MAASTRICHT. The highest bonus was awarded to an employee at the ‘Berg’ last year. And most of the bonuses went to the Finance department. The topic of bonuses – who, what, to be made public or not – is on the agenda again.
Should the name of the employee who receives additional salary in the form of a bonus, be made known? And should the reason why he or she received that bonus, also be made known? Most certainly, says Huub Odekerken, who was still a member of the university council last year. He put the matter on the table: contrary to the rules, he said, there was an air of secrecy about the awarding of bonuses (unlike in the case of a jubilee), while it could be useful to know why someone is receiving something extra. “It could be motivational,” he expected.
In the 'UM bonus regulation’ from 2010, it does indeed state in Section 5, Paragraph 2: Within the management unit the decisions taken are made public.
This stipulation, however, appears to be open to multiple interpretations. The Executive Board has so far supported a restricted interpretation: the director of a management unit provides the employees’ council or faculty council with information about the number of bonuses and the amount concerned. No names. “Not everyone is happy with their colleagues knowing that they have received a bonus,” said manager Nick Bos last spring.
But he was prepared to “take another look at it” and this has now resulted in the case being put to all UM employees in a kind of referendum, says Huub Hamers, member of the Local Consultative Body (LO) between unions and Executive Board. This was done “at the initiative of the LO. And the Executive Board will declare the outcome binding,” Hamers reported.
The ‘referendum’ now consists of two questions (publish name and reason for the bonus?), which have been included in the work perception survey that was digitally sent to all employees this week. Bonuses are, after all, awarded to someone because he or she has achieved “substantially” more than what their actual job description prescribes. The range runs from a quarter via half a month’s to a full month’s salary. There is also another variant, the so-called net bonus, in which case a fixed amount of 500 or 750 euro after tax is paid, regardless of the salary level.
From an overview that the Executive Board presented to the LO, it appears that in particular the Finance department is keen on the (reasonably modest) net bonus variant. In 2014, it was awarded 37 times. “A coincidence,” says director Ruud Bollen, “a group bonus because people have had to work extra hard as a result of new rules and regulations, including working in the evenings.” Elsewhere in the UM, this type of bonus was hardly ever awarded. Finance also gave another eleven ‘normal’ bonuses, more than any other department. The highest amounted to 4,015 euro before tax. Obviously, higher amounts are possible too: the Central Office of Maastricht University (MUO), also referred to as the ‘Berg’, gave an employee in salary scale 16 an amount of 6,844 euro before tax. Only FHML came anywhere near that amount, with 6,633 euro for one (or more, that is not clear) member of the academic staff.
Of the faculties, FHML has issued bonuses most often - fourteen times, nine of which were to academic staff, five to administrative and support staff. At the other end of the spectrum we have the psychology faculty, with a mere three bonuses for academics. The faculty’s non-academic staff received nothing.