The monthly ‘basic salary’ for Contract Agents in function group III (FG III) in the European Commission ranges from EUR 2831 for grade 8 step I to EUR 5248 for grade 12 step 7. The amount of basic salary depends on which grade (8-12) and step in each grade (1-7) the staff member finds herself in.
This article covers the topic of salary for Contract Agents in Function Group III (FGIII) (‘agent contractuel’ in French) in the European Commission. The information about FGIII salary also directly applies to staff of the European Parliament, European Council, EU agencies and all other EU institutions.
When you start to work for an EU institution, you will be asked to prove your previous work experience. Depending on the length of it, you will be assigned a particular grade within function group III, which in turn will directly impact your starting basic salary. If you have up to five years of work experience, you’ll be placed in grade 8. Up to fifteen years of work experience will place you in grade 9. More than 15 years of experience will place you in grade 10. For the starting basic salary in each of grades 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 see the table below.
|Qualifications and professional experience||Grade & step||Starting basic salary|
|less than 5 years||8/1||EUR 2831|
|between 5 years and 15 years||9/1||EUR 3203|
|15 years or more||10/1||EUR 3624|
|Attainable through reclassification or promotion||11/1||EUR 4100|
|Attainable through reclassification or promotion||12/1||EUR 4639|
Important to note – if you start working for an EU institution with 4,9 and 14,9 years of experience, you will not be automatically ‘reclassified’ to a higher grade once you reach the 5 or 15 years threshold. Grades 11 and 12 can be reached in two ways. Firstly, by being employed at the same institution for a longer period through an exercise called ‘reclassification’, which in practice means automatic advancement through the European Commission salary scales by one step every two years. Secondly, you can undergo ‘promotion’ based on good professional performance. A ‘promotion’ allows you to skip several steps or even a grade at once. If you want to be promoted, be sure to not only work hard, but also make your management notice your efforts throughout the year and during the annual ‘appraisal exercise’.
Complete remuneration package
Knowing the monthly ‘basic salary’ does not tell you much about your final take-home pay and the full remuneration package. There are two reasons for this.
Firstly, the basic salary can make up anything between ~85% and 130%+ or more of your total remuneration package depending on whether you are entitled to the various allowances. This is especially so if you are an expat or/and have children.
Secondly, the country you are employed in has a significant impact on your total salary due to the European Commission ‘Correction Coefficient‘. Brussels is used as reference, so if you work for EU institutions in Belgium, you get 100% of your salary and allowances. However, if you work for an EU agency in Scandinavia, your salary and allowances will upped by 18-31% to compensate for higher living costs. Conversely, if you will work for the EU in Bulgaria, you will get only 55% of what your Brussels colleague gets due to what Eurostat considers are lower living costs. More on the impact of the Correction Coefficient below.
Contract agents’ remuneration by family and residence status
Below is a sample calculation of an FG III (grade 8 step 1) take-home pay with allowances for four common scenarios for a Contract Agent employed in Brussels, Belgium. If you are in a higher grade, you can do a rough estimate of your salary by adding the difference between basic pay in grade 8 and your actual grade.
|Situation 1||Situation 2||Situation 3||Situation 4|
|Single Belgian national with no children||Married Belgian national with two children||Single Italian national with no children||Married Italian national with two children|
|CONTRACT AGENT FG III|
|Dependent child allowance||0||858||0||858|
|Expatriation allowance 16%||0||0||630||630|
|Pension contribution 10.1%||-286||-286||-286||-286|
|Sickness insurance contribution||-48||-48||-48||-48|
|Accident insurance contribution||-3||-3||-3||-3|
|Unemployment Insurance contribution||-14||-14||-14||-14|
N.B. Please treat the above values only as indicative, because only your EU institution can do a precise calculation based on your individual circumstances and the full set of EU rules.
On top of the above, children would either be guaranteed a place in the European School, or a single Education Allowance per child. The expat family would also get around 1000 EUR annually per family member as a Travel Grant considering the distance to Rome.
European Commission 2022 salary scale for Contract agents FGIII
|Function group||Grade||Step 1||Step 2||Step 3||Step 4||Step 5||Step 6||Step 7|
Impact of Correction Coefficient on FGII basic pay
The below table shows you the actual Contract Agent FGII basic pay according to the location of your institution. You can read a dedicated article about the Correction Coefficient.
|Location of EU institution||Correction Coefficient||Basic Pay|
|Luxembourg City, Luxembourg||100||2831|
Take into account that your allowances will also be adjusted by the Correction Coefficient. If you will work not in Brussels, but in another EU location, you should multiply the grand total values in the “scenarios table” to get the actual approximate figure.
Function Groups and corresponding types of duties
The below table presents an overview of what kind of tasks each function group of contract agents is expected to carry out. Note the wording “under the supervision of officials or temporary staff”. In practice, the situation most often is different. Very often there is little difference between the tasks FG III and FG IV carry out, it’s a little bit of a lottery in which function group your position happens to fall. Also, once you start working in these two grades, you might soon notice that the tasks you carry out differ little from what temporary agents AD5 and AD6 perform. The main reason for this situation is the aftermath of the 2008-9 economic crisis when EU Member States exerted pressure on the European Commission to decrease costs. Someone came up with the “clever” solution to administratively “devolve” many positions and tasks from AD to CA positions, without much change to the substance of the tasks performed.
|IV||13 to 18||Administrative, advisory, linguistic and equivalent technical tasks, performed under the supervision of officials or temporary staff.|
|III||8 to 12||Executive tasks, drafting, accountancy and other equivalent technical tasks, performed under the supervision of officials or temporary staff.|
|II||4 to 7||Clerical and secretarial tasks, office management and other equivalent tasks, performed under the supervision of officials or temporary staff.|
|I||1 to 3||Manual and administrative support service tasks, performed under the supervision of officials or temporary staff.|
Allowances and other benefits for EU institutions staff
Several allowances and other benefits can quite significantly boost an EU official’s income. This is largely depends on whether the person is an expat and has a spouse and/or children. When considering a job at an EU institution, people too often do not take these benefits into account. Important – these benefits are available to Administrators in grades AD 5-16, Assistants in grades AST 1-11, Secretaries and Clerks in grades AST/SC 1-6, and Contract Agents in grades FG I-IV.
- Travel costs on taking up duties
- Daily subsistence allowance (during probation period)
- Installation allowance and coverage of removal costs (one-time payments)
- Expatriation allowance or Foreign Residence allowance
- Household allowance
- Dependent child allowance
- European School enrollment for children or Education allowance if there is no local EU school
- Healthcare costs reimbursement to a level of 80-85% through the EU’s Joint Sickness Insurance Scheme (JSIS) for the employee and any direct family members and dependents. 100% reimbursement of costs in case of a serious illness
- Accident insurance
- Annual travel compensation
- Birth grant
- Parental leave
- Unemployment allowance
- Removal expenses when leaving your home country and again when leaving your EU institution
- EU pension, survivors and orphan’s pensions, invalidity allowance
- Lump sum payments in case of permanent invalidity or death
- Lump sum funeral expenses, up to EUR 2350
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This article is based on the European Commission Staff Regulations and other publicly available information such as EU institutions’ vacancy announcements.
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