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Student assistant

Last updated on 16 December 2023
Students enrolled at Dutch research universities may enter employment with VU Amsterdam as student assistants. As employees, student assistants contribute to academic education and research and may be used to perform non-structural tasks and operational tasks.

If a number of conditions are met, an employment contract can be agreed with the student. A student assistant is a member of the support and administrative personnel (OBP).

Employment contract according to the Collective Labour Agreement

  • Conditions

    A student can be appointed as a student assistant under the following conditions: 

    1. The student is registered at a Dutch research university. Students who have a valid registration at a Dutch research university can be offered the position of student assistant. This does not need to be VU Amsterdam; students from other Dutch research universities are also eligible. However, university of applied sciences )HBO) or secondary vocational students (MBO) cannot be appointed student assistants. 
    2. This is because student assistants contribute to academic education or research. The responsibilities of a student assistant are generally largely focused on supporting academic education and research.  

    3. The student assistant can also be used to perform non-structural tasks and operational tasks. 

    If conditions 1 and 2 or 1 and 3 are satisfied, then an employment contract can be entered into with the student as a student assistant. The student assistant is entered via the Start onboarding new internal employee  self-service option. 

    The Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities applies to the employment contract. However, a number of articles are not included, in accordance with Chapter 10, paragraph 1.

  • Duration of employment contract

    The number of hours and total duration of the employment contract with student assistants may differ. 

    • For an employment contract with a student assistant who contributes to academic education or research (Collective Labour Agreement article 10.1(2)) no limitations apply with regard to the number of subsequent employment contracts or the total duration. 
    • The employment contract with a student assistant who is required to perform non-structural tasks and operational tasks (Collective Labour Agreement article 10.1(3)) may be extended no more than twice with a temporary employment contract, in which the total duration of the subsequent employment contracts may not exceed 36 months. 
      So if the student assistant has received 3 subsequent contracts within 3 years, or if the student assistant has had multiple temporary contracts over the course of 3 years, then no further extensions are possible and the supervisor will have to terminate the student assistant’s employment contract by operation of law at that time.
  • Scope of employment contract

    Calculated over a period of 12 months, the guideline states that the scope of a student assistant’s employment contract may not exceed more than 0.4 FTE on average. This is to protect the student as they should have enough time to complete their own study activities.

    As a result, too many holiday leave hours may be used via the Individual  choices model. In general, a student assistant has a short-term employment contract and/or a low working time factor and therefore have significantly less time as a resource at their disposal. As a result, settlement must take place, because if holiday leave hours are used that one does not accrue, then working conditions are enjoyed to which there is no entitlement. Settlement must then take place at the end of the student assistantship.

  • Salary

    Separate salary scales apply to student assistants depending on the number of credits (according to the European credit transfer system ECTS) that the student has earned on commencing the employment contract. There are three categories of number of credits that correspond with the three salary scales. 

    The salary scales are 101, 102 and 103. These correspond to the number of credits, specifically 60+ ECTS credits for scale 101, 120+ ECTS credits for scale 102 and 180+ ECTS credits or the Master’s phase for scale 103. As shown in the table below:

    Student assistant scaleCategory of number of credits
    Scale 10160+ ECTS credits
    Scale 102120+ ECTS credits
    Scale 103180+ ECTS credits or Master's phase. 

    In the event that the student assistant is offered an extension after the employment contract has ended, then the number of credits may also have increased by that time, meaning that a higher category of ‘number of credits’ is reached. At the time of extension, the student assistant is entitled to the corresponding higher scale. Following consultations with the supervisor, the student assistant is responsible for entering both the extension and the changed salary scale via the Change employment contract self-service option.

    There is one exception, which applies to student assistants whose employment contract continues after 1 September and for whom the number of credits will fall into a higher category as of 1 September. Such students are entitled to the corresponding higher scale as of 1 September. Following consultation with the supervisor, the student assistant is responsible for entering the changed salary scale via the Change employment contract self-service option. 

  • Termination of employment contract

    The employment contract ends on the agreed end date by operation of law.

    The employment contract will also end as of the first day after the month in which the student assistant loses their student status; either as a result of graduation or because they have terminated their registration at a Dutch research university. The student assistant is responsible for reporting to their supervisor that their registration has been terminated. The supervisor will then terminate the employment contract of the student assistant, stating as the reason that the employment contract has ended by operation of law. 

  • Commuting allowance, working-from-home and internet allowances

    The Collective Labour Agreement contains agreements regarding the facilitation of hybrid working. However, only permanent employees receive allowances for working from home and internet, while on-call employees, student assistants, freelancers, PhD grant recipients without an employment contract and trainees receive no compensation. 

    The assumption is that the student assistant is a student who already has a student travel product in the form of a weekly travel pass, which obviates any entitlement to the commuting allowance. After all, they already have access to free public transport. 

    Students with a weekend travel pass, students without a student travel product and students with a weekly travel pass who receive a discount for the summer months (40% for the train and 34% for tram, bus, metro and water bus) are entitled to reimbursement of any essential travel expenses. In such cases, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam reimburses 65% of the actually incurred commuting expenses. Students are responsible for submitting the claims for travel expenses incurred. Claims must include the expense overview of their public transport transactions. This can be retrieved for both the OV chip card and for OV pay (checking in and out with contactless debit card, credit card or mobile). 


    • If the journey (commute) without a transport pass or discount product (100%) costs €10, then the reimbursement is €6.50. 
    • If the journey (commute) using a discount product (-40%) costs €6, then the reimbursement is €3.90. Please note: the cost of purchasing a discount card is not eligible for reimbursement. 

    If the student assistant would like to make use of facilities for working from home (such as IT equipment, desk, desk lamp), then they should discuss this with their supervisor.

  • ABP Pension

    The student assistant will be registered with our pension fund (Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP), which administers the pension scheme that applies to this employee. Pension contributions are accordingly deducted from salary payments.

  • Holidays

    The student assistant accrues holiday leave monthly, in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement. The amount of this accrual depends on the FTE and the chosen use of flexible working hours, as indicated in Appendix G of the Collective Labour Agreement.

  • Illness

    In the case of illness, the student assistant should observe the regulations in place at VU Amsterdam regarding illness, and the regulations contained in the Gatekeeper Improvement Act regarding reporting sick/recovery and monitoring.

  • Intellectual property

    VU Amsterdam is entitled to knowledge and intellectual property rights, except for the copyright on academic publications and books produced. 

    The current VU Amsterdam Knowledge Exploitation Regulations will then apply to the student. 

  • International student-assistants

    International students can also be appointed student assistants at VU Amsterdam. Different rules apply to international students, however. For more information, please visit the Employment of new international staff page. 

Contact VU - HR Service Desk
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