual scientific staff that have been formally assigned to this group. The specific details on these are treated in “Exceptional temporary employment as contractual member of scientific staff”.
(Please note: the information below is fully applicable for contractual members of scientific staff in group 3 with a permanent labour contract without a clause of maximum duration. However, for the aforementioned exceptional temporary positions there are some divergences to these rules! Be sure to read the specific page on these temporary positions first!)
These members of staff may or may not have a doctoral title, depending on the requirements of the specific position.
These members of staff are entitled during their employment to participate to all courses, forms of training and coaching that are being provided by UGent to her employees.
In case of a contractual position as member of scientific staff in group 3 recruitment is in general only possible through a public vacancy, in order to give everyone the possibility to apply for such a position.
The procedure for recruitment through public vacancy is as follows:
- Recruitment through public vacancy is done in maximum three phases, in the following order, until a suitable candidate has been found.
- In each phase the budget holder is responsible for the selection among the candidates who have submitted their application. The budget holder determines the procedure and guarantees objective appreciation and equal treatment of all candidates. The budget holder will give a short written motivation (as part of the recruitment proposal) on the selected candidate to the department of personnel and organization.
- The three phases are as follows:
- The vacancy will first be offered during 7 calendar days to existing members of scientiific staff with a labour contract who are in implacement, and for whom new employment is being sought after short-term, e.g. because funding is no longer available at their current place of employment within UGent.
- If no suitable candidate is found during the implacement phase, then the vacancy will be offered during 7 calendar days to all contractual members of scientific staff at UGent, as part of a so-called “internal round”.
- If no suitable candidate is found during this internal round, then the vacancy will be made public outside of UGent during at least 7 calendar days.
Type of contract and duration of the employment
Contractual scientific staff in group 3 receive a permanent contract. This means that at the start of the contract there is no known end date or duration of the employment.
Percentage of employment
Contractual scientific staff members in group 3 can have a full time or a part time employment.
Salary and seniority
Contractual scientific staff member in group 3 receive a salary following the salary scales WM1 to WM4 or PD1 to PD4 depending on whether they have a doctoral title or not. (Please note: the salary scale PD5 that is mentioned on this page is no longer being granted.)
In general the contractual member of scientific staff in group 3 will be recruited in the starting scale (WM1 or PD1). As an exception a higher salary scale can be granted at the moment of recruitment, on motivated proposal by the budget holder and based on the acquired experience, the past professional career and the proven acquired competences. This previously acquired experience is only taken into account as far as it can be considered as directly relevant and useful for the specific assignment as member of scientific staff.
Within this salary scale granted at recruitment one will receive the salary corresponding with the so-called pecuniary seniority that has also been granted.
This pecuniary seniority granted at the moment of recruitment is calculated on the previous periods of employment. The following forms of employment are eligible for this calculation:
- Periods as (doctor-)assistant, as scholarship holder, as holder of a mandate from FWO, IWT, IWONL, … or as mandate holder from another comparable institution for scientific research recognised by the Flemish Government.
- Periods of employment in another statute at a Flemish university as far as it concerns a position comprising scientiifc activities. Taks of practice-related eduction are also taken into account.
- Periods of formally permitted scientific activities as volunteer at a university within the Flemish Community.
- On condition that the activities involved are demonstrable and are deemed sufficiently relevant at the moment of recruitment by UGent:
- Periods of employment at a university outside Flandres, or at another Belgian or foreign scientific institution as far as it concerns a position comprising scientiifc activities and as far as the university authorities recognise these activities as such.
- Periods of demonstrable scientific activities at a university college of the Flemish Community, on condition that they are deemed relevant.
- Periods of demonstrable other (scientific) activities at a Belgian of foreign company or knowledge institution, on condition that they are deemed relevant.
Please note: the above periods of previous employment are only fully taken into account for the pecuniary seniority when it concerns an employment of at least 50%. When the employment was less than 50%, then only half of this period is taken into account. E.g. two years of 40% employment (deemed relevant) at a R&D department of a company will be taken into account as 1 year of pecuniar seniority at the moment of recruitment by UGent.
However: employment as contractual scientific staff at UGent, before as well as after the start of the new policy, will always be taken into account for their full duration, regardless of employment percentage, to calculate the pecuniary seniority. So in this case no difference is made between employment of more or less than 50%. E.g. two years of 40% employment as contractual scientific staff at UGent will be taken into account as two years of pecuniary seniority.
