Point 07 and Point 08: strengthening the relationship between teaching and research and reining in temporary employment contracts

Recently, extensive effort has been devoted to reinforcing the UvA’s HR policy, for example by establishing an HR agenda for the years to come and by processing the effects of this agenda into an action plan. The guiding principles in this regard include strengthening the bonds between research and teachinch and creating a better balance in the way research and teaching are appreciated. Restricting the number of temporary positions is also high on the agenda.

The five priorities in the HR agenda, which was established at the end of 2015 in close consultation with the deans and the representative advisory bodies, are as follows:

  • an appropriate balance between employees on permanent and temporary contracts
  • strategic staff planning: further development of academic career development policy
  • improvement of the annual consultations 
  • continued leadership development

Implementation of the HR agenda

In the second half of 2016, major steps were taken to implement the HR agenda into policy documents. The running themes in this process are talent development, mobility and sustainable deployability of staff. The policy documents substantiate the need for modernisation of the UvA’s HR policy. Three (of the five) policy documents are ready to be presented to the representative advisory bodies: leadership development for academic staff, improvement of annual consultations and strategic staff planning. The other two policy documents – career development policy and the balance between permanent and temporary staff – are still under discussion. We expect these will also be ready for presentation to the representative advisory bodies before the summer.

Collaboration during formulation of the documents

The policy documents have been formulated in collaboration with the faculties and units based on countless discussions with supervisors and employees and consultations with a wide range of experts both within and outside the UvA. The University Local Consultative Committee and the Central Works Council participated in this process and asked questions during informal meetings. Plenary sessions with the Central Works Council were organised in October 2016 and January 2017, and every policy document was separately examined together with the Central Works Council. 

Achieving an appropriate balance between employees on permanent and temporary contracts

The implementation of policy in order to achieve an appropriate balance between employees on permanent and temporary contracts is based on three principles: consistent employment practices, observation of the letter and spirit of the collective labour agreement, and offering career prospects. The policy advice from the confidential adviser on individual legal status (VIR) and the advice of the Personnel Committee have also been implemented into the policy.

Other discussion points with the Central Works Council and the University Local Consultative Committee included whether or not to agree an extra maximum percentage for temporary positions and establishment of career prospects for temporary staff. 

The UvA strives to offer its temporary employees optimal career prospects (e.g. via training facilities) and has already committed itself to observing the maximum percentage of temporary positions (22%) as stipulated in the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities. 

Advice from the confidential adviser on individual legal status

Between 9 June and 10 October 2015, employees of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) who were of the opinion that their appointment was not in keeping with the letter and spirit of the Collective Labour Agreement of the Dutch Universities (CAO NU) and the Dutch Work and Security Act (Wet werk en zekerheid) were given the option to ask the confidential adviser on individual legal status for a binding recommendation. The confidential adviser received 34 requests for advice. In response, binding recommendations were issued in 17 cases. The Executive Board made decisions in compliance with the recommendations.

University Committee on Education working group

The establishment of the University Committee on Education provided points of reference for translating research-intensive education into learning outcomes and assessment frameworks for degree programmes. 

Published by  University of Amsterdam

14 March 2017