On 15 February 2024 a negotiation result was reached regarding a new cao for employees of all umcs in the Netherlands. This means that the negotiators of the Netherlands Federation of University Medical Centres (NFU) and the unions came to an agreement.

The main points were published on 15 February. On 1 April, the negotiation result turned into a collective agreement. The full text of the collective agreement can be read here.

Below we elaborate on them in more detail: what does it mean for me personally when the cao takes effect? Ultimately, the text as written down in the collective agreement applies.

Cao

No, not yet. The negotiating parties have a collective agreement. This will be followed by the adjustments from the cao agreement in the current cao text. Once the negotiating parties agree on these adjustments to the cao, the final cao text will follow and can be signed. The cao will then be registered with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW).

The cao applies with retroactive effect from 1 January 2024. NB: not all of the agreements reached have a starting date of 1 January 2024. The cao text specifies the date from which an arrangement takes effect. For example, the compensation for commuting expenses starts on 1 October 2024, while the next wage increase is on 1 May 2024.

The term of this collective agreement runs from 1 January 2024 to 31 December 2025. By that time, new cao negotiations will have begun. 

Wage increase

On 1 May 2024 your current wage is being increased by 4%. On 1 July 2025 it will rise again by 3%.  At the end of 2025, you will thus earn 7.12% in collective pay increase more than now (because the 3% is calculated over the recently increased amount). 

Collective negotiation involves negotiating the entire package of employment conditions. Salaries are part of this. Salaries at umcs are considerably higher than elsewhere in the healthcare sector. Moreover, independent research shows that salaries are comparable to those in companies and the government. It is also good to look at what you have left over net; at umc's you pay less pension contribution (30%) than in general hospitals (50%), for example. The collective agreement of NVZ hospitals also has a different duration than the collective agreement for the umc's.

While the world is anything but certain, experts are not expecting any extreme inflation. If that does happen, then a consultation will be arranged with the unions to discuss the developing situation. Their employees’ purchasing power has always been an important point for the umcs, and it will continue to be one. 

Everyone gets an additional 4% from 1 May 2024, but the amount is never higher than 4% of the maximum salary in scale 11. Are you in a higher salary scale? This means that the maximum increase is €246 per month for a full-time position. 

Compensation for changing into work clothing

You are eligible for that if you are a healthcare professional who is required to wear work clothing from the umc which you cannot put on at home. And if you have to change your clothes before your shift starts and after it is ended. It is a compensation for the time and effort spent. Just pulling a white coat over your everyday clothing is not considered changing into work clothing in this regulation.  

The scheme applies to salary scales 1 to 10 in Appendix A, AA or D of the collective agreement.
The allowance is €80 gross per month. This amount applies to people in full-time employment. If you work part-time, this amount is pro rata, depending on the number of hours you work. From scale 11 onwards, preparation time prior to a shift is considered to be discounted in the salary. This limit is the same as the limit for overtime.

The regulation will take effect 3 months after the final collective agreement. There is a collective agreement as of 1 April, effective from 1 July 2024. Employees will receive information about this from their own umc in due course. This will also clarify to whom the compensation for changing clothes applies and how it should be applied for/processed. 

Waiting in a queue for your clothing or having to walk a long distance is annoying. That is why each umc will be examining how this will work in practice. The outcome will be used to see what improvements are possible. 

Compensation for commuting

Arranging the commuting allowance takes a lot of time. Umc's have to take inventory of the travel distance and form of transport (a public transport or kilometre allowance) for all employees. At the same time, umc's enter into discussions with public transport providers, such as the Dutch Railways and bus companies. 
 

We calculated what we could spend on commuting costs within the total budget available for the collective agreement. For now, 18 cents per kilometre has been calculated. We will see if we can increase this in the coming years to the maximum amount that the government allows tax-free (currently 23 cents). But as an umc, we also have a responsibility to contribute to reducing CO2 emissions by, among other things, reducing environmentally unfriendly transport by (petrol or diesel) car. We therefore promote the use of bicycle or public transport and reimburse 100 per cent of public transport. 

