The Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres (NFU) met with the unions today on behalf of the umcs and presented a proposal for improving the cao for umc employees in 2024.

Below we outline the most important points one by one. These points have been elaborated in a complete proposal. We would like to discuss it with the unions in more detail.

This is the puzzle that must be solved: how do we fulfil the wishes expressed by our employees given the umcs’ limited financial scope and this year’s wage increase of 10%?

What is this proposal based on?

  • The starting point is the priorities that our employees expressed during dialogue sessions, with the most important topics being commuting expenses, measures to remain vital and wages.
  • The development of purchasing power in 2023 and 2024 was closely examined, to ascertain what our employees need to be able to keep covering their expenses.
  • We want the wage development in the umcs to be competitive with government and business salaries. We consider it important to take into account the wages paid in the rest of the healthcare sector and in the universities.
  • The umcs are obliged to contribute to combatting climate change (by reducing their CO2 emissions); our employees’ commuting habits form a large part of that.
  • The total amount that can be spent on working conditions depends on the sum that the government provides in 2023 and 2024, as its contribution to labour cost development (Overheidsbijdrage in de Arbeidskostenontwikkeling, OVA).

What does our proposal mean for our employees, in general terms?

  • At all umcs a commuting scheme will be arranged that is adjusted to the local situation. The scheme will be elaborated in 2024. A bicycling component will definitely form part of all of them. The basis is 100% reimbursement of the travel expenses involving public transport. Employees who work evening, night and weekend shifts and want to use their own car will receive a compensation of € 0.16 per km, to a maximum of 35 km one way.
  • For those who can work from home, the work from home allowance will be adjusted to the maximum amount of what we can pay that remains under the tax-free limit so you will not have to pay tax on it. (In 2023 that was € 2.15.)
  • Because the commuting expenses compensation won’t be introduced until 2025, our employees will receive a one-off payment of € 500 for a full-time position in 2024.
  • All salaries will be increased by 2% from 1 July 2024, to a maximum of €123.18 gross per month.
  • There will be a new scheme under which you can save up leave until the time that you need it throughout your career. You can fill this ‘leave balance pot’ (meant to create a better balance between work and private life) with overtime, with non-statutory vacation days that have not been taken or by buying hours of leave.
  • Because older employees have not been able to build up sufficient leave balance, a generational policy will be established for them in each umc, which will allow them to work less as they approach the statutory retirement age. The main principle: working 80% while retaining 90% of wages and 100% pension accrual. (Another policy is being created for medical specialists.)
  • The number of non-statutory vacation hours will rise from 24 to 32 (for a full-time position).
  • During maternity and parental leave, the Netherlands Employees Insurance Agency (UWV) benefit of 70% will be supplemented up to 100% of the salary (to the legal maximum daily wage), so employees will not have to turn down the leave for financial reasons.
  • The temporary labour contracts of trainee researchers and scientists with a temporary position can be extended by including maternity leave and some parental leave.
  • The bonus for on-call and standby shifts will be doubled.
  • When scheduling shifts and rosters, the umc’s employees will take precedence over external hired workers.
  • With reference to Chapter 15 (stipulations for medical specialists), a number of proposals have been made, taking into account the changing wishes of this profession.

We agreed to continue our discussion on December 7.