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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Conditions of service for academic staff working in higher education

Belgium - German-Speaking Community

9.Teachers and education staff

9.5Conditions of service for academic staff working in higher education

Last update: 27 November 2023

The Decree of 27 June 2005 creating an Autonomous University of Higher Education lays down in detail the conditions that each staff member in higher education must fulfil in order to be designated or definitively appointed.

Planning Policy

The number of posts in the Autonomous University of Applied Sciences (AHS) is determined by the decree of 27 June 2005 creating an autonomous university, which specifies the number of posts allocated to the Faculty of Health and Nursing Sciences on the one hand and the Faculty of Education on the other. In addition, the university will receive additional staff to carry out its research and external evaluation tasks.

Entry to the Profession

In principle, access to the profession of university lecturer is open to all persons who have the necessary qualifications as defined for the relevant office, who have at least 2 years' professional experience in the field of education and who meet the language requirements laid down by decree. In the event of a shortage of teachers, persons who do not possess the required qualification or language certificate may also be recruited".

Professional Status

In Belgium, the teachers of community schools (GUW) have official status. Although this does not in principle apply to teachers employed in the subsidised schools, they too enjoy a comparable status as employees, which gives them equivalent guarantees. In the German-speaking Community, this applies both to the teachers employed in the subsidised public-law schools of the municipalities and to the teachers employed on a contractual basis in the subsidised private-law independent Catholic schools.

The job security of a definitively appointed or contractually employed teacher is relatively high, even if, for example, due to a sharp decline in the number of pupils, lessons or even entire teaching posts have to be cut. The proportion of teachers without a definite appointment (the so-called temporary teachers) is relatively large in almost all schools and the job or lesson cuts always affect them first.


The salary scales have been established by decree for all categories of personnel. The university has no influence on the salary of individual staff members.

The German-speaking Community directly pays the salaries of the staff members of all the education networks on a monthly basis. The salaries are calculated according to the same criteria in all networks.

The salary depends on various factors:

the position held, the statutory situation (temporary/definitive), the position and the size of the post occupied, the family situation and, above all, seniority.

Until the fundamental cash reform in 2009, the salary scales for members of staff holding a recruitment office were determined on the basis of a combination of office, title and form of education. Since 2009, however, only the diploma is decisive for determining the salary scale. A distinction is made between 4 diploma levels:  

    • Licence or Master
    • Graduate or Bachelor
    • Abitur
    • Secondary school leaving certificate or no diploma


The salary tables are divided into 11 to 15 levels, each of which is linked to an annual or biennial salary increase until the maximum salary is reached after 22 to 29 years of service. Staff members who reach the age of 59, are in active service and receive the maximum salary in their pay scale are entitled to an additional salary increase equal to the value of the last salary increase in their pay scale.

Salaries for new entrants to education have been progressively increased by a total of 10% between 2009 and 2014

In determining seniority, account shall be taken of

    • all educational services, whatever the network, in Belgium and abroad;
    • all services in the public sector;
    • a maximum of 3. 6 years of professional experience outside education (only for certain posts in technical and vocational education);
    • Since 1 September 2003, services provided by a non-profit association (NPI) in Belgium whose objective is to carry out tasks or provide services directly related or directly serving the education system in any form are also taken into account. Recognition of these services is not automatic, but must be requested by the staff member and approved by the Minister of Education.

The amount of the salary depends on the classification in the salary scale (Barema) and on the level of the smoothed health index, to the development of which the salaries in the public service are linked; as soon as a certain threshold of the smoothed health index (= the average of four monthly health index levels in a row) is reached or exceeded, the salaries are increased by 2% in the second month following.

Teachers receive a net salary after various deductions have been made from gross salary in the Ministry for the pension fund (7.5%), health and nursing care insurance (3.55%), tax deduction.

For temporarily appointed teachers, 13.07% is deducted in favour of the National Social Security Fund (instead of the total of 11.05% for definitively appointed staff members).

In addition to this salary, all staff members receive holiday pay in May or June and a year-end bonus in December.

Since 2007, the holiday bonus has been equal to a certain percentage of the salary to which the staff member is entitled for the month of March of the current year in the case of full-time employment. This percentage (92%, 85% and 80%) varies according to the level to which the staff member is placed on the basis of his diploma. The holiday allowance is calculated in proportion to the duration and extent of the services rendered during the previous calendar year. A 13.07% deduction for social security and a professional tax deduction are made on the gross holiday allowance before it is paid.

The end-of-year bonus consists of a fixed amount plus a variable supplement of 2.5% of the indexed gross annual salary used to calculate the previous October salary. However, social charges are deducted from this amount before payment: 3.85% for definitively appointed teachers and 13.07% for temporary staff. There is also a professional tax deduction, which reaches between 40 and 47% at the beginning of the teacher's career and between 51 and 54% at the end of the career (depending on the salary).

Working Time and Holidays

Article 5.73 of the decree of 27 June 2005 regulates the weekly working hours of university teachers. The average working week is 38 hours for 60 minutes and may not exceed 50 hours per week. If the lecturer gives lessons full-time, this corresponds to a teaching load of 16 hours in 60 minutes.

Tasks in the field of further education and research are credited accordingly.

Lecturers are obliged to take their holidays outside the students' teaching hours.

The annual leave of university lecturers is established by the Royal Decree of 15 January 1974 as follows:

- Christmas holidays: two weeks as well as on 24, 25 and 26 December, if these days do not fall within the two-week holiday period;

- Easter holidays: two weeks;

summer holidays: from 1 July to 31 August; however, the school authority has the right to call on the staff member during the last 5 working days of August to carry out examinations, make transfer decisions or hold meetings in preparation for the coming school year.

Promotion, Advancement

Within the university, there is the possibility to change to the office of the head of department (selection office) or the office of the director (promotion office) as a result of a selection procedure. These offices are mandates that are advertised and filled every five years.

Retirement and Pensions

Pension regulation remains a national competence. In the civil service, it is based on the Law of 21 July 1844, which was subsequently amended and supplemented several times, and was initially reserved for civil servants in the ministries, but it gradually became applicable to other institutions, including educational staff. The so-called Uniform Law of 14 February 1961 introduced an organic uniform regime for all those who took up their duties after 1 January 1961 and were definitively appointed.

Entitlement to a state pension does not normally arise until the age of 65, but is now also granted to persons aged 60 and over on application, provided they have the required number of years of service. Most teachers make use of this possibility, although they may not reach the maximum pension level. At the latest at the age of 65 each teacher is retired.

An early retirement scheme allows staff members who are at least 58 years old, have 15 years of service in the education sector and can retire in 28 months at the latest, to leave the education sector permanently until retirement at the age of 60. In the meantime, they will receive a vested salary at the expense of the Community of x/55th of the last salary, where x is the number of years of actual service. These years of early retirement are counted as normal years of service for the later pension calculation.

In addition to this full-time withdrawal from active working life, part-time and half-time early retirement is also possible. In addition, a new form of early retirement from the age of 55 has been introduced since 2005: so-called partial retirement. Here, the staff member - with 80 % wage income - has to teach part-time and take on an additional job for a quarter of an hour (administrative or pedagogical services, short replacements for up to five days, remedial teaching, supervision of young teachers = mentoring, ...).

The pension amount, which may never exceed 75% of salary, is calculated on the basis of the average salary over the last five years of service. This average salary is multiplied by a fraction, the numerator of which represents the recognised years of service and the denominator of which is a value laid down by law, which may still vary according to the post concerned, but is generally 55 in the case of education.