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


9.Teachers and education staff

9.5Conditions of service for academic staff working in higher education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Conditions of Service of Education Personnel in Higher Professional Education

Planning policy

See chapter 9.2.1

Entry to the profession 

Institutions for higher professional education (HBO) are responsible for recruiting their own staff. There are no statutory eligibility requirements for teachers in higher education, but institutions have agreed to strive for every teacher to have at least a basic teaching qualification.


All HBO institutions are privately run. Education personnel are appointed under an employment contract signed by both parties.


Every post in higher professional education has a corresponding salary scale, determined in accordance with the job evaluation system specified in the collective labour agreement. The salary scale attached to a post is based on the nature of the position and duties the staff member is required to perform. Within the salary scale, the salary is determined on the basis of the staff member's experience and the number of preliminary years applicable before the main pay rate applies. 

Following a positive assessment the staff member's salary is increased annually by the standard percentage applicable to the scale in question, until the maximum salary for the job has been reached.

The collective labour agreement also provides for the award of a performance-related allowance or bonus. For instance, in the case of an excellent assessment salary can increase by twice the standard percentage. Staff members who have reached the top of the salary scale can be given a permanent allowance of up to 15% of their salary in recognition of their exceptional competence, suitability and diligence. Staff members may also be awarded a one-off bonus for outstanding performance.

Working time and holidays

Working time

On 1 August 1998 the standard number of hours to be worked per year (standard working year) was fixed at 1,659 for all sectors of education. Staff are appointed to a standard full-time teaching post or a part-time post, expressed as a 'working hours factor'.  In consultation with their employer, employees can opt for a working week of 36, 38 or 40 hours.


There are various leave arrangements for education personnel.

  • Holiday leave:  employees with a 36-hour working week are entitled to 219 hours of holiday leave. Employees with a 38-hour working week are entitled to 323 hours of holiday leave. Employees with a 40-hour working week are entitled to 428 hours of holiday leave.

  • Sick leave: in principle, staff on sick leave continue to receive their full pay for up to 12 months. After this period, they receive 70% of their pay for the hours not worked due to sickness or disability. When a member of staff has been unfit for work for 24 consecutive months, a medical examination is carried out to ascertain whether they are entitled to benefit payments under the Work and Income (Capacity for Work) Act (WIA).

  • Pregnancy and maternity leave: female staff are entitled to sixteen consecutive weeks of pregnancy and maternity leave. The period of leave must begin no later than four weeks before the expected date of birth.

  • Parental leave: an employee is entitled to unpaid parental leave under the Work and Care Act.

  • Other leave entitlement: the competent authority must grant teachers special paid leave in specific cases, including when they get married or upon the death of a close relative. The competent authority may also grant unpaid leave.

  • Sustainable employability/age-related leave Employees on an employment contract for at least 0.4 FTE, who have worked in higher professional education for at least three out of the last five years are entitled to an annual sustainable employability budget. The budget is normally 45 hours for full-time employees, but has been reduced to 40 hours for the years 2015 to 2019. Employees within 10 years of the age of retirement are normally entitled to an extra annual sustainable employability budget of 45 hours. The extra budget for employees in this age group has been increased to 50 hours for the years 2015 to 2019. Employees on an employment contract for at least 0.4 FTE who are within 10 years of the age of retirement and who have worked in higher professional education for at least five consecutive years are entitled to reduce their annual working hours by up to 20% for a period of up to five years. They forfeit part of their salary for the hours not worked and are not entitled to extra sustainable employability hours.

Promotion and advancement

The job structure devised by the parties to the collective agreements for the higher professional education sector comprises benchmark posts for teachers at various levels, thus providing teachers with career advancement prospects.

Dismissal and pensions

The collective labour agreement for higher professional education includes provisions on dismissal. In the case of a reorganisation aimed at significantly reducing the number of jobs, a redundancy programme must be in place that includes measures to prevent involuntary dismissal.

As a rule, everyone in the Netherlands retires at the age at which they become entitled to an old age pension under the General Old Age Pensions Act (AOW). The age of retirement is currently being raised in steps, from 66 years in 2018 to 67 years in 2021. From 2022, the age of retirement will be linked to life expectancy in the Netherlands. Education personnel also receive a supplementary pension from the pension fund for public servants and education personnel, the ABP Pension Fund. Pensions are calculated on the basis of average salary up to the age of entitlement. This applies to old age pension, surviving dependants’ pension and invalidity pension built up since 1 January 2004. Pensions built up before that date are calculated on the basis of final salary. Teachers and other staff start to build up their pension on entering service.