The pecuniary seniority is expressed in years and full calendar months. The start of pecuniary seniority after recruitment by UGent is always on the first of a calendar month. If employment by UGent does not start at the beginning of a month, than seniority will be counted starting the first of the next month.
Contractual members of scientific staff in group 3 having a positive evaluation (= "good" of "very good") (see further) receive a periodical increase in salary scale. Depending on whether this member of scientific staff has a doctoral title or not this will be in the salary scales PD1 to PD4 (with doctoral title) or the salary scales WM1 to WM4 (without doctoral title). In case of positive evaluations this career path is as follows:
|Salary scale WM (+ equivalent)||When does one receive this salary scale|
|WM1 (= assistant)||starting scale|
|WM2 (= doctor-assistant)||after 6y in WM1 (*)|
|WM3 (= assistant professor first scale)||after 4y in WM2|
|WM4 (= assistant professor second scale)||after 4y in WM3|
(*) pecuniary seniority is preserved when passing from WM1 to WM2 (see further)
|Salary scale PD (+ equivalent)||When does one receive this salary scale|
|PD1 (= doctor-assistant)||starting scale|
|PD2 (= assistant professor first scale)||after 4y in PD1 (*)|
|PD3 (= assistant professor second scale)||after 4y in PD2|
|PD4 (= associate professor first scale)||after 4y in PD3|
When passing from one salary scale to the next the number of years of pecuniary seniority is not preserved except for the passage from WM1 to WM2. Instead one will receive in the new salary scale the immediately higher salary as compared to the last salary this staff member has received in the previous scale. This approach is the same as for an increase in salary scale in the career path of a professor.
E.g. a member of scientific staff receiving a salary in salary scale PD3 and having a pecuniary seniority of 13y (= 38.849,32 euro without index) when passing to salary scalee PD4 will receive te “step” linked to the immediately higher salary amount. In this case this is a salary of 39.145,77 euro (without index), linked to the steps 6 to 8 of salary scale PD4.
The exact step is chosen in such a way that the time needed to grow to the next higher salary based on pecuniary seniority (= the “vertical” evolution in the salary scale) remains the same as in the previous salary scale. In the previous example this means that the employee will receive a salary in step 7 of salary scale PD4. At step 7 two years remain for the next increase in salary (i.c. 41.590,72 euro without index), while in the salary scale PD3 there would also have been a salary increase after two years (i.c. 40.997,89 euro without index, on step 15).
For members of scientific staff in group 3 obtaining a doctoral title in the course of their employment there are specific rules how they pass from a WM career path to a PD career path. In this case the following happens:
- If the member of scientific staff receives a salary in salary scale WM1 at the moment of obtaining the doctoral title, then he or she will receive from that moment on (= starting the first of the calendar month following public defence) a salary in salary scale PD1 while preserving pecuniary seniority. E.g. a member of scientific staff in WM1 on step 6 (= 26.824,80 euro without index) will then go to PD1 on step 6 (= 32.425,95 euro without index). After 4 years in PD1 he or she will go to PD2 (provided having positive evaluations), and so on.
- If the member of scientific staff receives a salary in a different salary scale of WM (= WM2, WM3 or WM4) at the moment of obtaining the doctoral title, then he or she will receive from that moment on (= starting the first of the calendar month following public defence) a salary in the salary scale of PD that in salary amount is the equivalent (e.g. WM3 = PD2; see equivalency in the tables above), while preserving pecuniary seniority as well as the remaining time for an increase to the next salary scale (as financially the new PD-scale is exactly the same as the scale one previously had in WM). So there is absolutely no change to the salary one receives nor to the future carreer path except at the end of the new career path one receives the possibility to pas to salary scale PD4, which is higher than WM4. E.g. a member of scientific staff in WM2 on step 10 (= 35.004,21 euro without index) will pass to PD1 on step 10 (= 35.004,21 euro without index). If this employee at that moment had two years remaining before passing to WM3 (provided positive evaluations) then he or she under the same conditions will pass to PD2 within two years.
Please note: at the moment of conversion to the new staff policy for the existing members of scientific staff at UGent on April 1st 2019 where needed the salary scale will be corrected based on the passed career and according to the career rules of the new scientific staff regulations. E.g. who on April 1st 2019 has already been employed during 10 years as member of contractual scientific staff without doctoral title and still receives a salary in salary scale WM1 will from that moment on receive a salary in salary scale WM3 (= WM1 + 6y = WM2 + 4y = WM3). However it has been guaranteed that nobody will receive a lower salary scale than he or she already has at the moment of conversion, regardless of the result of the application of the rules mentioned above.
