Legal status of university employees to change as of 1 January 2020

UM is an employer within the government sector, which means all UM employees are technically civil servants. A different legal system applies to civil servants than to employees in other sectors.

This distinction between the legal systems of government institutions and the business sector will change next year. On 1 January 2020, the Act on the Standardisation of the Legal Status of Civil Servants (WNRA) will come into effect, applying to all employees in the government sector. This means administrative civil service law will be replaced by private employment law at all universities, including UM. University employees will have the same legal status as the more than six million employees in the Dutch business sector.

What is changing?

Because VU Amsterdam, Radboud University and Tilburg University have long been private legal entities, the text of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities (CAO-NU) was adapted to the private law system years ago. This means the WNRA will be of little consequence in your everyday work.

The most important elements of the new law are as follows.

  1. On 1 January 2020, the ‘appointments’ currently held by UM employees will be automatically converted into ‘employment contracts’.
  2. As of that date, new employees will receive an employment contract from their new employer, instead of the current (unilateral) appointment.
  3. Agreements you have already entered into with UM about the terms and conditions of your employment, such as your salary, year-end bonus, holiday hours, pension and other CAO schemes, will not change.
  4. The content of the UM regulations on employment conditions will not change either.
  5. At present, many dismissal cases are settled in mutual consultation by means of a settlement agreement. This option will continue to exist. The legal procedure regarding termination of employment will change, however: in most cases the employer will only be able to proceed with unilateral dismissal after mediation by the Institute for Employee Benefit Schemes (UWV) or through the civil courts.
  6. The objection and appeal procedures set out in the General Administrative Law Act (Awb) will lapse. In the event of a dispute, employees will be able to institute proceedings through the civil courts instead.

The consultations on employment conditions between the employers’ organisation VSNU and the employees’ organisations will continue to take place. The new CAO-NU that will come into effect from 31 December 2019 will include the amendments required by the WNRA.

You can find a number of FAQs about this topic on the intranet. If you have any remaining questions, please contact /

Also read