For shorter distances, cycling is a good (and healthier) alternative. And if you live very close, you can come and walk.
To encourage cycling, we make buying a bike more attractive. You pay less because we deduct the purchase amount from your gross salary so you pay less tax.
 

Yes. Even if you walk or come by bicycle, you will receive the allowance. 

That is determined per umc based on the situation on site.

Yes. The arrangement for business travel has not changed.  

By far, the majority of employees live within that distance (single journey) from their work and can thus make the most use of the arrangement. If you live further away than 40 km, we advise you to investigate whether it would not be better to use public transport.

Yes. This remains possible even with the new arrangement. It means that your travel expenses will be deducted from your gross salary so you pay less tax.

Each umc makes its own agreements about a parking policy with its employees. This is the only possibility as the situation is different in each one. For example, the number of available parking places differs widely. It is important to have enough parking places for our patients and their visitors as well. Furthermore, some umcs have their own parking garage, while others have to rent one from a commercial party. The local authority policy also differs regionally.  

Transgressive behaviour

Unfortunately, umcs also have to deal with transgressive behaviour: between staff or caused by patients or visitors. A 'zero tolerance policy' applies to cross-border behaviour. Attached to the collective agreement is a protocol indicating the measures each umc is obliged to take. It must be immediately clear to you as an employee where you can turn, should it occur. And you must be convinced that every complaint is dealt with seriously. We want a safe working environment for all our employees.

Generational policy

If you are an older employee and reach the state pension age within a maximum of five years, you can choose to start working 80% while being paid 90% and your pension accrual will continue as if you just kept working 100%. However, you must have worked at an umc for the last eight years to qualify for this and continue working at least 60%. For the purposes of the generation scheme, an 'older employee' means an employee who will reach the state pension age within a maximum of five years.

The generation scheme will be available to employees in all umc's by 1 July 2024 at the latest. Existing individual agreements with employees on participation in already existing local generation schemes will continue to be respected, provided the minimum framework is met.

If the current generation scheme does not meet the minimum framework, the generation scheme will be amended.

Yes, it has been agreed that medical specialists can also make use of the generational policy. Above scale 14, a 80-80-100 arrangement applies. You can choose to work 80%, while retaining 100% pension accrual. The agreement for medical specialists applies throughout the entire duration of the cao. In the meantime a study will be done into the working conditions for medical specialists, as included in Chapter 15 of the cao. Part of this is the generational policy for medical specialists in all phases of life.

Leave balance pot

You get the option of saving leave for when you need extra leave during your career. That way, as an individual, you have more freedom of choice in ensuring a better work-life balance. You can accrue extra leave up to 100 times the number of hours you work per week. You can use the holiday hours you have left at the end of the year, but also your end-of-year bonus, your holiday pay, your overtime or your extra hours at the end of the year. Also the leave you had already accrued before 1 January 2024. Balance leave does not expire, you can only take it in time. If you want to take balance leave, you must inform your manager in good time. 

The agreement applies retroactively from 1 January 2024. The exact details of the retroactive effect are currently being worked out for each umc. For questions about this, it is best to contact your own HR administration department.

Off-site availability shifts

There are standby shifts (you can be called in if required), on-call shifts (you are already on hand in the umc for such situations), and now there are off-site availability shifts. For these, you must be accessible and quickly available to work in case of a calamity. Off-site availability shifts are meant for colleagues who do not have a healthcare job (for example, IT department staff). 

Arrangements medical specialists

Many arrangements (incorporated in Chapter 15 of the cao) originated in the era that the standard pension age was 65 years. That is no longer the case. The statutory pension age is, per 1 January 2024, 67 years. People have to keep working for longer. Given that background, it makes sense to revise the arrangements. In practice, this means, for example, that a medical specialist will have to work shifts for several years longer. This will lighten the shift load for younger colleagues a bit, which will have a positive effect on their work/life balance.  

For example, if you are aged 58 or 59 years, then you could have expected to stop working shifts in the near future, while retaining the financial benefits. That is now going to change. This will only take effect from 1 January 2026. Eventually, the age will go up from 60 to 62, but we will do so in phases. At the same time, during the term of this cao, we will look at the whole of Chapter 15 regulations.