Postdoctoral fellowships

A single completed and signed copy of the employment contract, which is sent to you before mid-July.

Employment certificates from your former employer(s) so as to be able to determine your seniority.

If you are of foreign nationality: a copy of your identity card and residence permit.

If you are married: extract from the marriage certificate and mention of the professional activity of your spouse.

If you are legally cohabiting: a ´proof of receipt of the legal cohabitation declaration´, issued by the civil register in the municipality of residence, and mention of the professional activity of your partner.

If you have a dependent spouse or legal cohabiting partner: a certificate from your health insurance fund proving that he/she is registered with you.

The fellowship will be suspended in cases of civil service, prolonged sickness leave, pregnancy and breastfeeding leave, parental leave, and palliative leave. In these cases the fellowship will be extended by the period during which no payments were received.

Extensions of less than two weeks will not be taken into consideration.

Time credit and voluntary part-time employment do not give cause for an extension of the fellowship.

Postdoctoral Fellows

For an application for a subsequent fellowship to be submitted competitively to the FWO and to allow the fellowship to be continued without interruption, a first fellowship will be extended until the end of the academic year, if during the first fellowship full-time suspensions of consecutive periods of 3 months occurred, during which the fellowship was not paid because of prolonged sickness leave, pregnancy and breastfeeding leave, military and/or civilian service, parental leave, palliative leave and leave for medical assistance. 

Such an administrative extension will be granted only once.

Any suspensions during such automatic extension of the fellowship will not give rise to any further extension of the fellowship.

There will be no administrative extension for a first renewal.

[Pegasus]2 – incoming and outgoing

For an application for a subsequent fellowship to be submitted competitively to the FWO and to allow the fellowship to be continued without interruption, a first fellowship will be extended until the end of the academic year, if during the first fellowship full-time suspensions of consecutive periods of 3 months occurred, during which the fellowship was not paid because of prolonged sickness leave, pregnancy and breastfeeding leave, military and/or civilian service, parental leave, and palliative leave.

Such an administrative extension will be granted only once.

Any suspensions during such automatic extension of the fellowship will not give rise to any further extension of the fellowship.

The fellowship cannot be suspended or held over for any other reason.

Postdoctoral Fellows Pegasus Long and Short are not entitled to an administrative extension.

Any change in the private and work-related data - such as address, telephone and account numbers - must be communicated in writing.

The following should be submitted to the FWO, in the event of:

marriage: extract from the marriage certificate and mention of the professional activity of your spouse;

legal cohabitation: a ´proof of receipt of the legal cohabitation declaration´, issued by the civil register office of the city/municipality, and mention of the professional activity of your partner;

dissolution of the marriage or legal cohabitation: an official document of dissolution;

birth of children: birth certificate.

Remark: the official last name and first name are always entered into the database. They are used for drawing up official documents.

You may renounce your fellowship at any time.

You must inform the FWO and the academic authorities (at least one month before your resignation) about this in writing.

In the event of resignation, you should provide the FWO with an overview of the vacation days you have taken during the current year so that the FWO can pay out your holiday allowance. The number of vacation days you have taken should be confirmed with a signature of your head of department or supervisor.

Postdoctoral Fellow

The salary scale for a Postdoctoral Fellow is the salary scale of a PhD Assistant under the Decree of the Flemish Government of 14 May 2001. (Belgian Official Gazette 09/01/2002).

Year-end bonus

The year-end bonus is based on the salary of the current year and on the work done during the first 9 months of that same year. The year-end bonus is paid out mid-December.

Holiday allowance

The holiday allowance is based on your salary for the month of May of the current year and the work done during the preceding year and is paid together with your salary for the month of May.

Reporting absence

Any absence due to illness, accident, work accident, accident on the way to or from work, occupational illness or childbirth, must be reported to the personnel department by phone or e-mail before 10 a.m.

Substantiating absence

In addition to reporting your absence, each absence due to inability to work, even for a single day, must be substantiated by means of a work disability certificate issued by the treating physician. This certificate must be sent to the FWO within 48 hours. This also applies for extensions.

Absence for more than 30 days

If the absence lasts for more than 30 calendar days, you must notify the health insurance fund at the latest by the 28th day of the absence by sending them a ´confidential´ letter that can only be obtained from your health insurance fund.

It is possible that you will receive from your health insurance fund forms that need to be completed in part by the FWO. As of the 31st calendar day, you will no longer receive a salary from the FWO. You will then receive a replacement income from your health insurance fund.

