PhD Council



Chapter four of the NWO-I Collective Labour Agreement (CAO in Dutch) defines the rules around employment and holidays, and chapter five details vacation and leave. To take days off, in practice it is sufficient to discuss this with your supervisor and record the relevant days as holiday leave in the Nikhef hour registration when you are asked to fill this in.

It may be some time before you realise this for yourself, but your sanity is a valuable good, making it highly advisable to take all the holiday hours you have! Per calendar year, you receive 338 hours of paid vacation leave, 160 of which are statutory and 178 non-statutory. This amount scales with your employment history: if you have only been employed for half a year, for example, you are entitled to 169 holiday hours. The non-statutory hours last five years after the end of their originating calendar year, but the statutory ones expire six months after the end of the year, so make sure you use them before then! Employers may waive this expiration term: ask your supervisor what applies to your situation.

AVOM (sell holiday hours)

If you are unable to use all of your holiday hours, Arbeidsvoorwaarden op Maat (AVOM, Tailor-made Terms of Employment) is a scheme that provides the possibility to use your hours or gross salary for the five objects outlined below

  • Purchasing extra holiday hours. You may buy up to 80 holiday hours per year, scaling with the length of your employment in the current year.
  • Payment for holiday hours. Up to a maximum of 120 holiday hours per year may be sold, again scaling with your time of employment in the current year.
  • Commuter allowance and bicycle. Employees may be eligible for (additional) commuter allowance through this object. They may also receive an allowance of €450 for a bicycle.
  • Study cost reduction and reimbursement. If you choose to take on a course of study, it may not always be fully reimbursed. In these cases, you may use some of your holiday hours to receive full compensation.
  • Union contribution and membership. If you are or want to be a member of a trade union, you may pay your membership contribution with your gross salary, saving you on taxes. This option does not use holiday hours.

More in-depth information can be found on the NWO-I AVOM page. Request one or more of these objects on your personal NWO-I People account.


NWO-I provides several subsidies to its employees. These are listed below.

  • Collective travel insurance for everyone travelling at the expense of and commissioned by NWO-I.
  • Reimbursements for costs incurred by visiting congresses, symposia, schools, etc. for research purposes. This goes for journeys within the Netherlands as well as those that go outside of it. This money comes out of your team leader’s budget and as such, trips need to be approved first.
  • Reimbursement for work travel within the Netherlands. If you take a trip to a congress, to teach at a university or to go anywhere else for work, the travel costs will be paid back.
  • Reimbursement for relocation and travel. If you move closer to your place of work, you may be eligible for a refund on your travel, transport and rehousing costs. For people already living in the Netherlands, this subsidy only applies if you used to live more than 30 km away from your workplace and your new accommodation is less than 30 km from your workplace. Special regulations apply for students moving into the Netherlands.
  • Reimbursement for thesis costs. If all goes well, PhD students produce a thesis at the end of their programme. A portion of the printing costs is refunded in the case that your doctoral degree is obtained within one year of the end of your programme.
  • 30% ruling:

For more information, visit the NWO-I subsidies page.


All inhabitants of the Netherlands are obligated to have some form of basic health insurance. As an employee of NWO-I, you can opt into its collective contract with health insurance company OHRA. Depending on your situation, however, it may be more appropriate to get a different health insurance package.

Working part-time

Although it is unusual for PhD students to work part time, it is not impossible. Discuss the situation with the P&O (HR) department to determine the best course of action.