.... in the name of LOVE, we follow her. We are her entourage...

Marie Curie Fellows in UK – the lowdown on taxes and financials

Update 28th May 2015:

We got paid today :D. Now I can confirm that the calculations that are stated here are correct. If you are a MC Fellow from calls 2013 or before, the numbers should add up – there are just the issues of the mobility allowance being taxed or not and the option of opting out of pension scheme of the employer. For those who are fellows of calls 2014 and onward, the principles are the same, just use the calculators for taxes when you do receive your offer letter from the employer to calculate your net pay.

Update 4th March 2015:

After receiving an official offer letter, we finally found out what is taken as tax base. The total amount of the Scholarship (without the monthly mobility allowance) is not the tax base. The tax base is the total amount minus employers contributions and minus employers pension payments. From this gross that amounts to about 45,000 pound per year, you do the tax and NI`s calculations. The text has bellow been appropriately corrected.

For the past month we have been trying to get information on our family budget in UK. In the end we had to do a lot of searching and calculating to finally get to some sort of answer on the question how the taxes and contributions apply to the Marie Curie Fellows in UK. I decided to write down what we figured out, so that I will not forgett in one year and maybe some other fellow will find these information useful.

First, you need to know that the Marie Curie Scholarship covers (that means that it will be deducted from the gross amount) all the contributions and taxes of the employee and employer. Normally in developed tax systems, only tax and employee`s social contributions are deducted from the gross salary (employer` contributions are covered from the means of the employer and do not affect the salary). Because of the difference in the nature of financing this scholarship, the fellow covers (pays for with the total amount of the allowance) also the contributions that are normally levied on employers resources. This can mean a lot of money – more than 40% of the gross amount, so take care when deciding to fund the whole domestic budget of a family with this scholarship (see also this helpful informational sheet from Oxford University: http://www.google.de/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.admin.ox.ac.uk%2Fmedia%2Fglobal%2Fwwwadminoxacuk%2Flocalsites%2Fpersonnel%2Fdocuments%2Frecruitingstaff%2Fcontractscurrent%2FMarie_Curie_fellow_pensions_costs_letter_August_2013.docx&ei=5YjYVLrADIqAywOV1oLQCw&usg=AFQjCNGhAUJbO4yMbnTspNeD-jCHkfdYoA&sig2=EBzqt0cp1KsYg-ZF0jWt2A&bvm=bv.85464276,d.bGQ ).

The initial amount of MC scholarship can seem very high, but the amount that you get in your pocket can differ from state to state, depending on the states tax and social contributions amounts. Here are some details of the UK system of taxation that will help you calculate your own net salary.

UK Calculations

One of the big questions is also if the mobility allowance is taxed in UK. We have found information that it is (with tax and National Insurance – NI contributions), but there is a lot of bad blood over this.

Because the amounts of the gross MC Scholarship can variate from year to year (also with respect to the Correction factor applied for cost of living) let us start rather with an estimated amount of wage together with the mobility allowance in the sum of 70.000 £. I like to do these calculations by myself, but you can also check the amounts on the internet automatic UK tax and NI calculator (this one made the same calculations I was able to do myself and got the same numbers: http://www.uktaxcalculators.co.uk/

TAX

First in the UK you have to make the calculations for the tax and contributions separately as these systems to not intersect. In Slovenia the taxable amount depends heavily on the amount of social contributions the employee has to pay as the contributions influence the taxable amount – this is not the case in the UK. In the UK the only allowance that influences the tax base is the general allowance in the amount of 10.000 £.

This you deduct from 70.000 45,000 £ and get 60.000 35.000£ of tax base. On this you apply the tax brackets (NOTE: the brackets change somewhat every year, so check the amounts for every applicable year):

Basic rate 20% is applied on taxable income from

£0 – 31,865

Higher rate 40% is applied on taxable income from

£31,866 – 150,000

When you put your taxable income (minus the general allowance) into the brackets, you get the yearly tax in the amount of cca.: 17.627  7.700£.

NATIONAL INSURANCE (pension and unemployment insurance)

Now to the NI`s. Employees NI`s are calculated from the amount 70.000 45,000£ as the tax allowance only applies to the calculation of tax and not NI`s. Here are the brackets for employee NI`s (these are calculated on weekly pay to make things interesting :D):

For salary up to 155£ you don`t pay contributions. For the salary amount between 155-815£ you pay Ni`s employee contributions of 12%. And amount above 815£ you pay contribution of 2%. Calculated using these brackets and then transferred to the yearly basis, the employee contributions amount yearly to roughly 4.630,00 4,100£.

Then you have to calculate also the employers contributions. The brackets are different. For weekly salary up to 156£ you don`t pay employers contributions. For the amount above 156£ the contribution are calculated using 13,8%. This amounts to roughly 8.560 5,155£ per year of employers NI contributions.

THE NET SUM

With these information you can now calculate the net pay: 70.000 45,000£ – 17.627 7.700£ – 4.630 4,100£ – 8.560£ = 39.183 33,498£ (the employers contributions have already been deducted). Monthly this amounts to roughly 2,800£. From the information on the internet from some of the current Fellows they receive roughly 3.200£ per month net (in the pocket) pay. New information is that the mobility allowance will not be taxed and that means another 900 pounds can be added to the amount of net pay. I do not know if that will be the case in the end…will update when we know for sure, like legally binding sure. 😀

PENSION INSURANCE

But there is a catch (I bet you wanted me to finish there). NI`s pay for state pension. But in the UK (opposite to the system in Slovenia) the private pension schemes are more usual and present. And here is where it gets interesting. Your host institution must be a part of a pension scheme and as soon you will start working there, they will automatically include you in this private pension scheme. As are the rules for paying the NI`s so it is with the pension scheme – you pay for employers and the employees contribution. These amount vary drastically from different pension schemes. In the Universities there is one called USS. In this scheme employee pays 6,5% and the employer 16%, but remember you have to pay for both. These two percentages mean another 1.000£ of your 3.200£ amount per month. So, you better check the information on the benefits of being a part of the pension scheme (usually you have to be part of it for a decade to even have the right to a pension). Yes, you can opt-out as only NI is obligatory and the private pension schemes are on voluntary basis. So check what benefits you will get from paying into the pension scheme for 24 months and decide if it is worth it.

But do not worry, all the tax and NI obligations are calculated and deducted from your salary and paid to the Tax Administration by the Institution you work for. Just check if they did it correctly. 😀

Oh, yeah, you are a part of National Health System (NHS) as soon as you register in UK. The system is funded through the taxes you pay and not the NI`s.

MORE USEFUL LINKS:

https://www.gov.uk/income-tax-rates

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tax-and-tax-credit-rates-and-thresholds-for-2015-16/tax-and-tax-credit-rates-and-thresholds-for-2015-16#bands-of-taxable-income-and-corresponding-tax-rates

Update 20th May 2015:

After receiving some questions from a very nice Marie Curie Fellow Luisa, I have to write down what we figured out together.

Everything that is written above will be over-viewed once I get a look of the first pay slip for the scholarship. But what I did realize that I wasn`t precise to point out that the above numbers are for the MC Fellowship call before the 2020 agenda. It seems that the conditions of the funding changed.

Now the two year funding results to a:

Euro 134,255 (living Allowance)

Euro 14,400 (mobility Allowance)

Euro 12,000  (family Allowance)

The offer letter in UK should be around these numbers:

The Gross Living Allowance should be £38,088.06 per annum. This amount does take into account opting into the specific pension scheme applicable for Luisa`s employer pension scheme. The mobility allowance will be £456 per month (£5,472 per annum). The family allowance will be £380 per month (£4,560 per annum).

These are the gross amounts. These amounts will be taxed (employee taxes and contributions) according to UK tax laws. First problem is that I cannot find the information if the mobility and family allowance are taxed. If they are not, then monthly net pay is this:

2.415 pounds monthly net from your living allowance after taxes and contributions + the mobility and family allowance in sum of 836 pounds per month – 3.251 pound all together.

If the mobility and family allowance are also taxed (gross taxed yearly income is then 48.120,06 pounds) than the monthly net pay is this:

2,936,32 pounds.

Both net amounts are before the opt out. Anyway, when you get your own offer letter (this is the point when you get your gross amount, your tax base), you can do the calculations on: http://www.uktaxcalculators.co.uk/

133 Comments

  1. Teo Teo
    3. 5. 2015    

    Hello! Thank you very much for this. I have won an ITN Marie Curie position in Edimburgh and I was still wondering how much the net salary will be, and now I have a clearer idea.
    Did you have any more precise information about for example the travel allowance? And do you know the precise net salary?
    Are you also in Scotland (it looks like so, by checking the blog!)?
    Bye,
    T.

    • danz01 danz01
      3. 5. 2015    

      Hi Teo,

      Unfortunately we will know the precise salary when Paula gets her first pay. This will be in about a month – we just moved to Dundee. So I will update this post when I know more. I know this now – she got a contract (first you receive an offer letter with the amount of your gross pay) with a gross pay (this amount means that the employers contributions have already been deducted) of approx. 46,000.00 pounds. This will be subject to tax and insurance contributions according to the explanations in this post. Next to this she has an untaxed mobility allowance of approx. 11,000.00 pounds. When you get your offer letter, insert the gross taxed amount into the tax and contribution calculator – link above. And you will get you net pay. But let me just tell you this – they will include you in the employer`s pension scheme. No matter what they tell you, you should have an opt-out option. This is something we are dealing with now. Hope everything goes well for you. Cheers,
      Dominik

      • Luisa Luisa
        12. 5. 2015    

        Thank you so much! I won a MC fellowship to UK and I am moving with my husband and my two children so it is very important to me to understand the budget so to plan family expanses!
        I guess we have the same gross/net salary…I will start in Agust but as I undestand the net salary schould be around 2,800-3000 pounds and opting out the pension scheme will give back around 7,000 pounds at the end of each year! Do you agree?
        Luisa.

        Answer:
        Hi Luisa,

        Sorry for replying so late, but we still have not received our internet. And doing this on my mobile internet takes a very very long time. So, my first advice to you would be that you order the internet at least two weeks before you move to UK :D. It seems that they take their time here providing internet service.

