Bonum Certa Men Certa

Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) in The Hague Taking Action to Rectify Cuts to Families of Workers

posted by Roy Schestowitz on May 26, 2024

EPO Education and Childcare reform

TWO months ago we published "EPO Discriminates Against Families of Its Own Workers, the Union Explains Legal Basis Upon Which It's Likely Illegal and Must be Challenged".

Well, EPO management (under Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos alike) does not care what the law says. After all, constitutions and laws did not stop them pursuing a totally illegal 'court' and European software patents (illegality and a dangerous bubble). They just don't care. When it comes to the EPO (and the EU's UPC), the laws don't exist. It's no better than Putin's Russia.

A relatively new publication from SUEPO TH (The Hague) has an update on that, saying clearly they "are active in challenging this measure via the legal system" and background precedes that as follows:

Education & Childcare reform results in the exclusion of colleagues sending their children to local schools

Administration finds new ways of not reimbursing "Ouderbijdrage"

Dear Members, dear Colleagues,

As you may know, despite the clear detrimental effect that the Education and Childcare Allowance[1] reform had on staff in The Hague, it was announce by the administration as a fairer system allowing nationals to access benefits that were in principle only for non-nationals.

However, to start with, the reform removed Article 120(a) Serv. Regs, which provided for the payment of school fees of international schools for all staff independently of the nationality. By this the reform excluded also nationals from the payment of the school fees of international schools. Further, by amending Article 71 Serv. Regs. setting a threshold of 500€, a large number of nationals who are the main users of national schools, have been deprived from the reimbursement of school fees.

Now the administration has realized[2] that they could develop a way to deprive those that were still entitled to receive the reimbursement of the school fees (e.g. ouderbijdrage) for the national schools as these fees sometimes exceed 500€. The administration decided to go a step further in excluding nationals and colleagues choosing Dutch schools for their children from the education allowance by now deeming voluntary contributions (the ouderbijdrage according to Dutch law cannot be compulsory)[3] as equivalent to indirect costs. As such, this year, even when the school fees are above the 500€ threshold, the reimbursement is being rejected.

By all these measures, the administration has ensured, breaking its own word,(“ […] aims to create greater equality of opportunity for children of all staff - regardless of their nationality - by introducing a fairer, simpler benefits system […]) that the majority of school children of national colleagues can never benefit from the education allowance under Article 71 Serv. Regs.

Furthermore, we fail to understand why the administration dedicates so many resources, including financial resources, to avoid a cost that is so insignificant per child, at the expense of colleagues' rights, motivation, and opinion toward the Office.

This chain of detrimental measures seems merely a malafide attitude towards staff choosing the Dutch education system for their children and especially to national staff, ironically presented as the excuse for the reform, who were promised the education allowance. Moreover, it constitutes a complete ignorance of and lack of respect for the educational system of its host state. So much for the fairer system to “include nationals”…

Colleagues in the situation described above might be reassured to know that we are active in challenging this measure via the legal system - do not hesitate to contact us if you want to know more or if you want to challenge it yourself.

Related publications:

Kind regards,
SUEPO The Hague


[2] see answer from the Administration to our open letter sent on 20.03.2024.


There will probably be a follow-up on it some time soon.

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