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Removal expenses compensation: UM discriminates on the basis of age

MAASTRICHT. Maastricht University’s removal regulations are wrong. In the allocation of compensations, it discriminates on the basis of age, decided het College voor de Rechten van de Mens (the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights) at the beginning of this month. Employees running their own household receive 7,445 euro compensation, while those who do not live independently, but for example live in digs or with parents, only receive 500 euro. The UM will take a closer look at the regulation.

The university lecturer who “as a matter of principle” approached the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights (and who does not want his name in the paper) was told last year, when he was appointed, that he would have to move because of the distance. He still lived in Nieuwegein, in his parents’ attic. In addition to the standard compensation for such things as storage and transportation expenses, he also received a “compensation for other expenses” from the UM, he says. The amount depends on the situation. Those who live independently, receive a much higher amount than those who don’t run their own households. Having one’s own front door is an important indicator in this case.

The young man, 26 years old at the time, had to content himself with 500 euro, the low compensation, so deemed the faculty’s HR advisor (School of Business and Economics). He subsequently appealed to the Executive Board, but the appeal was rejected. It is unfair, he says, “because younger employees, especially PhD candidates, are disadvantaged by this”.

Before the Netherlands Institute for Human Rights he argued that the criteria in the removal regulation not only discriminate on the basis of age, but also on the basis of marital status. A large number of unmarried persons live with their parents, whereas those who are married almost always have their own household, he reasons. The Institute for Human Rights did not agree with that.

At the same time, this is a case of “indirect distinction on the basis of age”, agrees the institute. Because if one looks at the personnel data from 2019, one can see that there is a relation. More than half – 60 per cent – of employees under the age of thirty received a low compensation. Where as in the ‘older group’ only 35 per cent received 500 euro compensation.

The decision is not binding, but it does have “authority”, the lecturer reckons. The answer to the question whether he is now almost 7,000 euro richer (the difference between the higher and lower compensation), is negative. “It is still with the Executive Board; I haven’t heard anything yet.”

According to spokesperson Fons Elbersen, the UM was already planning to revise the regulation, but this case came up “amidst the preparations”. “Obviously the UM does not want to discriminate. We have been made aware that there are unintentional effects of a part of the regulation,” Elbersen states. The UM will now try to “come up with a modified regulation as soon as possible”.

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