        About the net pay. My calculations are based on the data that I could get from internet and official acts and infos. Also, the calculations that I did in Excel match the results that I got on official calculators (links posted in the post). Still I would caution that the end net would probably differ from case to case. There are two main reasons for this. First is the inequality when taxing the mobility allowance. Some employers tax it because it is not expressly exempt from taxation by the UK legislation. In Scotland we received info that it will not be taxed. Second reason is the pension scheme. Every pension scheme is different. With Paula`s there is a 6% contribution from the worker from his gross pay and a 13% contribution on super gross pay. We have opted out just last week and that means that they will have to recalculate her gross pay again and change the contract. So we will not know her final gross and her net pay until she receives the first pay. This is why I cannot say how much you will save with opting out. Also you should decide if you want to opt out with regard to your long term plans – if you will continue to work in UK for a longer time, then maybe you should look at the opting out idea one more time. But I can say this, that even with the pension contribution a MC fellow here in Dundee gets more than 3,000 pounds net pay.

        Hope that helps. Kind regards,

        Dominik

        • Luisa Luisa
          14. 5. 2015    

          Thank yoi so much Dominik! This sounds reasonalble and I hope to exceede the 3,000 pìunds too! I’ll let you know!
          ps. Did you choose a house before landing to Dundee? Did it take long the whole process?
          Cheers!

          Luisa.

          Hi Luisa,

          I will send you a mail, explaining our process of finding a house here in Dundee. But yes, we already had a house before we got to Dundee. The process of renting can take at least a week to more than a month. Depending on the number of applicants and how lucky you are. The rest in the mail.

          Kind regards,

          Dominik

        • 9. 12. 2016    

          Hi Dominik,

          I am incorporating in a MC position in Glagow next week. I have an issue because I have been informed by the National Contact Point of Spain that the mobility allowance is taxable, and the gross amount I perceive sums upto 43200 ponts – 200 pounds over the limit of the medium tax band of 20% !!! This is so frustrating, but it will be OK if the mobility allowance is out of the calculations. Where did you hear that Scotland will not tax it? In order to conform.

          Thank you so much!!
          Jose

          • danz01 danz01
            12. 12. 2016    

            Hi Jose,

            As far as I am aware there is no unified approach regarding the taxation of mobility allowance – it depends on how the paying institution decides to tax it (which is completely wrong in my opinion and I do believe the tax authorities should be consulted regarding that). Regarding the 200 EUR above the higher tax rate, i wouldn´t worry too much because only the amount that surpasses the marginal amount will be taxed at the higher rate not the whole pay – this is called the progressive scale.

            Good luck with the MC Fellowship.

            Cheers, Dominik

  2. LC LC
    20. 5. 2015    

    Hi,

    I’m in Scotland too with a Marie Curie (FP7), and my university is taxing also the mobility allowance. Do you know if only Dundee University is not taxing the mobility allowance or if it something more general to all Scotland?

    Thanks,

    LC

    • danz01 danz01
      20. 5. 2015    

      Hi Lucia,

      First off let me stress that Paula is not employed in an University but in an Institute. Second, I was expecting the living allowance to be taxed. So the news that the living allowance is exempt from taxation came as a pleasant surprise. I read on the internet that some people tried to dispute the taxation of the living allowance by the employer (as I understand the HMRC did not issue a formal explanation that the living allowance should ot should not be taxed, so it is kind of the decision of the employer if he is going to tax it or not). You may decide to do the same.

      Cheers,

      Dominik

  3. Jesus Jesus
    1. 6. 2015    

    Thank you Dominik for your post, it is very helpful. I am following your entries and is a nice guide for those who will face this kind of experience.
    I also will start a Marie Curie fellowship in UK under 2014 call and with similar conditions as your family. I have two questions regarding the net salary.
    1- The mobility and family allowance have been taxed (around 2900 pounds) or not (around 3200)?
    2- You have mentioned that in this first salary the pension scheme it is included, and then, I imagine that this amount will change in the next month. Doyou know if once you opt out the pension scheme, the deducted money will be recovered in your next monthly salary or at the end of the year or the grant?

    Thank you very much for your kind help.
    Jesus

    • danz01 danz01
      1. 6. 2015    

      Hi Jesus,

      We have received our first pay slip and as far as I can see the mobility allowance has not been taxed. If it would have been, the tax would have been considerably higher. But as I said, it seems this (taxation or no taxation) is conditioned upon the decision of the employer. About the pension scheme and contributions. Paula opted out of the scheme immediately after she received her contract which means that she opted out before the first pay was transferred or the pension contributions deducted. So she received appropriately higher monthly pay from the first month on. I have seen some comments on the MC forum site that the pension money is transferred at the end of the year, but I cannot make sense of it. I think there is no reason for the money to be witheld until the end of the year. I also saw that one fellow stated that the money that was ment for the pension scheme was supposed to be transferred back EU now that he opted out. I think this is against the conditions of the fellowship. I would use any and all means to prevent that (starting with writing a letter to the EU Commission).

  4. Mary Mary
    4. 6. 2015    

    Hello, I really need some help here. I have received my contract for a Marie Curie Fellowship and it does not say if the salary is gross or not. With the USS pension scheme, the salary is said to be 33,565 pounds and without the pension scheme 37,255 pounds. I believe that those are not the numbers for the gross salary that you mention here (46,000 pounds). Can you advise my on what this is. I have already asked the university (Bristol), but it could take a while for them to answer.

    • danz01 danz01
      4. 6. 2015    

      Hi Mary,

      I believe these are your gross numbers. The employer will not give you a net estimate in your contract, he will give you your gross number and from that he will further deduct employee taxes and NI`s contributions. My numbers are based on the 2013 MC call IEF. Also in that year the correction factor was different for that year`s call. I do not know what your call funding conditions were, but they differ from year to year as I understand it. Are these numbers with or without your mobility allowance? There are a lot of factor that can influence the gross amount, so you should first check if your funding conditions are the same as in our case (I have written the “super gross” numbers in the post, also you should check the update that I did on the basis of the questions from Luisa).

      Hope this helps,

      Dominik

    • Jesus Jesus
      8. 6. 2015    

      Hello Mary,

      Which has been the university answer? Do you know something more about the salary conditions?

      Thank you,
      Jesus

      • danz01 danz01
        8. 6. 2015    

        Hi,

        Any feedback will be helpful to the other fellows. Thanks Mary and cheers to others,

        Dominik

  5. Nikos Nikos
    8. 6. 2015    

    Hi guys,

    I have just received my MC fellow contract in Southampton. So, after I opted out the USS pension scheme the (new) letter says that “”your gross monthly sterling salary will be £3,037″”. I have been confused about his whole thing. I assume that if gross is 3037 net will be between 2300 and 2400? Is that correct?

    Cheers,
    Nikos

    • danz01 danz01
      8. 6. 2015    

      Hi Nikos,

      All I can do for you is to direct you to the UK tax calculators. According to the UK Calculators your net will be around 2200 pounds. Otherwise I cannot tell you why your numbers are as they are, because your final pay is determined by the funding conditions and terms of your MC Scholarship.

      Hope this helps,

      Dominik

      • Nikos Nikos
        8. 6. 2015    

        Hi Dominik,

        Thanks for your answer. Yes I did also the same calculations, althought I didn’t know what the taxis base should be. I guess I have to wait for my first payment.

        • danz01 danz01
          8. 6. 2015    

          Hi Nikos,
          Actually don`t wait ffor the first pay, take a look at the super gross numbers (the entire yearly funding for your MC Scholarship) and compare it to the figures I have posted. If your figures per annum are lower than ours then that explains the difference. But if they are not, I would say that your gross is too low – but as I say it all depends on the funding conditions. OK?!

          • Nikos Nikos
            9. 6. 2015    

            yeah i guess the supergross is too low. Actually, it is 38158 pounds/year (mobility included). The initials gross in euro is 3110/month + 600/month mobility.
            So in the contract after I opted out the pension they offered me gross 3037 pounds/month. I guess it will be something 2300 net.

    • Mayank Mayank
      16. 9. 2015    

      Hi Nikos,

      Have you joined the course and received your first salary.

      I also got a call from University of Bristol.
      3741 euros (3110 euros with country correction applied) + 1100 euros (mobility and family allowance), is the figure I know.

      But if I opt out the pension, what will be the gross amount and net pay per month I can expect.

      Thanks
      Mayank

      • Nikos Nikos
        18. 9. 2015    

        Hi Mayank,

        I have joined from June and on. I have opted out from the pension scheme. We should have the same salaries as I see in UK. Opted out with family you should get around 2300+ net, gross around 3000. Opted out without family is around 2000+ net and 2600-2700 gross.

        Also my colleague is with family opted in he gets around 2000-2100 net.

        • danz01 danz01
          18. 9. 2015    

          Thank you Nikos for hands on information. These figures are quite different than ours, which are 3.700 pounds per month opted out of the workplace pension scheme.

          • Mayank Mayank
            19. 9. 2015    

            Hi Danz,

            3700 Pounds ler month is quite a huge amount.

            What is your super gross salary ?
            i.e. including tax, NI, pensions etc.

        • Mayank Mayank
          19. 9. 2015    

          Thank you Nikos.

          • Nikos Nikos
            20. 9. 2015    

            No worries. I agree with Danz. It cannot be so huge. You start your super gross at 4341(3110*1.201+600) euro which is 3100 pounds approximately.

  6. Sebastian Sebastian
    9. 6. 2015    

    Hello guys,

    I was also awarded a MC fellowship and will start my position in August at the University of Glasgow. Since I am also currently dealing with the salary conditions of the MC award I wanted to give a few (hopefully helpfull) remarks to some of the previous posts regarding the salaray.

    I think that the differences in the gross salary between different fellows could have various reasons:

    1. The super-gross sum is dependent on the family circumstances of the fellow. Fellows who are married or have chlidren will get 500,- Eur more super-gross/month than those without.

    2. The fellowship is awarded in Euro with a fixed value. The host institution within the UK then converts the monex payed by the European Commission into Pound Sterling (in general the exchange rate for Eur. to GBP is currently very bad, which reduces the money you will actually receive). Since the exchange rate varies every month, but you don’t want to get a different salary every month, the host institution will set a fixed exchange rate for the time of the whole fellowship. This exchange rate is normally very conservative and takes into account the expected development of the exchange rate. At the end of the fellowship you will get a final balanced pay taking into account the real exchange rate (so if they set the exchange rate lower than it actually was (what they certainly will do), you will get back the difference to the real exchange rate at the end of the fellowship). I am not sure but I assume that every host institution sets its own exchange rate and hence the salary of every fellow at a different institution might vary. (this is based on the information I received from the UoG grants team)

    Cheers
    Sebastian

    @ Dominik: Did you also claim child benefits?

