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Ria Wemelsfelder about centralising the salary administration at NWO-I

The HRM Department of the NWO-I office in Utrecht can breathe a sigh of relief. The intended target has been achieved, timely centralisation of the salary administration so that the first payment of salaries in 2018 to all NWO-I employees has been realised. 'We could not have achieved this without the efforts of employees from the HRM departments of the NWO institutes ASTRON, CWI, NIOZ, NSCR and SRON that merged with NWO-I on 1 January 2018,' says Ria Wemelsfelder (head of salary administration and personnel information services at NWO-I).

In 1989, Ria Wemelsfelder started working for the former FOM organisation as a salary officer and she knows the organisation like the back of her hand. In 2011, she became head of salary administration and with effect from 1 January 2016 her job was changed into head of salary administration and personnel information services. 'As we employ many scientists with a wide range of nationalities we come across every conceivable exception in the salary administration. Examples are different secondment agreements, the 30% scheme of the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration, and various tax obligations. There is never a dull moment at our department,' she says laughing. The merger posed an extra challenge in addition to the usual work.

'The final merger proposal was agreed in the summer of 2017 and then it became definite that from January 2018 onwards NWO-I would have about 1000 employees. We were given the task of centralising the entire salary administration at NWO-I in Utrecht. That meant harmonising five different ways of working. To initiate this process my colleagues and I visited all of the institutes many times to become familiar with them, exchange experiences and in particular to map their work processes in terms of salary administration,' says Ria. Subsequently at the end of September, the administration of all institutes was entered in the "Beaufort" system of NWO-I and a shadow administration was run for a period of three months. Ria: 'This was really laborious but absolutely necessary to detect possible errors. Fortunately, this trial period went well and the central salary administration could be started. We are extremely pleased that we were successful in January in paying the first salary from NWO-I to the employees of the institutes ASTRON, CWI, NIOZ, NSCR and SRON!'

The fine-tuning of the salaries had the highest priority over the past few months but this does not mean that the work has been completed yet. In 2018 there are still issues that need to be further dealt with and detailed. Ensuring that employees are properly informed about the salary system also has their full attention. Ria states that all employees of NWO-I received an explanatory note with the first salary payment of January 2018. 'This note explained, for example, how legislative changes, the pension situation and the new implementation regulations (IR) of NWO influence the net salary. We are working really hard to inform all employees to the best of our ability. Employees who have questions should firstly contact their own HRM department, but they are also most welcome to contact the HRM department of NWO-I in Utrecht.'

Photo: Joost Weber