During the period of employment as scientific staff member in group 3 with a labour contract supplementary pension rights are being granted following the supplementary pension plan that has been implemented since 2016 for members of administrative and technical staff with a labour contract.
This means that UGent will pay a monthly contribution to a specially designated pension fund. The amount of this additional contribution is calculated as a percentage of the salary paid to the employee. This percentage depends on the specific seniority eligible for the supplementary pension of the staff member involved. This contribution will then be capitalised in the pension fund (and so will generate interest) following the rules of the supplementary pension plan.
At the moment of retirement the total amount of supplementary pension that will have been accumulated this way will be paid to the beneficiary. Depending on the amount and the choice of the beneficiary this supplementary pension can be paid at once, or as a monthly allowance.
Please note: for people who were employed as contractual scientific staff member at UGent on January 1st 2019 (and who did not have a permanent contract through which they would already have been a beneficiary of the old supplementary pension plan) UGent will retroactively pay contributions to the supplementary pension fund for all periods as contractual scientific staff at UGent starting from January 1st 2016.
Only possible reasons to end the employment
A) Functional reasons
A.1. Dismissal after a negative evaluation
Evaluation after recruitment
Additional information: Twelve months after recruitment a first evaluation is organized. This evalution is made by the budget holder and consists of a concise evaluation report and a motivated conclusion as “very good”, “good”, “below expectations” or “insufficient”. Should the staff member disagree on the final conclusion of the evaluation, then he or she can appeal to an appeal committee within a delay of 7 calendar days after having formally received the evaluation report (see below, under "Evaluation during the carreer").
As part of this evaluation procedure there is a compulsory feedback moment between budget holder and scientific staff member half way the evaluation period of 12 months. Should there be any negative remarks on the functioning of the scientific staff member then a written report of the feedback moment is obligatory. Without such a report the functioning of the scientific staff member is deemed to be good.
In case of a final conclusion “insufficient” (= “onvoldoende”) after 12 months (c.q. when confirmed after appeal) the employment will be ended by decision of the Board of Directors (“Bestuurscollege”) after a legal notice period.
Evaluation during the carreer
Besides the aforementioned first evaluation after recruitment for the member of contractual scientific staff in group 3 there is no recurrent evaluation moment. However a feedback conversation needs to be held between staff member and budget holder at least once a year. These conversations are intended as a moment of reflection, individual coaching en career guidance for the scientific staff member involved, aiming to further improve the work and the achievements. A written report of this feedback conversation is made if the scientific staff member or the budget holder request this.
Should a serious problem arise in the functioning of the said member of scientific staff then at that moment a formal feedback conversation is organized (with written report) during which the staff member is made aware of those serious shortcomings. Also at that moment, and in consultation with the department of Personnel, starts a remediation process, spanning a period of 6 months after which a formal evaluation is organized. This evalution is made by the budget holder and consists of a concise evaluation report and a motivated conclusion as “very good”, “good”, “below expectations” or “insufficient”.
In case of a final conclusion “insufficient” (= “onvoldoende”) the remediation process is extended with 9 months after which a new evaluation is organized. If the conclusion of the new evaluation is again “insufficient” (= “onvoldoende”), the employment will be ended by decision of the Board of Directors (“Bestuurscollege”) after a legal notice period.
Please note: periods of abscence for reason of maternity leave, sickness longer than 10 working days or so called thematic leave (= parental leave, leave for medical assistance of a family member, leave for palliative care for another person, or Flemish Care Leave) will suspend the remediation process.
The evaluation report is formally handed over by the budget holder to the staff member within 14 calendar days. Should the staff member disagree on the final conclusion of the evaluation, then he or she can appeal to an appeal committee within a delay of 7 calendar days after having formally received the evaluation report.
The appeal committee consists of a chairperson (a professor), one committee member from each representative trade union (ACOD, ACV, VSOA), and an equal nimber of committee members representing university management among whom there will be at least one member of contractual scientific staff.