    • danz01 danz01
      9. 6. 2015    

      Hi everybody and Sebastian especially,

      First off thank you for your comment. I have stated many times that the funding conditions vary, considerably if it is between different MC calls. Next to the elements that Sebastian described, differences can also stem from different correction factors. I have read somewhere that they were changed (lowered to be precise) and that can have a huge effect on your super gross. Then there are other factors that I have already written about (what part of the scholarship is taxed or not). You have to take these factors into account when trying to figure out how much your net is going to be. Just read Nikos`s reply and how much lower his per annum funding is. So, start with per annum figures (these should be determined by your funding conditions) and apply the principles described in this article. Don`t look at the end figures, because they may not apply to you. Meaning, you will have to do some calculations on your own. 😀 Hope it won`t be too much of a pain.

      Sebastian, about your question…no, we haven`t applied for child benefits because our pay (well Paula`s pay) is too high to be eligible for this benefit. I filled out a form I found on the internet and it gave me a number 0 pounds which means we are not entitled to the child benefits.

      Cheers guys,

      Dominik

    • Nikos Nikos
      14. 6. 2015    

      Hi Sebastian.
      I shall thank Dominik for his effort to make this blog because as we all understand helps a lot to find some answers in difficult questions.
      I was granted with a MC at Imperial starting at September.
      Sebastian how sure are you about the rate exchange and that it will be fixed at the end of the MC program? As far as i know the contract does not say anything about the amount in pounds but only the total amount in Euro is mentioned (which is supposed to be paid to you but with a different exchange rate). Did someone from the organisation that you are now told you? As far as i understand it is one of the two major problems for all of us.
      My second question is that if someone pay his pension in another country, does he obliged to pay NI in UK? I think that it is against the European rules but i don’t really know that. I just heard it in a conversation, nothing more.
      Thank you guys.

      • danz01 danz01
        15. 6. 2015    

        Hi Nikos,

        I am replying only in the part of the pension system questions. There is a regulation on the level of EU and here I have found something for you to read (it is a little hard to summarize a subject so vast as are the social security systems in EU): http://www.europarl.europa.eu/atyourservice/en/displayFtu.html?ftuId=FTU_5.10.4.html. But if you stay insured in the country of your origin then you will remain a tax resident there. You should be attentive also of the possibility of double taxation.

        I hope everything works out.

        Dominik

        • Nikos Nikos
          16. 6. 2015    

          Hi Dominik.

          Sorry for the daley but thank you very much for your interest and effort. Unfortunately i should do many things at the same time as September is behind the door. I would like to ask you if Sebastian can see my question (i mean if he receive an email with my comment) or you should contact him in order to get the question.
          Thank you again.
          Nikos.

          • danz01 danz01
            16. 6. 2015    

            Hi Nikos,

            Can`t help you here. If Sebastian sees your question I have no way of tracking that. And I haven`t got his permission to use his e-mail, which is used only to block out spam.

            Hope you find your answer.

            Cheers,

            Dominik

      • Sebastian Sebastian
        17. 6. 2015    

        Dear Nikos,

        Nice blog indeed and very informative. Well done Dominik!

        Regarding the exchange rate. All information was given to me by the head of the grants team of the University of Glasgow (UoG), which is the responsible unit dealing with all sorts of fellowships. Here is an extract of their reply to my question:

        “[…] As we use a slightly conservative exchange rate, you will hopefully (depending on exchange rate movements) receive a balancing payment at the end of the fellowship. […] Normally an exchange is set at the start of your appointment and so you are paid a consistent rate month to month. Your final payment is then adjusted to make sure the correct rate has been used overall. […]”

        For me this sounds as if the exchange rate is quite flexible between different institutions. I just wonder what would happen in case the exchange rate goes down even more over the next two years. Would it mean that in the worst case scenario I have to pay back some money at the end…!? In general I believe it would be way more straight forward if they just pay the fellowship in the local currency (as it is done for example by EMBO).

        Reagarding the final sallary the stated the following (just keep in mind that my familiy will move with me to Glasgow so I am entitled also to the family allowance):

        “[…] I’ve used a slightly higher exchange rate for the PAF estimate as well though so actual salary before employee tax will probably be around £40-45k. […]”

        But this still includes my and the UoG’s superannuation contribution to the pension scheme.

        One last thing I forgot to mention last time. I was given the information by the UoG’s grant team that the mobility allowance has to be taxed, according to UK taxation rules. Here again comes their reply to my question

        ” […] The mobility allowance is taxed and is just paid to you on top of your salary. In the past we have looked at other options but it just isn’t workable with UK tax rules. […]”

        For me that would mean that everywhere in the UK it is the same. But maybe some institutions interprete the rules differently.

        I hope that helps. Sorry for not replying earlier.

        Cheers
        Sebastian

        • Nikos Nikos
          19. 6. 2015    

          Thank you Sebastian.
          Your answer is very helpful. I will be in touch in case that i will have the answers that i am going to look from Imperial and UK’s government.
          Dominik, thank you again.

          Nikos.

    • Sebastian Sebastian
      26. 3. 2016    

      Hi Sebastian,

      I was also awarded am MC fellowship that should be tenured at the UoG. I found however that I hit a wall with the finance department who 1) did not consider the full amount of the living allowance (my contract states 5,000 EUR/month instead of 5,500 EUR) and of the mobility allowance (listed as 500 EUR, instead of 600 EUR) 2) used a ‘conservative’ exchange rate of 1.5 for the euro-pound conversion, which is totally ridiculous since the pound is at 1.3 now. Did you encounter such problems as well, and who was your contact in the finance department? I am trying to get them to use a more reasonable exchange rate and I will enquire with the EU about the exact amounts and why they have been changed. If you have any insight, I would very much appreciate it.

      Cheers,
      Sebastian

  7. Nikos Nikos
    12. 6. 2015    

    Hi guys,

    I was talking about living and mobility not family allowance.In my project the base is 3110euro/month and 600mobility/month. Another question is that they tax everything living and mobility. After I contacted them they told me that the regulation says:

    The mobility and family allowances are fixed amounts, regardless of the country
    of recruitment, and shall be excluded from taxation, where this is in line with national legislation.

    And they mentioned that in the UK mobility is taxable.

    Cheers,
    Nikos

  8. Matteo Matteo
    30. 6. 2015    

    Hi Guys,

    I’m the winner of a MC fellowship at the University of Nottingham as ESR.
    The MC coordinator said me that the base salary is 3110 Euros per month living allowance (subject to a UK correction co-efficient of 120.3% so 3741 Euros per month) plus 600 Euros per month mobility allowance, giving a total of 4341 Euros per month. However this is the whole of the EU contribution and is subject to employer’s on-costs, which are approximately 20%. This is the cost to us for employing someone in the UK (mostly employer’s National Insurance contributions). These are subtracted from the total allowance to arrive at your gross salary. We then use a fixed conservative Euro/Sterling exchange rate in order to protect both you and us from currency fluctuations. At the end of your fellowship we will add up the actual amount paid in Euros using the ECB exchange rate for each of the 36 months you have been paid, and any balance between this and the total Euro allowance (after tax) will be paid to you as a one-off top-up. Thus, the gross salary is £28,813 per annum (Research & Teaching Training Off Scale).

    Using the helpful (http://www.uktaxcalculators.co.uk/), I see that the net salary will be £22,680.04 per annum and £1,890.00 per month.
    someone know if this is a real month net salary? I mean, my colleague in Italy earns 3300€ per month with MC fellowship a s ESR.

    thank you,

    Matteo

    • Nikos Nikos
      2. 7. 2015    

      Hi Matteo,

      I am dealing exactly with the same situation (University of Southampton), I have the same salary, 4341 is the super gross. The costs to the employer is NIC(employers) and pension (In my situation they deduct also an amount for redundancy which is 83.33 pounds/month, we take it back in the end). You can calculate yourself these costs to the employer using this calculator: http://nicecalculator.hmrc.gov.uk/Class1NICs1.aspx
      In my case I opted out the pension scheme and I do have around 2000 net per month. I want to ask you what exchange rate are you using for the moment ? Here, they use 1.45 which is too much. I am trying to get a lower fixed exchange rate.

      BR,
      Nikos

      • Matteo Matteo
        2. 7. 2015    

        Hi Nikos,
        thank you for your reply.
        Honestly, I will start the first of september and I have been contacted as the successful candidate only in the last monday (29/06/2015). For this reason, I don’t have many information and I was searching info on the web when I found this page.
        However, I am not able to understand very well the UK taxes scheme.
        Can I kindly ask you, Nikos, to explain me how much taxes we need to pay? What do you mean with “I opted out the pension scheme”?
        In the meanwhile, I ask to my MC coordinator how much is the exchange rate and, then, I’ll let you know.
        Thank you.

        Matteo

        If you would prefer to talk privately my email is vagnofm@hotmail.it

        • danz01 danz01
          2. 7. 2015    

          Hi Matteo,

          Take time and read through the post where it explains the entire UK tax scheme also the pension specifics (also the optin out options). If you still do not understand then ask away. But I think that the post and the comments from fellows answer your inquiry. Hope you find your answers soon.

          Cheers,

          Dominik

        • Nikos Nikos
          3. 7. 2015    

          Hi Matteo,

          As Dominik mentioned reading the whole thread will make you have a clear image regarding everything. A quick response to your enquiry would be that you exclude from your gross amount the pension (employer’s side), taxes and NIC (employee’s side and employer’s side). You decide if you want to keep the pension or not (opt in or opt out, by default you will be opted in). For anything else let me know.

          BR,
          Nikos

      • Matteo Matteo
        14. 7. 2015    

        Hi Nikos,

        At the University of Nottingham they use a 1.5 exchange rate. It is a little bit high, I guess…

        Regards,

        Matteo

        • danz01 danz01
          14. 7. 2015    

          Thank you Matteo for the update. Considering that the rate nowdays is about 1.42 EUR for 1 pound Sterling it does seem a bit high. Have you asked them why such a high rate?

          • Matteo Matteo
            16. 7. 2015    

            Yes, I asked why they use this crazy exchange rate and if it could be possible to change it (decreasing it, obviously). They answered that it is not possible to change it and it is a conservative Euro/Sterling exchange rate in order to protect both me and them from currency fluctuations.