Work accident

A work accident is:

An accident that happens to the victim as a result of executing his or her normal duties.

An accident that occurs on the way to or from work, on the normal route taken from the victim´s residence to work or from work to the residence.

Forms:

Work accident declaration (in pdf): to be completed by the person involved or, if the person involved is unable to do so, by the head of department.

Medical certificate (in pdf): to be completed by the person who administered the first medical assistance.

All forms must be submitted to the FWO.

Maternity leave

The legally-provided pregnancy leave amounts to 15 weeks (105 calendar days) for a single birth; 17 weeks for a multiple birth. Of these, you are obliged to take at least 7 calendar days before the date on which you are expecting to give birth. You are also obliged to take 9 weeks of maternity leave after you have given birth.

You must:

send to the FWO a medical certificate indicating the date on which you expect to give birth.

If you come into contact with harmful agents, you must contact the university´s industrial medicine service within the first three months of your pregnancy.

If the certificate of the medical examination states that you should avoid certain substances that are harmful for pregnancy, you should inform the FWO of whether you will perform alternative work until your pregnancy leave begins.

You must inform your health insurance fund when your pregnancy leave begins, since during that period you will not be paid by the FWO. You will receive a replacement income from your health insurance fund.

Public transport

All FWO staff will have the cost of their travel card reimbursed for commuting to and from work by public transport (train – tram – bus – metro).

If the employee lives abroad, only travel costs up to the border are considered for reimbursement.

What you should provide as soon as possible to the FWO to obtain your reimbursement:

  • Bus travel card: copy of the bus travel card
  • Train travel card or combined travel cards: copy of the train travel card (MOBIB) and copy of the train ticket/proof of the uploaded contract
  • Metro travel card: copy of the metro travel card (MOBIB) and copy of proof of purchase

The FWO does not reimburse any supplements for first-class NMBS/SNCB travel cards.

The reimbursement will be transferred to your account together with the next payment of your grant or salary.

Should you leave the organisation before the end of the year, part of the reimbursed amount will be recovered.

If you still have a university travel card when you join the FWO, you must cancel it by sending proof of the university travel card to the university HR department. You then need to request a new travel card from the transport company directly.

Bicycle mileage compensation

Every staff member who uses the bicycle for:

  • the full journey from home to work, this is the route from your home to your work place by bicycle, without using another means of transport,
  • a part of the route from home to work, before or after another means of transport is used,

is entitled to a bicycle allowance.

On a monthly basis you must use your bicycle for at least 80% on the days on which you actually work, for travelling between home and work in Belgium.

The covered distance (one single ride) is at least one kilometre.

The bicycle allowance is 0.15 € per kilometre there and back. 

The application for bicycle allowance is available in the FWO e-portal and must be sent to the FWO within 15 days after the start date of the mandate. The statement remains valid for the entire period of the mandate, unless you submit a change in your situation.

Any change (cancellation, temporary use, change number of kilometres, etc.) must be reported immediately.

If we come to the conclusion that you have made false statements, the paid amounts will be re-claimed. Disciplinary sanctions may be imposed. False statements can also lead to criminal prosecution.

Foreign research fellowship

The conditions for granting a foreign research fellowship are noted in article 23 of the regulations for Postdoctoral Fellow. The request for an extension of the mandate must always be submitted together with the form “suspension request postdoctoral fellowship”. The form is available at the FWO e-loket.

Fellowship with leave for research assignment 

A fellowship with leave for a research assignment can be applied for a period of one year, extendible with no more than one year. Shorter periods can also be permitted. You should apply for this in writing and your application should be accompanied by a written agreement of the Principal and your head of department or supervisor. A fellowship with leave for a research assignment does not lead to an extension of the fellowship.

Medical assistance

It concerns a specific type of a complete or partial career break that offers you the possibility to temporarily suspend your employment to provide medical assistance to first or second-degree family members suffering from a severe illness. The following is regarded as a severe illness: each disease or (medical) surgery that the G.P. assesses as such and for which he believes that each type of social, familial or mental assistance is required for the recovery. Your relatives and in-laws are regarded as family members. People you live with are also family members.

Types

Complete break
You can suspend your employment contract completely irrespective of your schedule (full-time or part-time).

Reduce working hours to part-time
If you work at least ¾ of a fulltime job, you can work part-time.

Reduce working hours by 1/5
If you work full-time, you reduce your working hours by 1/5.

