Contract agents FG III: salary and allowances

Contract Agent FGIII salary

This article covers the topic of FG III salary or how much a Contract Agent (‘fonctionnaire’ in French) in Function Group 3 in a European Union institution can expect to earn.

Basic salary and full remuneration package

The ‘basic monthly salary’ for FG III ranges from Function Group III EUR 2777,78 to EUR 5150,51 (as of 01.01.2021.). It depends on which grade you are in (8-12) which is directly linked to the length of your previous work experience and employment period at the particular EU institution.

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. Important to note – if you start working for an EU agency 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 only be reached through long-term employment at the same institution; one cannot “parachute” into these grades.

Qualifications and professional experienceGradeStarting basic salary
less than 5 years8EUR 2777,78
between 5 years and 15 years9EUR 3142,88
15 years or more10EUR 3555,97
Contract agent function group III (FG III): working experience required for each grade and its basic salary figure

However, knowing the ‘basic monthly salary’ in most cases does not tell you much about your final take-home pay. There are two reasons for this.

Firstly, the basic salary can make up anything between 50% and 100% of your total remuneration package depending on whether you entitled to the various allowances (see below) and other benefits. This is especially so if you have children or/and are an expat.

Secondly, the country you are employed in has a significant impact on your total salary due to the ‘correction coefficient‘. Brussels is used as reference and you get the nominal amount quoted in the Staff Regulations and above. 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 colleague in Brussels gets.

Four scenarios

Below is a sample calculation of an FG III salary for four common scenarios for a contract agent employed in Brussels, Belgium. The calculation is for the initial grade 8. If you have a long work experience, you can expect to receive more, roughly EUR 350 for each next grade above 8.

  1. Single Belgian national with no children.
  2. Married Belgian national with two children.
  3. Single Italian national with no children.
  4. Married Italian national with two children.
CONTRACT AGENT FG IIISCENARIO 1SCENARIO 2SCENARIO 3SCENARIO 4
Basic Pay2777,782777,782777,782777,78
Household allowance0246.610246.61
Dependent child allowance0836.620836.62
Education allowance (applies only if your children to not attend a European School)0567.640567.64
Expatriation allowance 16%00567.38614.67
Pension contribution 9.70%-267.57-267.57-267.57-267.57
Sickness insurance contribution-46.89-46.89-46.89-46.89
Accident insurance contribution-2.76-2.76-2.76-2.76
Tax-14.85-28.38-14.85-28.38
Unemployment Insurance contribution-14.05-14.05-14.05-14.05
TOTAL REMUNERATION2446.204068.692998.734683.36
Contract agent FG III salary and allowances: full remuneration package

Contract agents FG III basic salary scale

Function groupGradeStep 1Step2 Step 3Step 4Step 5Step 6Step 7
III124 552,184 646,844 743,484 842,114 942,805 045,585 150,51
III114 023,374 107,024 192,424 279,604 368,604 459,444 552,18
III103 555,973 629,913 705,393 782,453 861,103 941,404 023,37
III93 142,883 208,233 274,953 343,063 412,583 483,533 555,97
III82 777,782 835,542 894,512 954,693 016,153 078,863 142,88
Complete basic salary scale for contract agents FG III. Source: Staff Regulations, Annex “Transitional provisions applicable to the staff covered by the Conditions of Employment of other Servants”, Article 93

Allowances and other benefits for employees of the European Commission and other EU institutions

Several allowances and other benefits can boost your income by as much as 50% depending whether you are an expat and have a spouse and children. When considering a job at an EU institution, people too seldom take these benefits into account. Important – these benefits are available to administrators in grades AD 5-16, assistants in grades AST 1-11, and contract agents in grades FG I to FG 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. If your institution is in Brussels, for a 4-person family from Rome this will amount to EUR 2781. For a single person the amount will be EUR 677.
  • 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, around EUR 2350

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.

Function groupGradesDuties
IV13 to 18Administrative, advisory, linguistic and equivalent technical tasks, performed under the supervision of officials or temporary staff.
III8 to 12Executive tasks, drafting, accountancy and other equivalent technical tasks, performed under the supervision of officials or temporary staff.
II4 to 7Clerical and secretarial tasks, office management and other equivalent tasks, performed under the supervision of officials or temporary staff.
I1 to 3Manual and administrative support service tasks, performed under the supervision of officials or temporary staff.
Contract Agent Function Groups and corresponding types of duties | Source: Staff Regulations

Allowances and other benefits for employees of the European Commission and other EU institutions

Several allowances and other benefits can boost your income by as much as 100% depending whether you are an expat and have a spouse and children. When considering a job at an EU institution, people too seldom take these benefits into account. Important – these benefits are available to both temporary agents (AD 5-16 and AST 1-11) and contract agents (FG I to FG 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. If your institution is in Brussels, for a 4-person family from Rome this will amount to EUR 2781. For a single person the amount will be EUR 677.
  • 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, around EUR 2350
This article is based on the European Commission Staff Regulations and other publicly available information such as EU institutions’ vacancy announcements. As the EU legal documents and even information on the various websites are hard to understand, this post is one from a series of articles that try to make information about employment in the European Commission and other EU institutions more accessible.

Do you have any questions or suggestions for this article? Please comment below and let’s make this resource better for other readers!

13 thoughts on “Contract agents FG III: salary and allowances

  1. Hello, thanks for the very good article. Actually the best I could find so far on the issue!

    Do I understand correctly that work experience OUTSIDE the EU institutions (e.g. of more than 5 years) is recognised (and I am put in FG III, grade 9) by the EC when starting a FG III position?

    Or only work experience within the EU institutions lead to a higher grade?

    Thank you very much!

  2. Hi,

    I wonder why the deductions aren’t also made on the allowances? Is that definitely the case for all, including social security and tax?

    Kind regards

  3. Hi,

    Any reason why in the example the tax rate is 0.5% as opposed to 8%? Also, any reason why the solidarity of 6% is not showing?
    Thank you this is a very very useful site

  4. Hi there, may I ask what is the level of income tax to pay for grade 9 function group 3? Many thanks.

    1. Hi! Apologies, but I’m not very competent on the tax rates and won’t be able to answer this question. Thanks for your other comments on the correct tax rates. I’ll check and try to adjust the figures to at least use a uniform tax rates. As mentioned, these calculations are only indicative, however, I agree I could do a better job re tax rates.

  5. Hello, do you know how many years of proven experience are necessary to reach Grade 10 immediately?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi! Thanks for the question. See below. I’ve also updated the article.

      You need 15 or more years to start at grade 10.

      Source: Commission Decision C(2017) 6760 – employment conditions of contract staff

  6. I have more or less the same question as Antonio. With 15 years work experience do I get a higher grade than 10?

  7. If a person with 20 years of relevant experience becomes eligible for a contractual agent GF III position, can he/she start on a grade higher than grade 10?

    1. No, Antonio. Grade 10 is maximum, to start with. The grade will increase up to 12 but only based on based on the work experience at the EU, after employment.

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