          • Fernando Fernando
            7. 7. 2016    

            Hi all,
            In the end of the project the rate will be corrected with the average of the 3 years. Maybe you receive some money , maybe you need to pay.
            cheers

          • danz01 danz01
            16. 7. 2016    

            I disagree. With our contract it is clear that the fellow does not need to return the money. That would be insane.

  9. Alex Alex
    27. 8. 2015    

    Hallo,
    does anyone know something about the net salary for a MSC IF fellow in Germany (without family allowance)?.
    Thank you

  10. Lucy Lucy
    3. 9. 2015    

    Hi everybody,

    I won a MC at the University of Birmingham, in the Standard EF Panel. I saw in a document that the Human Resource office sent to my Professor, that my COMMENCING SALARY will be 41880 pounds. Do you think mobility and family allowances are included in that amount? the initial euro sums were : 4650 euro/month for the living (to be corrected with the 120.3% coefficient), 600 euro/month for the mobility and 500 euro/month for the family.

    Thank you for your kind reply.

    Lucy

    • Fella Fella
      10. 10. 2016    

      Hi Lucy,
      Does your contract or your letter of appointment state any obligation for you to pay back to the university any money that have been “overpaid” to you?

  11. PJ PJ
    13. 10. 2015    

    Hello everyone,

    I have just started MC individual fellowship at a UK university and they tax both Mobility and Living Allowance. Moreover, in addition to the private pension scheme that you can opt out once you start your fellowship, there is an obligatory Employer N.I. which in my case is app. 10% of gross MLA per annum. The exchange rate according to which they calculate the salary is quite bad (1.51) but they do it in order to avoid overpaying the fellow and will top up all the remaining money from the budget at the end, if there is any, depending on currency fluctuations in the next two years. After the opt-out of the pension scheme my Gross Salary is £44.238.

    I still don’t know what is the exact net sum will be paid to me at the end of each month. When I make the calculation on-line (http://www.incometaxcalculator.org.uk/) it turns out that my net monthly wage should be £2748 pounds. We will see whether this will be the case once the first pay comes in.

    I hope that this post is helpful to other MC fellows who are planning to come to the UK.

    All the best,

    PJ

    • danz01 danz01
      13. 10. 2015    

      Thank you PJ. Cheers, Dominik

    • Jaime Jaime
      19. 3. 2016    

      Thank you for the information PJ,

      Could you please confirm whether finally the net monthly wage was the one you had calculated?
      I’m about to start my MSCA and I think that figures will, at least, be as the ones you are saying (if not a bit better due to the recent changes in EUR-GBP rates).

      I hope you can answer 😉

      Best!

      • danz01 danz01
        21. 3. 2016    

        Hi people (saying guys would be sexist I think),

        So, for those who are asking me whether the calculation that I did were done properly, the answer is yes. There were minor differences between the calculations that I did and those that were included on our pay slip. So use the instructions and your gross pay and you should get an appropriate estimate. That being said, you should NOT expect to receive the same end (net) amount. What is important is your starting gross amount (that could be very different than ours). I was in contact with one of the UK MC fellows a while ago and she told me that the end amount is much lower than ours. In the end we realized that she got a different gross – if I remember correctly, more than 10k pound lower, plus there were again problems with the opt-out.

        Regarding problems about the way the pay is calculated there is also the issue of the exchange rates between euro and Stirling pound. We are nearing our first year and during this year the pound has dropped considerably compared to the start of the year. This would mean that at the end of the year we should get an extra amount. However, we talked to another MC fellow here in Dundee and she told us that the employer told her this isn´t true. She did what I would have done in this case and wrote to Brussels where she got a formal explanation about the rules of exchange rates, which confirmed that the employer should make a recalculation at the end of the year (I will try to get this explanation and post the info about to whom she wrote).

        This also show you that if you are having problems with the employer, there are people that will deal with these issues in Brussels (like the nonsense about withholding the pension money even if you opted out). If this happened to us, I would write to anybody who can put some pressure on the institution to make the right calculation.

        Hope this helps,

        Dominik

  12. Flo Flo
    1. 2. 2016    

    Hi there,

    I’ll be starting at UCL in June/July and I am finding it very complicated to figure out pay system.
    I just sent a PDF with some salaries and I’m not sure if they seem correct or not.

    No Dependent & Pension £36,204.00
    No Dependent & Opt-out Pension £42,054.00

  13. lucia lucia
    21. 3. 2016    

    My University (Aston, Birmingham, UK) applies an exchange rate of 1.45 (!!). My net pay, after the opt-out option, is 2900 pounds. On the contract it is written that at the end of the two years they will made some correction on the sum they gave me and that I could receive some money back.
    Anyway I think it’s not so fair they apply such an high exchange rate. What do you think?

    Lucia

  14. 1. 4. 2016    

    Hi everyone,
    I just started a MC fellow at KCL London and my first payslip is just 2100pounds (I’m not entitled for family allowance). Why they said that they are offering a competitive salary? It is a normal post doc salary = ( My colleagues payed by Kings have a less gross salary but they are earning the same.

    • danz01 danz01
      2. 4. 2016    

      Hi everyone,

      We have a 1.37 exchange rate in the contract, which was the official rate at the time. The problem now is that the pound has dropped and that means the difference for the previous payments has to be covered by the employer. This is where it gets complicated, because they did not predict this expense in their budget. All I can say about other exchange rates is that it seems to be quite a problem for many MC recipients. Also, it is not OK that the employers are enriching themselves on the account of the money that was meant for the fellows. I think all the MC fellows should organize and write to the Commission about this, especially if you have already written to the employer and gotten vague answers without a proper presentation of all the calculations and facts. In my opinion this could be a case of unjust enrichment (this is not a substantiated opinion, mind you, it depends on the circumstances of each case), because the money that was awarded by the EU is seemingly being used outside of its original purpose. The more letters the commission receives regarding unjustly high exchange rates or unwillingness of the employer to pay out the difference, the more gravity this problem is going to get inside the EU commission. I mean, how can a higher gross than the national scholarship yield the same net amount – it does not make sense and there is no transparency to check how they come to the figures. I guess it is up to you MC Fellows to organize and see if there is something wrong in the ways things are being done or you can just stick it out and wait until it is all over.
      Cheers,

      Dominik

      • yana yana
        10. 5. 2016    

        Hi Dominik and everyone,
        I absolutely agree with you and it is not OK! I am happy to join you and I hope the other people will join us and write a letter to the EC. In my opinion, it would be better if we will cooperate and write and send a letter together for their consideration. I am a new fellow and I have a 1.5 exchange rate! My first day of fellowship was yesterday and in the same morning I could get my contract only! I have not signet it yet, because I hope to resolve the problems about exchange rate and Mobility (MA) and Family Allowance (FA) before. Also, I have a probation period for 6 months. What is I really don’t want to have in my contract as I have to pay for a flat as for 6 months in advance in this case. I was spoken with RIS office today. I was told that it is internal uni rules and cannot be changed. Also, MA and FA are paid directly to my bank account along with living expenses and are part of the total remuneration package and are taxable of course. But I am not going to spend this money on my living costs. I would like to get all this money in order to be able to travel to my family. I wonder if anyone has discussed the same issue with the other universities and what I can do to resolve this problem. I suggest we try and do something!
        Regards,
        Yana

  15. 20. 4. 2016    

    hello everyone! I just accepted a Marie Curie PhD position in york university! I received yesterday the offer of appointment which is 26,000 pounds per year but it doesn’t say if it is net or gross! What do you think? I am confused :/

    • danz01 danz01
      20. 4. 2016    

      Hi Helen,

      The offer letter is in gross. If you are not sure, write to the University and ask for explanation. They will probably answer that from this amount you have to pay tax and contributions. Let us know how it goes,

      Dominik

      • 20. 4. 2016    

        I have sent them email but they have not response to me yet!! But if it is gross then the net salary will be like a normal phd student! As I know the reduction is around 25% of gross salary! isn’t it? I am so confused!

        • danz01 danz01
          20. 4. 2016    

          Reduction is 20% for Tax and then the contributions, which vary depending on the pension system your employer is in. But for the general tax and contributions you should use the tax calculators that are provided in this post above. But yes, 26k pounds is a low amount, especially for England where the costs of living can be higher than here in Scotland. I was looking for job and saw some graduating and entry jobs that pay 23 – 28k pounds per year. In comparison a person with a PhD gets the same amount as some graduate. But as I said, write to the employer again if need be to get the proper information.

          Hope it goes well. Kind regards,
          Dominik

          • 20. 4. 2016    

            In addition they don’t write anything about mobility allowance etc! my program was Horizon 2020 Marie Curie which write that the gross salary is 3100 euro ! I can not understand why it is so low if its the gross salary :/ I have send to secretary second mail (5 days ago) and she continue not to reply to me! pff :/ 🙁

          • 20. 4. 2016    

            some PhD students in university told me that the “normal” Phd student do not pay any tax and they told me that they think it is the net salary :/ I don’t know :/

  16. NANA NANA
    6. 5. 2016    

    Hi,

    I got the MC Grant and now I will work in an UK University. I wanted to know why from a monthly salary of 5600€ I will get in pounds only 3700£. Then they take almost 700£ for the insurance and the pension scheme (I will tell them that I want to withdraw from the pension scheme). I also notice that the mobility allowance is a gross allowance, almost 360£ per month. At the end I will have a net salary of almost 2800£ (if I withdraw from the pension scheme). Can you please check with me if is that correct? It is something that I didn’t expect because before coming I paid the total amount rent for a flat almost 4000£ (Thanks God only for four month). If this is my real net salary I will have to find a cheaper rent after this four months. Thank you very much

    nana

    • yana yana
      11. 5. 2016    

      Hi Nana,
      Which university are you working in? I will get even more less than you… that I did not expect at all! I am trying to find out and sort it out at this moment.
      regards,
      Yana

  17. Prashanth Prashanth
    11. 5. 2016    

    Thanks Dominik for the effort to document this process.
    Following Luisa’s input (which holds for Individual Fellowships under H2020; mobility and family allowances being taxed and not subjected to the country correction coefficient 1.203), the following formula gives you the fellow’s gross pay, i.e. the after deduction of the on-costs (Employer’s NIC and total USS contributions).

    gross pay = (0.7*80327.4 + 672*12*0.138)/(1.138 + 0.08 + 0.18)

    80327.4 = EC Annual Allowance in Euro.
    0.7 = a very conservative exchange rate fixed by the university at the start
    672*12 = annual amount beyond which the employer (takes from EC fund) should pay NIC.
    13.8% = rate at which Employer NIC is computed.
    8% = Fellow’s USS contribution (optional)
    18% = Employer’s (takes from EC fund) USS contribution (optional)

    Some aspects which will affect your gross monthly pay:
    * Current exchange rate is 0.78 (variable; notable fluctuations in your pay)
    * Opt-out of USS (significant hike!)
    * Details of USS which complicates the formula (small variations)
    * Employer allowance (per business and not per employee) of 3000GBP which effectively is tiny for large universities.