The maximum durations for the complete career break or a reduction of working hours (part-time or reduction by 1/5) cannot be combined.

Conditions

You are entitled to take a complete or partial career break, if you submit a certificate drawn up by the G.P. of your severely ill family member, from which shows that you are willing to assist this person or to take care of him/her

Formalities

You should inform the FWO in writing at least 7 days before the date on which you would like to take leave for medical assistance, stating the start and end date of the period during which you would like to take a career break, work part-time, or reduce your working hours by 1/5 within the scope of providing medical assistance. 

You must download the application form (the form C61SV private sector) from the RVA website (www.rva.be). Please fill in Part I (employee) and send the complete application form to the FWO.

Palliative care leave

It concerns a specific type of a complete or partial career break that offers you the possibility to temporarily suspend your employment to provide palliative assistance. Palliative assistance is understood to mean each type of assistance (medical, social, administrative and psychological) and the nursing of incurably ill people in a terminal phase.

Types

Irrespective of the sector you work in, you can:

Suspend your work activities completely during 1 month (extendible with one month);

Reduce your working hours during 1 month (extendible with one month).

You can submit a maximum of 2 certificates per patient.

Conditions

You are entitled to take a career break for providing palliative assistance, if you submit a certificate drawn up by the G.P. of the patient, from which shows that you are willing provide palliative assistance.

Formalities

You must download the application form (the form C61SV private sector) from the RVA website (www.rva.be). Please fill in Part I (employee) and send the complete application form to the FWO.

Your leave starts on the first day of the week after the week during which you handed over the certificate to your employer. Your employer can also agree on a shorter term.

Time credit

Time credit can be applied at the earliest for 6  months in advance according to the applying legal stipulations. More information on the RVA website (www.rva.be).

Holidays

The holiday periods are the same as those laid down in the regulations of the host institution and are determined in consultation with the head of department or the supervisor. You should give the secretariat of the FWO your annual holiday dates. The holiday pay is based on your salary of May of the current year and your working hours during the previous year; your holiday pay is deposited together with your salary of the month May.

PhD fellows who start working on October 1st and who are younger than 25 on December 31st of the year they graduated, are entitled to youth vacation. The youth vacation is not paid by the FWO. The RVA (Belgian National Employment Service) will pay out a replacement income. You do not receive an extra amount on top of your regular salary.

Parental leave

Types

Complete career break: Irrespective of your type of employment (full-time or part-time), you can suspend your employment contract completely during no more than 4 months. This leave can be split up per month or a multiple thereof.

Reduce working hours to part-time: If you work full-time, you can reduce your working hours to a part-time employment during no more than 8 months. This leave can be split up per period of 2 months or a multiple thereof.

Reduce working hours by 1/5: If you work full-time, you can reduce your working hours by 1/5 during no more than 20 months. This leave can be split up per period of 5 months or a multiple thereof.

You also have the possibility to combine different types of maternity leave; successively or alternately full-time, part-time and 1/5.

Conditions

Conditions with regard to length of service with the employer: The right to parental leave is granted if you have had an employment contract with your employer for 12 months during the period of 15 months that precede the written application (not necessarily successive).

Conditions with regard to the age of the child: When the child is born: as long as the child has not reached the age of 12. If the child is adopted, the right to parental leave starts when the child is registered in the register of births, deaths and marriages or the immigrant register of the municipality. 

Formalities

You must download the application form (the form C61SV private sector) from the RVA website (www.rva.be). Please fill in Part I (employee) and send the complete application form to the FWO.

You should inform the FWO at the earliest 6  months in advance by letter, stating the type of parental leave you have chosen and the start and end date. The child for whom you are applying to take parental leave should already be born when you submit the complete application form to the FWO.

Paternity leave

A father is legally entitled to 10 days paternity leave when his child is born. These 10 days should be taken within a period of 4 months as of the date of birth. The first 3 days are paid by the FWO; the other 7 days are paid out by the national health service. The father must be entitled to receive daily sickness and disablement benefits. If you are only employed for a few months, you should better check with your national health service to know whether you are eligible for receiving paternity leave benefits. When applying for paternity leave, you must specify on which days you want to take paternity leave. You can only take full days off for paternity leave.

Paternity leave in the event that the mother is hospitalised or deceases. 

If the mother of the child is hospitalised or deceases during the pregnancy leave, the father can take on the remaining part of the maternity leave. This is also referred to as ‘paternity leave’.  The father must be entitled to receive daily sickness and disablement benefits. If you are only employed for a few months, you should better check with your national health service to know whether you are eligible for receiving paternity leave benefits.

