Science - October 13, 2005

PhD researchers will get sick pay

PhD researchers (AIOs) who become pregnant or chronically sick during their research period will probably receive full compensation for the delay they incur. At present PhD researchers are at the mercy of the arrangements made by the individual chair group, and these differ considerably.

Arrangements have now been included in the collective bargaining agreement that was drawn up this summer. PhD researchers that started after 15 August 2005 at Wageningen University will receive full compensation for the time they are unable to work on their research. But for most of the nearly four hundred AIOs at Wageningen there is not yet a regulation. André Jellema of the Wageningen PhD Council (WPC): ‘At present compensation for pregnancy and sick leave is arranged by the individual chair groups. The arrangements vary from nothing at all to total compensation for time lost.’

When time is lost, the employment contract that the AIO has from the university has to be extended. Jellema: ‘The university is compensated for the absence of the AIO, but this is based on the salary. As the salary of researchers rises during the research period, the university will have to fork out more money if the period is to be compensated for in full.’

The Human Resources Department is currently working on arrangements to guarantee the extension for current AIOs. The arrangement has to be approved by the executive board, but the latter has indicated that it is in favour of such an arrangement. The situation should be clear by November. / JH