    You can then use the salary calculators mentioned elsewhere in this blog to compute your net pay.
    Note that such online calculators take your gross pay as the starting point.

  18. Johnson Johnson
    19. 5. 2016    

    Thanks Prashanth for the formula and it should be correct.

    Just to want to make it clear, if I choose to opt out of the pension, there should be only one part that the employer could hold from EC allowance before I can see my gross salary, which is NIC, at a rate about 13.8% with first ~670*12 of the salary not counted. Am I correct? That means the pension part of 18% which is named to be paid by employer but actually by my allowance should come back to my gross salary. Is that the case to you? Thank you!

    • Prashanth Prashanth
      21. 5. 2016    

      Yes Johnson, you understood it right.
      As per the EC rules for MSCA-IF the costs which the host institution can claim from the fellow’s allowances (living+mobility+family) are eligible only if it is used for the benefit of the fellow. Clause “6.2 A c)” of the EC grant agreement discusses this aspect.
      Kate Butler’s (2013; Oxford University) document mentioned (and linked) by Dominik also explains this point.

      Deductions from the allowances towards USS (pension scheme) may not be such a bad thing if the fellow can withdraw it at the end of the fellowship and decides to move out of UK. This should be discussed with the respective pensions office of the host institution.
      As mentioned earlier in this blog, USS opt-out is a possibility only after you join the host institution and by default all fellows are signed-in.

      I will start my fellowship in September. My conclusions are from what I have read and understood from the EC Grant Agreement and the host’s offer letter. So far the numbers have matched.

      • Johnson Johnson
        22. 5. 2016    

        Thank you very much Prashanth, I am also starting mine from the end of this summer. Looks like I have to sign the contract first and then opt out of the pension when I arrive.

  19. Hen Hen
    23. 5. 2016    

    Helle everyone,

    I just received my contract. I’ll work at Leeds University. They applied me a very conservative change (0.68):

    These are the results:
    Living allowance: £45.646 (amount per year)
    Mobility allowance: £ 4.896 (no family allowance in my case)
    Total: £50.542
    Total deduction for employers: £ 11.416
    Total gross salary £ 39.126

    that means a monthly salary of £ 3.260 that will be subjected to UK income tax and National Insurance deduction
    I think my net salary will be around £2.500 per month; that’s quite far away form the amount I was expecting form a MCF

    Am I right? Could you please give me a feedback on this issue?

    • danz01 danz01
      25. 5. 2016    

      Hi Enrico,

      If you have calculated the super gross and the employer deductions correctly (arriving at your gross salary), then yes, the net seems to be appropriate.

      For everybody else – we got the decision that the employer will not be recalculating the exchange rate difference this year because there is no need for it. We have asked for a written explanation and are waiting for it.

      Will keep you updated.

      Cheers,

      Dominik

      • yana yana
        25. 5. 2016    

        they told me the same: any decision would not be made in the near future.

    • yana yana
      25. 5. 2016    

      My gross salary at Bath University is worse than yours. Also, I could not get my mobility allowance to be added to the living allowance in the contract. It is not nice that the same fellows are treated differently in the same country.

  20. 6. 6. 2016    

    Hi there,

    I was awarded a 2-year Marie Curie a few months ago and one of my main concerns was the net salary. I found this site and it was so helpful. Thank you so much!

    Just in case this helps, I will tell you about my case. My numbers are very similar to Luisa’s, the Marie Curie Fellow mentioned at the beginning of the post:
    Euro 134,254 (living Allowance)
    Euro 14,400 (mobility Allowance)

    As you can see, I don’t have a family allowance. Today I signed my contract, which specifies an exchange rate of 0.67 (specifically, 1.5 EUR = 1GBP). Yes, they are very conservative… So, my yearly supergross salary in euros is (134,254+14,400) / 2 = 74,327, which in pounds is 74,327 x 0.67 = £49,551. Immediately after signing the contract, I opted out of the USS pension scheme. So, I asked the HR services to calculate my gross salary by deducting employer’s NI costs from the supergross salary. Finally, my gross salary is £44,199.79 per annum. As you can see, the employer’s NI costs in my case amount to £5,352.

    To calculate my net salary they told me to use a salary calculator (www.salarybot.co.uk), which gives a net amount amount of £2,758.53 per month. This is because i OPTED OUT of the USS pension scheme, which represents 26% of deductions of the supergross salary (8% employee’s contribution and 18% employer’s contribution). Otherwise, I guess that my salary would be nearer to 2,000 rather than 3,000.

    I hope this helps!

    • danz01 danz01
      7. 6. 2016    

      Thank you Javi for your information on the pay. I am sure many people will find this very helpful.

      Cheers,

      Dominik

      • Javier Javier
        7. 6. 2016    

        It’s a pleasure.

        • Hen Hen
          7. 6. 2016    

          Dear Javier,

          are you sure you can deduct employer’s NI costs from the super gross salary? In my case, my HR office said that we have to pay NI as it’s a legal requirement,

          all the best

          • Javier Javier
            7. 6. 2016    

            Maybe “deduct” was not the correct word, sorry.

            What I meant is that you have to *pay* both the employer’s and the employee’s NI costs. Your living+mobility allowances in pounds represent the supergross salary. When you pay the employer’s (the university’s) NI costs, then what remains is your gross salary. Recall that if you opt into a pension scheme, you also will need to pay for it, so the gross salary will be lower. Then, you pay for the taxes and the employee’s NI costs, and what remains is your net salary. You can calculate it by employing one of the salary calculators available in the Internet.

            To summarise:

            Supergross salary = Living allowance + mobility allowance (+ family allowance, if existed). You need to transform this amount to GBP.
            Gross salary = Supergross salary – employer’s NI costs (- pension contributions, if you didn’t opt out). Your HR department should be available to tell you what are the employer’s NI costs.
            Net salary = Gross salary – taxes – employee’s NI costs. You can calculate this with a salary calculator.

            I hope this helps.

  21. 7. 6. 2016    

    Hello! I have accepted as Marie Curie PhD student in York University and my gross salary is 26.300 pounds/year! I have calculated that my net salary (taxes+NI) will be sth around 20.500 pounds/year! I would like to ask you how much I will earn if i will opt out of pension because I don’t know if there is any meaning to pay for pension if I change country after my PhD! Thank you in advance 🙂

    • Jaime Jaime
      1. 8. 2016    

      Dear All,
      I’m starting my MSCA in London in October. As Helen I am now trying to understand the pros and cons of opting out the pension scheme. It looks like most of the people here opted out, but was it because it does not make sense to have it or because you then have a better monthly salary to cover the costs?
      By the way, I just got some “fresh” information about my MSCA salary: despite the exchange rate has substantially changed, they keep on applying the 1.52 rate. From an initial €160,654.80 budget for two years (including family allowance) I will end up having a gross salary at UCL of either £39,154 or £45,504, depending on whether I choose to contribute to the pension scheme or not. It looks like a lot of money will be retained due to the exchange rate estimations, but they warned me that typically the final payment to correct imbalances is not too high…
      Anyways, thank you for any information you may provide,
      Best wishes!

      • Yana Yana
        1. 8. 2016    

        Hi Jaime,
        I have opted out from the pension because I will be able to safe money as I want. Anyway, all amount comes from your fund without any contribution from an university.

        • Jaime Jaime
          1. 8. 2016    

          Aha! good point 😉
          Doesn’t the state pay any amount for the pension either? In that case, the only benefit of keeping the pension would be the lower gross salary from which taxes are calculated, right? (assuming there is no problem in moving the pension to another country once you are finished in the UK…).
          Best wishes!

  22. Chris Chris
    22. 6. 2016    

    I have a question to all MSC-IF fellows. What do your conditions say about a situation when the University pays you more than it receives from the EU? Do you have to pay back the difference or not (from your own pocket)? For example, let’s say that at today’s exchange rate your grant amount allows to pay you 2 500 pounds (net) a month. So, the total employer’s costs over 24 months are about 5 000 * 24 = 120 000 pounds (remember that the employer’s costs include employer’s NI, then you get the gross amount from which you need to subtract employees NI and taxes, so your 2 500 net is almost twice that in employers cost). What do your contracts say about a situation when, because of exchange rate changes, the amount in EUR obtained from the grant is less than these 120 000 pounds? Do you have to give back any money from your own pocket or does your university cover it from its own funds?

    • danz01 danz01
      25. 6. 2016    

      It was explained in the scholarship documentation that in these cases the hosting institute has to cover the cost. This is very likely the reason for the unfavorable exchange rates.

      Kr, Dominik

      • Rike Rike
        16. 5. 2017    

        Maybe I get the system completely wrong, but isn’t the drop of the pound in our favor (since you get more pounds for the same amount of Euros)?
        So at the moment the exchange rate is indeed in everyone’s favor (as long as the university pays you back the difference).

