Contract agents FG IV: salary and allowances

Salary of a European Commission contract agent, FG IV

This article covers the topic of FG IV salary or how much a Contract Agent (‘fonctionnaire’ in French) in Function Group 4 in a European Union institution can expect to earn.

Basic salary vs. full remuneration package

The ‘basic monthly salary’ for FG IV ranges from EUR 3555,98 to EUR 7460,34 (as of 01.01.2021.). It depends on which grade you are in (13-18) 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 IV, 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 17 and 18 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 years13EUR 3555,98
between 5 years and 17 years14EUR 4023,40
17 years or more16EUR 5150,62
Contract agent function group IV (FG IV): 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. 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 IV salary for four common scenarios for a contract agent employed in Brussels, Belgium. The calculation is for the initial grade 13. If you have a long work experience, you can expect to receive more, roughly EUR 400-700 for each next grade above 13.

  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.
SCENARIO 1SCENARIO 2SCENARIO 3SCENARIO 4
Basic Pay3555,983555,983555,983555,98
Household allowance0262.070262.07
Dependent child allowance0836.620836.62
Education allowance (applies only if your children to not attend a European School)0567.640567.64
Expatriation allowance 16%00740.79740.79
Pension contribution 9.70%-342.53-342.53-342.53-342.53
Sickness insurance contribution-60.03-60.03-60.03-60.03
Accident insurance contribution-3.53-3.53-3.53-3.53
Tax-14.85-76.41-14.85-76.41
Unemployment Insurance contribution-20.31-20.31-20.31-20.31
TOTAL REMUNERATION3003.734718.783474.475459.57

Complete basic salary scale for contract agents FG IV

Function groupGradeStep 1Step 2Step 3Step 4Step 5Step 6Step 7
IV186 593,666 730,786 870,747 013,627 159,497 308,377 460,34
IV175 827,655 948,836 072,546 198,836 327,746 459,326 593,66
IV165 150,625 257,725 367,075 478,685 592,635 708,935 827,65
IV154 552,244 646,914 743,554 842,204 942,905 045,685 150,62
IV144 023,404 107,074 192,484 279,674 368,694 459,504 552,24
IV133 555,983 629,933 705,413 782,483 861,133 941,434 023,40
Complete basic salary scale for contract agents FG IV. 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

There are a number of additional benefits on top of your basic salary. These can boos 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. The European Commission and other EU institutions do a poor job of communicating these benefits to possible employees. 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 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

Contract Agent 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
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!

10 thoughts on “Contract agents FG IV: salary and allowances

  1. Hi Ben,

    This may not be strictly related to salary/allowances issues, but do we know if a CA FGIV with 1 year at the Commission has the right to apply for another position in another unit within the same, or even different, DG?
    Many thanks in advance!

    1. Hi! Regarding this, best to ask your HR department as I have too little experience with this.

      However, I’ll still share what I know. I’ve seen plenty of cases where people get reassigned by management to different position/tasks, if they remain within the same type of contract and grade (FG IV moves to another FG IV position, AD5 to AD5) within the same institution.
      To move between agencies requires winning a new competition, unless it is one of a small number of positions that are advertised as… I can’t remember the exact title but it was something with ‘horizontal mobility’. I don’t know if a similar arrangement applies among COM DGs. Usually this is clearly stated in the vacancy announcement.
      If you are already working for the Commission, check out the intranet. There are quite a large number of vacancies that seem to be available only internally to quickly fill staff positions. Most DGs seems to have such an intranet site, so look around.

      If possible, please share what you find out yourself regarding the question.

  2. Hello Ben!
    First of all happy new year (let’s hope it will be better) and thank you for all the good tips in your articles.

    If possible, could you please clarify under which conditions the expat allowance is given? E.g. non-belgian national, who has already work for more than 3 years in Brussels (and therefore has there the habitual residence).

    I have also another question, how experience is calculated to be relevant for grades and steps? (e.g. Master’s Degree, PhD, trainees do they count somehow?)

    Thank you very much!

  3. There is something odd with the example above: a family with 2 kids pay more taxes (76 euro) than a single (14 euro)? Usually it’s the other way around…
    Also, could you post the exact tax calculationto reach the final figure?
    Many thanks

  4. Wasnt there a exel file that you could calculate your total income? it seems to have disappeared from the internet

    1. Pedro, apologies, but I received a request to take the calculator down. I complied as it was from the European Commission. I also see that Europol website where the original file was from has also taken it down. The above and similar articles give you a 90% certain insight into your final salary. However, if there are other issues that you are interested in, let me know and I’ll see if I’m able to produce an article.

  5. For someone starting in function group IV with 20 years work experience, the maximum when you start will always be Grade 16, step 1, is this correct? Or can you start at grade 17 or 18?
    thanks
    Hugo

      1. and will that always be step 1? or the years of experience can place you up a few extra steps?

      2. It will always be step 1. You can only start at a higher grade depending on the work experience length.

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