The following additional conditions apply for the hospitalization:

The mother must be hospitalised for more than 7 days;

The leave can only start 7 days after the baby is born;

The child must have left the hospital.

During that leave, the father is entitled to benefits paid out by the national health service. You must therefore also inform your national health service.

Who is eligible for the bench fees?

The bench fee for FWO fellows was introduced to give the PhD Fellows and Postdoctoral Fellows greater flexibility and independence.

This bench fee will therefore be used and applied in accordance with this vision. 

Each Postdoctoral Fellow FWO can receive a bench fee up to 6 times (2 x 3 years).

No bench fee is granted for administrative extensions.

How is the compensation paid out?

The financial service of the host institution opens a credit line for the persons concerned.

The bench fees are deposited quarterly into the account of the university/host institution with which the fellow is affiliated after the expenditure declarations have been submitted.

How are the amounts accounted for?

The accounts are sent to the FWO via lists that are signed by the finance director of the host institution. Invoices, receipts and so on do not have to be sent to the FWO. The original vouchers and expenditure declarations must be preserved by the university so that the services of the FWO, the FWO commissioner and all FWO authorities can inspect them if necessary.

How much is the fixed bench fee?

The fixed bench fee is granted for each fellowship year and amounts to € 4000 for one academic year for Postdoctoral Fellows and € 3.720 for PhD Fellows.  

How much is the bench fee for a part-time appointment at a university or a college (of advanced education) or abroad?

The bench fee will be completely available if there is at least a 50% appointment on an FWO fellowship. The fee will not be paid if it is less than 50%.

Can I dispose of a bench fee during my stay abroad?

The bench fee remains available and the expenditures can be accounted for.

Is the annual bench fee made available for the entire term of the fellowship?

The bench fees are granted for each academic year. The Postdoctoral Fellows and the PhD Fellows freely decide on the planning of expenditures on the compensation. Amongst other things, this means that the balance of the compensation can be transferred to the following fellowship year, within the duration of the granted fellowship (+ renewals).

After the fellowship has ended, the unused funds can no longer be withdrawn and will be returned to the FWO. Nor can the costs that were incurred before the fellowship started be financed.

Can I still submit invoices after I resigned as a FWO fellow?

If you have prematurely ended your fellowship, you will no longer receive bench fees.   However, expenditures on behalf of the research that were incurred before this end date can be accounted for. 

Is a bench fee granted in case of a fellowship with leave for a research assignment? 

If the FWO fellowship is interrupted:

  • More than 6 months: no bench fee
  • 6 months or less: the complete bench fee

Expenditures made during this term ‘fellowship with leave for research assignment” cannot be accounted for.

What happens in case of suspension due to pregnancy leave, parental leave, a protracted illness and so on?

The bench fee remains available, but no expenditures can be accounted for during the period of suspension.

Who is the contact person in my institution?

KU Leuven

For general questions about the bench fee:
Stephanie Eggermont
Department Research coordination
Tel: 016/320447
nele.beutels@doc.kuleuven.be

For credit management:

Liesbet Pauwels
Financial department KU Leuven
Tel: 016/324147
liesbet.pauwels@kuleuven.be


UAntwerpen

For general questions about the bench fee:
Greet Hellenbosch
tel. 03 265 3173
greet.hellenbosch@uantwerpen.be

For credit management:
Leen Verreydt
Financial departement
Tel:. 03/2653091
Leen.verreydt@uantwerpen.be

UGent

For general questions about the bench fee:
Barbara Lobert
Department Research coordination
tel: 09/2648920
Barbara.Lobert@UGent.be

Karolien Aelbrecht
Department Research coordination
tel: 09/2643028
Lieve.Huys@UGent.be

For credit management:

Wim Boel
Financial department
Tel: 09/2643229
Wim.Boel@Ugent.be

UHasselt

For general questions about the bench fee: 
Ann Peters
Director research coordination
Tel: 011/268041
ann.peters@uhasselt.be

For credit management:
Greet Boets
Directeur finances
Tel: 011/268093
greet.boets@uhasselt.be

VUB

For general questions about the bench fee: 
Mieke Gijsemans
R&D department
Tel: 02/6292108
mgijsema@vub.ac.be  

For credit management:
Adi Gheysels
Financiële administratie
Tel: 02/6293098
Adi.gheysels@vub.ac.be