        • danz01 danz01
          18. 5. 2017    

          Hi Rike and everybody,
          Yes, you are quite right. For all of the MC felloes that have the initial exchange rate in their fellowship contracts set above what is currently considered the market exchange rate will benefit from the weak pound. And that could definitely be considered as a good thing.
          Our experience has definitely been positive regarding that as our institution has paid an extra 17,000 pound (super gross mind you – that means we got roughly about 10,000 pounds extra we did not plan to get, which is like winning a loto) in the last month of my wife´s project.
          However, there is a trick to all of this, at least how they calculated the difference in our case. It is a change game, one that you could very likely lose. The thing is that the organisation took the exchange rate on the last day of the fellowship and recalculated the whole amount of the scholarship (the initial sum) and then calculated the difference that was already paid out. While this might not seem wrong to most of you, it is a huge gamble, for you and for the organisation you work for. It all depends on how the exchange rate is moving and it is moving drastically – believe me I have been following the movements of euro-pound exchange for the last 6 months.
          I use this site: http://www.xe.com/currencyconverter/convert/?From=GBP&To=EUR – not the pound is below 1.17 but last week it was above 1.19. That could meant several thousands of difference in the last calculation.
          So, this has implications on your last pay-out and also how you transfer money back to your home country. I know most of you have a British bank account (probably all of you as it is a condition of employment very likely). British banks have a much less favourable exchange rate, which means you will get less euros for your pound. Bank usually also do not change the rate as the market estimates. Therefore, if you are like us and have the xe. page always opened, you can save some money if you use online money transfers that do use the market exchange rate. As I do not wish to promote any here, do some research regarding the transfers and transfer your money wisely (there is a hint in this sentence for you). We have made some calculations and came out with almost 500 euros saved in the last week compared to the exchange rate that our bank gives us (we needed to transfer the money because my wife wishes to redecorate the apartment before we move back home next month).
          I truly hope this helps. Best to all of you,

          Dominik

          • Jaime Jaime
            30. 5. 2017    

            Thanks for this comment, it’s quite useful!

            However, there is one thing I’m not sure I get: the contract period of your wife covered both, pre- and post-Brexit referendum periods, right? (something like half of time before and half of the time after?). If that is the case, shouldn’t the exchange rate that you explain they used to correct imbalances benefit you in this case? (the average exchange rate in the last 2 years is way over the current exchange rate).

            Maybe I missed something. Researchers are definitely awful when it comes to money issues *|*

          • danz01 danz01
            31. 5. 2017    

            Hi Jamie,

            As I said it is a lottery and we won (that is why I stated that the experience with the exchange rate for us was positive). For others it may be even more positive or it could be very frustrating if the pound strengthens towards the end of their fellowship, while during it they could have lost a lot if they needed to transfer the money under the low exchange rate while the fellowship itself was calculated according to some very high rates – as it is indicated in some of the comments here.

            Hope this clarifies things.

            Cheers,

            Dominik

          • Jaime Jaime
            31. 5. 2017    

            Just to add more info in this regard, this is what my fellowship agreement says (I think it is implying that the average exchange rate along the period of the scholarship will be used to calculate the final correction, which is what would seem more fair… but who knows!):

            3.4 The rate for the conversion of Euro into GBP is the current UCL institutional exchange rate of Eur.1 = £0.70, which will be subject to change during the duration of the EC Contract.
            3.5 In line with Article 20.6 of the MSCA Grant Agreement, the Host Institution will convert the costs recorded in its accounts into Euro at the average of the daily exchange rates published in the C series of the Official Journal of the European Union as reported on the European Central Bank website, calculated over the corresponding reporting period. At the end of the Project, the rate will be adjusted to accord with the actual payment effected by the European Commission and any difference will be credited to the Researcher.

            I hope this helps too! I’m working at UCL btw.

            Thanks again Dominik!

    • Javi Javi
      25. 6. 2016    

      Hi! I made a comment on this post a few weeks ago where you will find the answer. When you sign your contract, they state a fixed exchange rate for the total time of your fellowship. That rate won’t change during your fellowship, so you will always be paid the same amount. Of course, it is a very conservative rate. For instance, in my case they stated a rate of 1.5EUR = 1GBP, which is so unreal right now. They do it not to pay you more than expected any month. Instead, you will be paid less than you expected, but every month the same salary.

  23. Johnson Johnson
    6. 7. 2016    

    Hi, guys!

    How do you think about the currency exchange rate between GBP and EUR? It has been dropping dramatically in a short time ever since the referendum. Anything we can do about our salary that has not been paid for next year? Any suggestions for those who haven’t signed their contract yet?

  24. Dana Dana
    8. 9. 2016    

    Hi,

    Cheers for this forum – timely and interesting.
    I’m a new MSC fellow in the UK. Can anyone suggest me a consultant, a person or a firm, with whom I can sort things out? I don’t really have time to make calculations or to check wether my university is behaving in compliance to the many EC rules. I would prefer to consult with an expert who takes a look at my contract and at the grant agreement and tells me what I should expect, claim, etc. I guess this sort of cconsultation can be done via email or Skype – maybe a consultant firm in Brussels that is familiar with MSC fellowships?
    I know it’s money, but reading above about all the gray areas that this fellowship implies, it may well turn out to be an investment rather than a mere expense.
    Thanks for any suggestion!
    Dana

    • danz01 danz01
      8. 9. 2016    

      Hi Dana,

      We have been wondering the same thing, but I haven´t been able to find anyone in the UK that would have any kind of knowledge about the treatment of MSC Fellows. If you do find somebody in UK or in Brussels, please write here on this blog with the information and an approximation of the costs for such advice. I think soon all MSC fellows in UK will need one (due to the drop of the pound and the unwillingness of the UK Institutions to recalculate the exchange rate). Just a word of caution, if the institution is unwilling to recalculate, the only other dispute resolution direction is to find a solicitor and go to courts. This can be a risky, time consuming and costly endeavour. I think this is something the institutions know and are counting on as a deterrent for the fellows.

      Thank you for your comment and kind regards,

      Dominik

  25. Hen Hen
    21. 9. 2016    

    Dear all,

    good morning everyone. I just started my MC here in UK. At the moment there’s a great difference between the exchange rate applied by my University and the real one, that means a difference in around 1.000 £ por month. I just received the following message from my HR office about this issue:

    “The European Office keep an eye on this and will review it if the difference becomes significant and and they feel that that the exchange rate will be stable at the new level. However, shortly after the end of the contract you will receive a payment of the balance. The payment can’t be made before this time as the exchange rate for the entire time of the project is based on the rate on the final day (or the day after?)”

    That seems to me a nonsense: the exchange rate can change a lot in two years, what about your experience on this issue?

  26. Prashanth Prashanth
    21. 9. 2016    

    I started my IF on 01-Sep-2016 in Manchester, UK.
    There should be a clause in the terms and conditions of your work contract. For instance in my contract it says:
    “It will initially be paid based on an exchange rate of 0.7 and may be adjusted throughout
    your appointment based on changes to the exchange rate. The exchange rate will alter in
    accordance with the Marie Curie Individual Researcher Agreement (EC Contract Number
    H2020-MSCA-IF-2015-EF).”

    As you can see they do refer to the MSCA agreement that the host has signed when accepting the grant on their side.
    I would suggest you read the grant agreement document (around 90 pages).
    I know it is a mouthful but this is what you should refer to first when in doubt.
    I remember there was a section that addresses the exchange rate.
    Usually hosts employ a payroll strategy which suits best to the existing mechanism and there seems to be no common standard in the UK.
    In any case this should be mentioned in the terms and condition of your work contract and discussed before signing it.

    Hope this info helps you.
    –Prashanth.

    • Hen Hen
      21. 9. 2016    

      Dear Prashanth,

      many thanks for your answer, my only doubt is about the following sentence from my HR office: “the exchange rate for the entire time of the project is based on the rate on the final day (or the day after?)”. It means that if there will be a severe fluctuation of the exchange rate near the end of the fellowship (in both direction) this will have a consequence on all the fellowship. This issue seems to me to be very important to all MC fellows, especially now after the Brexit,

      all the best,

  27. Prashanth Prashanth
    21. 9. 2016    

    I do not know how you should proceed here.
    If I were you, I will negotiate with the HR if this arrangement was not explicitly mentioned in your work contract.
    I recall reading a similar comment in this blog (about adjustments being made at the end of the fellowship) some time ago.
    Hope they will read your query and respond.
    –Prashanth.

    • danz01 danz01
      21. 9. 2016    

      Hi to both Hen and Prashanth,
      Yes, there is a clause regarding the exchange rate in the bilateral contract and also in the fellowship documentation. However, in practice it is a problem how the host institute interpret the provisions. I will not get into any details at the moment, but our host institute has decided not to do any recalculations as it is not necessary in their opinion – usually they do not explain further than this.
      Because we have a different view on the provisions on exchange rate, we can either let it go or sue them.
      I know this doesn´t help, but I will keep you posted on any further developments.
      Kind regards,
      Dominik

      • Jaime Jaime
        26. 9. 2016    

        Hello everyone,

        I don’t know if this is useful but here is the sentence I received from UCL administration regarding the balance:
        “(… after explaining how they obtain your gross salary …) This is how the salary is calculated. However – as you correctly mentioned – at the end of the project, once we know the amount we have paid to you and the total amount which we have received from the EC, if there is any difference and we have additional funds remaining, these will also be paid to you.”

        I’m also curious about how to handle this issue. At the moment (with the current exchange rate) applying 1.4 rate seems to result in a huge loss of money for us.
        Let’s see if someone points us in the right direction.
        Best,
        Jaime

        • danz01 danz01
          27. 9. 2016    

          Hi Jaime,

          I think any information regarding this subject will be useful, so thank you. The problem of course is the part of the sentence “additional funds” which can be understood in many ways. In our case the host institute is already dealing with lack of funds, which means that they would interpret this as that there are no additional funds available for refund.

          If anyone has any experience with this, meaning that they have received the refund for the exchange rate difference or has been denied the refund, please write your experience here. It will be very useful.

          Thank you all for commenting and helping.

          Cheers,

          Dominik

  28. Ramana Reddy Mittapalli Ramana Reddy Mittapalli
    7. 10. 2016    

    Again pound significantly decreasing exchange rate. With in next two months it should be 1.05 something.
    Better way is we need to raise our voice on unity to European commission. Please think about which is the better way to contact European commission. I won’t believe UK system.
    Good way is contact European commission.

    • danz01 danz01
      7. 10. 2016    

      Hi everybody,
      Today I am writing specifically in context of the exchange rate. Two things are clear from all your comments. Host institutions have different approaches towwards the recalculation of the awarded scholarship, but most seem to use a very unfavourable exchange rate for the fellow. Second, the hosts are unwilling to take into account the drastic fall of the pound this year.

      I have again checked the contract that my wife signed with her host organisation and unfortunately the host institution can recalculate the amount usign the new exchange rate at their discretion. Discretion means tthat they can basically do whatever they decide and have no obligation to recalculate during the fellowship. Our exchange rate was at the start 1,357 EUR / pound, which was not as bad as some´s that have commented on this blog. Despite this, we have been regularly asking for a recalculation, which, for now, the host has been unwilling to do. The last time we asked, we received this explanation, which is in line with the clause in the contract:

      This will not be required for the final report as the clause in your Contract regarding the euro exchange rate is between JHI and yourself to ensure that JHI does not pay you more than awarded.