The appeal committee will at least hear the staff member and the budget holder, and will also ask advice from the department chair, of from the dean of the faculty should the department chair be the same person as the budget holder. After this the appeal committee will give a motivated advice on the final conclusion of the evaluation within 6 weeks after appeal has been filed. Finally this advice is submitted to the board of directors (“Bestuurscollege”) that will take a motivated decision.
Please note: appeal against the evaluation does not suspend the notice period (which starts after the evaluation by the budget holder), except when this would cause the employment to end before the appeal procedure has been concluded.
A.2. Dismissal following disciplinary action
After serious disciplinary offences dismissal can be imposed as a disciplinary action. The specific regulations for the disciplinary procedures still have to be negotiated with the trade unions. However these regulations will at least provide a prior written notice of the offences one is accused of, a prior hearing, and a possibility for appeal.
B) Other, non-functional reasons
A central implacement commission will decide whether one of the three reasons below does apply and employment should be ended. This central committee consists of both university administrators, the director of the Finance department, and the director of the Personnel department.
Should one of these reasons for dismissal be invoked the scientific staff member is always entitled to a period of implacement (see further). Also a period of legal notice will be given which is calculated on all previous periods of employment at UGent, including periods as scholarship holder. This period of legal notice will always at least cover a period of 3 months.
Please note: contractual members of scientific staff who at the moment of conversion to the new policy on April 1st 2019 have at least 15 years of seniority at UGent will, in case of dismissal for one of the three reasons below, receive an additional compensation consisting of an amount of 35% of the last gross salary that will be paid for an additional period of 36 months.
B.1. Dimissal for financial reasons
This is possible when there are no longer any sufficient financial means available to conduct the scientific activities in a successful and qualitative manner, due to a shut down, a not acquiring or a reducing of external funding that cannot be compensated by other funding in the domain of the project.
The budget holder has to apply for this procedure with the central implacement commission as mentioned above. He or she has to do this at least 3 months before the funding is expected to be no longer available. The central ecommission will judge this application and the real budgettary context. If the commission decides that the application is valid then at that moment starts a period of 6 months of implacement during which the contractual member of scientific staff is entitled to career guidance, as is also available for contractual administrative and technical staff. More importantly during this period he or she is also entiled to receive vacancies for new positions of scientific staff at UGent and to apply for them during one week. Only should no suitable candidate in implacement have been found during that week will the vacancy be published for others to apply.
If after a 3 months in implacement no suitable new function has yet been found then legal notice will be given. This period will cover at least 3 months during which implacement continues until a total of six months of implacement has been reached.
B.2. Change of research line
This is when the budget holder decides to implement a new research line or other scientific (educational or clinical) activities, requiring different scientific expertise than the scientific staff member has or can acquire. The budget holder gives an opportunity to the said staff member to reorient him- or herself. At this end a plan is drafted in joint consultation, including a motivation by the budget holder for the time being provided for this reorientation plan (minimum 6 months and maximum 1 year). When reorientation proves to be impossible the labour contract of the said staff member will be ended after giving a period of implacement and of legal notice as described above under “Dimissal for financial reasons”.
This means that the university would decide for a reorganization, restructuring or a structurally different approach for the scientific services or clinical activities involved, implying that certain positions as member of scientific staff would no longer be necessary. Such a restructuring is only possible after an ad hoc social plan has been drafted and negotiated with the trade unions in the staff negotiations committee (“Personeelsonderhandelingscomité” or “POC”). This social plan will include the obligations of UGent towards the staff members involved.
C) The staff member gives his or her resignation
The staff member who wishes to end his or her employment as member of contractual scientific staff at UGent can do so by giving legal notice following the requirements of the labour contract act. At the end of this notice period the employment ends. Should employee and employer reach an agreement on a shorter notice period, then the staff member may leave after this shorter period.
As giving your resignation (whether or not in mutual agreement with the employer) has important consequences, e.g. for unemployment benefits, we advise you to first contact your trade union before making such a step!
There is implacement for contractual members of scientific staff in group 3 should their employment come to an end because of one of the three so called “non-functional reasons” mentioned above. For these staff members then starts a period of 6 months of implacement during which the contractual member of scientific staff is entitled to career guidance, as is also available for contractual administrative and technical staff. More importantly during this period he or she is also entiled to receive vacancies for new positions of scientific staff at UGent and to apply for them during one week. Only should no suitable candidate in implacement have been found during that week will the vacancy be published for others to apply.
Should you have any other specific questions, you can always contact one of our delegates, or send an e-mail to