      I hope the following explanation helps you to understand why this is in place:-

      All the Marie Curie Fellowships now have a clause in their Contract to advise that we will review their current annual salary to the current euro exchange rate. The reason for this is that JHI could potentially make a loss at the end of the project if the euro exchange rate has differed dramatically from the original euro exchange rate used at the time the project was set-up.

      As per EU guidelines for the final report, we have to use the euro rate as per the European Central Bank website the day after the last day of the project. During the final month of your project, I will calculate the total salary you have received throughout the duration of the project and convert this to Euros using the current daily rate on the ECB website. I will then compare this to the total that JHI will be funded and the difference will be what you receive in your final month’s salary. Therefore you may receive an extra payment in your final salary as we have to pay you all the funding awarded but this will be dependent on the euro exchange rate at this time.

      Regardles of what is written here, or based on it, it seems to fall down on one day exchange rate (the day when they will calculate the last pay, which is basically a game of chance for both sides. Therefore, I think that writing to the EU commission would be a good idea, if not for other reason, but just to make them aware of the problem.

      We have a colleague in the host institution, who has done just that. Here is a response form a EU commission representative, that she wrote to:

      Dear XXX,
      Those are the various rules that should be taken into consideration when fixing the right exchange rate.
      Please refer to the provisions of the Grant Agreement:

      Article II.5.4:
      Costs shall be reported in Euro. Beneficiaries with accounts in currencies other than the Euro shall report costs by using, either the conversion rate published by the European Central Bank that would have applied on the date that the actual costs were incurred, or its rate applicable on the first day of the month following the end of the reporting period.

      Article III.3.1:
      … Notwithstanding specific issues already governed by European Community and European Union legislation, the agreement shall specify in particular:
      f) the conversion and exchange rate(s) used, including the reference date(s) and source(s), when payments are made in a national currency other than the Euro;
      And according to the Marie Curie financial guidelines:
      “If the researcher has actually been paid an amount which, after conversion to Euros, is lower than the flat rate allowance defined in the Grant Agreement, a corrective payment is to be done by the host organisation at the end of the reporting period in order to compensate the previous underpayments.
      If the amount actually paid to the researcher by the host institution is higher than the one defined in the Grant Agreement and its Annexes, the host institution will have to support the extra costs with its own budget: the allowances reimbursed by the EU will not exceed those defined in the Grant Agreement and its Annexes.”
      Considering the above, the fellow should get in touch with her employer in order to receive clarifications and negotiate a review of the rate applied to her salary.
      I hope this helps you.

      Best regards

      I have deleted the names, but I think it is OK to reveal the adressee at the Commission as they are a public EU servants – she wrote to a Fabio Di Tomasso at the Directorate-General for Research & Innovation, as far as I could find out. However, the upper letter from the Commission reveals only that the host has the obligation to recalculate at the end of the reporting period. In our contract the reporting period is one year, however the obligation has been set at the end of the scholarship and not yearly (yearly recalculation is done at the discretion of the host). I am not sure if that is in accordance with the Grant Agreement and guidelines, but it seems dubious to me that the Commission would leave the recalculation of the amount down to the exchange rate of one day.

      Let the revolt begin I say :D, or at least the effort to make things clearer for us and the future fellows.

      Cheers,

      Dominik

  29. lucia lucia
    7. 10. 2016    

    I totally agree with Ramana. I asked my university to renegotiate the exchange rate, which is quite unrealistic (1.45) and they say that it was not unrealistic one year ago when I started (really? I don’t think it was so high). Moreover, they are not sure it will remain low in the next year, so they suggested me to wait until the end of the fellowship (October 2017) when I could receive a certain sum to compensate this. But come on, it’s a lot of money we are loosing and I don’t think they will give us back all we are entitled to.
    We should definitively contact the EU. Do you know how to do that??

  30. Anita Anita
    9. 10. 2016    

    Hi everyone,
    I’m a fellow in the UK under 2014 rules. My university has given me a budget for research costs (e.g. fieldwork) as a set amount in pounds (14,500). Of course the value is plummeting & currently 20% less than a colleague’s based in NL & paid in Euro. This is a concern as my project requires fieldwork in multiple sites outside the UK that are quite expensive to stay in. As I understand, our research costs are paid to the beneficiary organisation at a set rate of 800 Euro/month. It seems odd that the university does not correct the amount. If they pay me a flat rate in pounds, that equals less than the 800 euro per month, I imagine they’ll end up with extra funds, but I won’t be able to use them as research will be over. Is anyone having a similar experience? Or does anyone know what the rules should be? I’ve asked my finance department about their policy re. research costs and Brexit related pound fluctuations, but to my annoyance, they keep sidestepping the policy question and just repeating the flat amount in pounds. Thanks for any ideas! Anita

  31. JC JC
    19. 10. 2016    

    Dear All,

    Here is a proposal about informing the European Commission. After reading your messages, it is clear that all UK universities apply a conservative (sometimes ridiculously so) exchange rate. As I see it, this bears two problems: 1. We fellows get less than what the actual rate would allow. 2. The University is keeping a certain sum of money for a certain period (12 to 24 months). The first problem is clear and it is the reason why we are discussing. I would say, if a lawyer would study this issue and offer their services, they could make a lot of money (lawyers out there, get in touch!).

    The second problem is also serious, and perhaps more than the first one. By holding for a certain period a certain sum (which according to the current exchange rate, might also reach 25,000-30,000 Euro), universities have the opportunity to raise money by investing this sum. Sure thing, the profit cannot be that high, but imagine a hypothetical 4% annual interest rate for two years – this can reach up to 2,500 GBP. Universities are desperately raising money, as they are increasingly turning into corporations. If each university has several fellows, moreover, this sum can get pretty high. UK Universities, especially big ones, get normally several fellows every year.

    While the first problem has material implications for us and they are indeed serious (yet they are usually mitigated by the re-calculation of the salary at the end of the fellowship), the second problem has serious ethical and potentially legal implications. Universities, according to European Commission rules, cannot make profits from the Marie Curie Program. However, this is what is apparently happening, without the European Commission being aware (or wanting to be aware).

    So, here is my proposal – let us write a joint statement to the European Commission, informing them about this twofold problem. It would be a general description for the only sake of informing public authorities about where European tax payers money is used. And let’s include this URL in the letter. It will be up to them to decide what to do.

    Please let me know your ideas on this.

    JC

    • Fella Fella
      24. 10. 2016    

      I don’t want to discourage anyone, because I agree that what is going on is a robbery and some fuss has to be made. I just honestly don’t think the EC will do much (or rather: anything).

      I personally have another “interesting” situation, namely my university wants to have provisions in the contract that will allow them to retroactively (!) recalculate my salary depending on how much money they will have after converting EUR to GBP, and yes, including the last lump of money that they are going to receive from the EC at the end of the project (about 55k EUR in my case). Their idea is that if I am “overpaid” they want me to return money (!). At this point I have not even managed to make them tell me openly how this “overpayment” is to be calculated (e.g. I get contradictory answers regarding if it is the net or the gross amount).

      I tried to negotiate with them (to no avail, so far) and also asked EC to help / advice. The EC did absolutely nothing to resolve this. If you find a person in the EC genuinely trying to help I would gladly contact them regarding my problems also.

      • Charlotte Charlotte
        19. 5. 2017    

        Hi Fella,

        I have the same problem right now, they used a ridiculous exchange rate of 1.47 at my host. They said they don’t want to overpay me so in the end I won’t return them a large lump of money. But this sounds so crazy. They said:

        The Grant Agreement requires us to report actual costs calculated using an average exchange rate over the reporting period as per the EU Horizon2020 standard financial reporting procedures. As a result, the exact sterling amount of your salary package can only be confirmed at the end of each reporting period. Any over or underpayment due to the difference between the conversion rate stated in this contract and the average exchange rate determined by the European Commission will be corrected at the end of each reporting period.

        But the question is how long this reporting period happened? Do you have any negotiation result with your institute?

  32. Luisa Luisa
    22. 10. 2016    

    Hi Dominik!

    I am just starting asking a “contract reconciliation” due to the incredible fall of the pound. I am indeed citing the grant agreement and also what stated at the beginning of my fellowship! The reporting period was one year and they seem not recalling about the computation of a corrective payment I was ensured of. Let’s see what it will be their final official answer. Thanks a lot for your knowledge sharing and for this blog!

    • danz01 danz01
      22. 10. 2016    

      Hi Luisa,

      Hoope it is a positive answer for you and your family. It is nice to hear from you. 😀

      Kr,

      Dominik

  33. Prashanth Prashanth
    25. 10. 2016    

    I think it will help to propose an alternate solution during the discussions/negotiations.

    The payroll strategy explained in the following link might suit good.
    http://nadukandi.es/msca_if_payroll.html

    If possible please check if the proposed strategy is sound and suitable.

    Cheers.
    Prashanth.

    • Luisa Luisa
      26. 10. 2016    

      Hi Prashanth,

      I think your model is not exactly an answer…the finance people will find it complicated I guess! Moreover the real question is if the want to do the “top up” or not!
      Never the less is not true that in Uk the family allowance is not always taxed…this is again a decision of the institution, as the EU commission suggests not to tax them!
      So we should stick to the real problem: we should be granted they will make the correction due to the exchange rate they applied in the beginning that results now unfair . In my case they are still trying to understand who shall deal with this…and then they will give the answer. They were not ready I guess for this heavy fall…so they are struggling with what to do. My next step will be contacting the EU commission.

      Keep me updated!

      • danz01 danz01
        26. 10. 2016    

        Hi Luisa and Prashanth,

        Thank you for comments from both of you. In reality it is not as simple as mathematics, because there are agreements already set down and some people are unable to negotiate different recalculation than it is set for most – meaning the once a year recalculation. We have an agreement where it is stipulated that the recalculation is done once a year and even then the repayment is at the discretion of the institute – except at the final year (I will get back to this in a moment). Also, it varies from host to host who does the calculations of the pay. The point being, we will not solve this problem here. The battle must be fought with each and every host in the negotiations and I fear there will be no simple solution (the calculation you are referring to is not permitted in the host institute where my wife works, because they claim it makes them lose money – I find this strange, but I cannot prove otherwise than to take them to court, because their informal explanations are very scant and unsubstantiated).

        On a more positive note, we have gotten an answer from the host and they have revealed that there is a considerable amount of money that will need to be paid to us at the end of the fellowship due to currency changes. The bad thing about this is that they will do another calculation in February and it all depends on the state of the pound then. To sum it up, they have set the conditions of the recalculation in a way that it is almost a game of chance – if the trend of weakening the pound continues, they lose. If the trend reverses, we lose. It remains to be seen whether they will in fact make a payment in the end. If not, we will probably find a solicitor and take the official channels to set this straight, if we are able to afford a solicitor, that is.

        In a hippie note – fight the power, stick it to the man. In a more lawyer note – fight for your rights :D. Inform everybody, if you are able to find a solution.

        Cheers, Dominik

  34. Prashanth Prashanth
    26. 10. 2016    

    The basic message is not to apply an estimate of the exchange rate to the annual living allowance in Euro and then compute the gross salary in Pound Sterling.
    This will lead to a huge variation in the per month gross pay.

    Instead, compute the gross salary in Euro and do the conversion to Pound when the salary is paid.
    When computing the employers NI cost there is a threshold of 676 Pounds.
    Any salary above this threshold incurs an employer’s NI contribution at the rate of 13.8%.
    When computing the per month gross salary in Euro you just need to convert this threshold using an estimated exchange rate.
    The difference of this estimate to the actual exchange rate will cause a small variation in the gross salary.

    In my institution it is the faculty (not the HR) which takes the decision of how much to pay.

  35. Luisa Luisa
    26. 10. 2016    

    Hi there,

    I do not agree on the fact that there is a small change….still they applied to me a 1.40 exchange rate and now it is about 1. Moreover again I insist that the true point is not how to do it but DO IT! So you have an agreement, that is very good…again I am still waiting for a reply! I’ll let you know.

  36. Luisa Luisa
    27. 10. 2016    

    Hi Dominik and Prahshant,

    I have just been informed that the reporting period is the end of my fellowship, next year. At that point I will have to provide reports and summaries and of course an ‘individual financial statement’ which includes the request for payment of the balance. The University will take care of it but I will discover at that time in which terms.
    At least I have something stated now. I think this is quite reassuring.

    Thanks guys and keep updated!

    Luisa.

  37. Ramana Reddy Mittapalli Ramana Reddy Mittapalli
    31. 10. 2016    

    I requested my HR (U Of Greenwich) about my salary in detailed and also opted out pension scheme. She is very politely sent below attached form. You guys have a look on this, you will get correct payment details in UK. In my case fixed 1.34 exchange rate. Anyway i hope will get all our money in the end. She told me they will recalculate at the end.
    Guys don’t panic, every MCIF fellow will get below personal costs in UK (Only married fellow get family allowance).

    Researcher Budget – 24 Months
    Living Allowance € 1,34,254.80
    Mobility Allowance € 14,400.00
    Family Allowance € 12,000.00
    Total Salary Budget € 1,60,654.80
    Budget PA € 80,327.40

    Conservative exchange rate 1.34
    £ equivalent £60,013.13

    Salary components:
    Basic Pay 53,719.32
    Employers Pension Costs 0.00 Opted out of Pension – see email 27/10/16
    Employers National Insurance 6,293.81
    Total Salary Charge to Budget 60,013.13

    Note:
    For ease of implementation, monthly allowances for the recruited researchers can be calculated
    using a conservative exchange rate, if a corrective payment is then made (to the researchers)
    immediately after the end of the reporting period.

    Corrective payments to be calculated at RP Month12 and immediately after the end of reporting period RP24.
    based on the average exchange rates over reporting period.

  38. 23. 11. 2016    

    Note from me – Normally I do not approve adverts of any kind, even from non-profit organisations, on this blog, but I think that the MCAA could help with all the issues that have been discussed on this post, so I will post these comments here:

    Dear MC researchers,

    I would like to invite everyone who is contributing to this discussion to become a member of MCAA where such questions are discussed among our 230 members of the UK chapter:

    https://www.mariecuriealumni.eu/groups/united-kingdom-chapter

    Best,
    Stefan Bauer

  39. 23. 11. 2016    

    Dear all,

    if you have not done so, it would be very helpful if you could sign up for the Marie Curie Alumni Association (www.mariecuriealumni.eu) and join the UK chapter. (Membership is free!)
    Several fellows are having difficulties with their universities regarding salary calculation, Pension opt-out, etc. We are trying to gather evidence on how other universities in the UK are managing these matters, to help us a) negotiating and b) have good back-up for a possible complaint with the EC. A joint complaint would surely have more impact than if everyone of us does it individually.

    Thanks!
    Markus

  40. Jose Manuel Jose Manuel
    14. 12. 2016    

    Thank you very much Doninik, le’s see if I can negotiate with my employer so that the mobility is not taxed… It’s a private company so maybe that could help. Great blog, amazingly helpful throughout!!!

    Jose

  41. PRAKASH MONDAL PRAKASH MONDAL
    13. 1. 2017    

    Hi,
    I have own the MC Fellowship from last year call. I would be joining Univ. of Valencia, Spain to avail my Fellowship. I have received employer letter yesterday which says my gross salary would be 3700 Euro/month. I don’t understand where rest of the money are !! I supposed to get 4650 (living allowance)+500 (family allowance) +600 (mobility allowance) per month. It should be 5750 all together but why is then the gross salary is 3700 Euro?
    I wrote them and the European Commission to explain it in more details. Can anyone guess if the gross salary is 3700 Euro, how much would be the net salary?
    Additionally, I strongly wrote them if the net salary is less than 3500 Euro/month, I may withdraw my project.
    Please give your precise suggestions in this regard.
    Thanks,
    Prakash

    • homaradieux homaradieux
      1. 2. 2017    

      Thank for very useful informations on this website!
      @Prakash Yes man, it seems that the numbers are correct unfortunately… It s pretty crazy..Me too I have to cancel the payment of my sport car…
      Let s figure out if the mobility allowance is gonna be taxed too. I ll let you know if i get more information

  42. Mokter Mokter
    7. 2. 2017    

    I am an assistant professor at Aalborg University, Denmark from January 1, 2017 after a postdoc of several months at Imperial College London. I have won (score 96.2) the MC Fellowship from last year call with Manchester Business School as the host. I was hesitant whether I should take the fellowship or not. Now I see that it is surprisingly very unattractive especially when someone has a professorship.

    After reading online discussions, I wanted to get clarification from Manchester. After getting so many misleading information, finally I got some tangible information. I have been told that my gross salary would be £41736.03 and net salary £29 500 per year (including family allowance) after deducting tax and national insurance. All allowances are taxed. I found that a main reason being the exchange rate. When they get funding from EC they get at an exchange rate of 1.2 when they pay to Fellows the use 1.47. Therefore, Fellows get around 20-25% less salary only because of exchange rate. This is a typical salary of a lecturer (Assistant Professor) in UK and I did not take several such positions. Denmark pay me much more than the fellowship’s amount. So, nothing special with the fellowship when it comes to salary. I asked why that weird exchange rate is, the answer is: It is the institute’s policy. So, where to go. Could someone share the contact person at EC please so that I can shoot an email and alarm them, it will not work though.

    • danz01 danz01
      7. 2. 2017    

      Hi Mokter and thank you for the comment. I unfortunately do not have any contacts regarding the exchange rate. What I do know is that the institute where my wife works has agreed to pay the difference for the exchange rate fluctuations at the last two months´ pay – they will use the current exchange rate. I can also confirm that one of the MC Fellows has already received that payment and it amounts to a lot of money. This is the approach for dealing with exchange rate issues that is inserted in the contract with the institute. The trick with this is of course that the pound fluctuates a lot at the moment and there is no way of telling whether and how the pound will fluctuate in the future. So it comes down to luck and political decisions. For the foreseeable future there seems to be no stability in the pound exchange rates, which means that the Institutes will try and protect themselves against such fluctuations and determine MC fellows pay using a higher rate. With this they avoid the overpayment. At the same time they make the MC Fellowship much less attractive and competitive, especially for people with families that live in UK in the areas with high living costs. Kr, Dominik

      • Mokter Mokter
        7. 2. 2017    

        They did not say that they will adjust according to the exchange rate. I think the exchange rate difference will remain wide and never be that positive for fellows. Any ideas what are the salary offers from other universities in the UK!!

        • Luisa Luisa
          7. 2. 2017    

          Hi Mokter,

          I am almost finishing my MSC IF in UK and I have been reassured that in the very end they will make an adjustment and pay the difference, of course I could only tell when I’ll see it :-). Cheers.

      • Mokter Mokter
        7. 2. 2017    

        Hi Dominik, Thank you. Which institute your wife works in and what is her monthly salary after all deduction. Has she opted out from the pension scheme, is it possible. Mokter

    • 7. 2. 2017    

      Hi Mokter,

      I scored the same (96.2) as you and am in a similar position like you.
      I took a leave of absense from my previous job (open ended contract for the past 6 years) as an Assistant Research Professor (2 years in this position).
      Employees with an open ended contract and who have accumulated a certain numer of years working for the university/research center are entitled by law to request an unpaid leave of absense to do anything you wish to do (check the local laws to undestand the procedure and what it means for your employment status).
      If you are unable to take a leave of absense (say you just started a job) then you have to make a judgement if taking up the MSCA-IF is worth it.
      I chose to do the MSCA-IF as my previous employer granted me a leave of absense and I think it will add value (international mobility, networking, being the PI of your project, independence, etc.) to my career.

      MSCA-IFs are often (based on the fellow’s experience) driven by the fellow, e.g. I wrote my project proposal and I am the PI of the same. Supervisor in the MSCA sense is a facilitator who advices you in your training as a PI. This is how it is set up in my case and precisely what I want for my level of experience. This should explain my choice. However, I see that MSCA-IF fellows do not have a special status within my host institution in the UK. Often MSCA fellows are grouped with post-doctoral research associates (PDRA). PDRAs work on the projects written and secured by the supervisor (PI of the project) in the host institution. This is a fundamental difference and in my opinion should deserve some distinction. The host institution has a binary view: permanent and fixed-term employees. You should consider the status aspect if that is important to you (say it affects your career progression).

      As per the pay, the salaries of MSCA-IF do not fit in the standard payscale of the universities in the UK. The figure you quoted for your gross salary is set-up using an exchange rate of 0.7 (euro -> pound) and after deduction of employers (compulsory contribution), the USS (not compulsory) pension contributions. Despite this unfavorable setup, MSCA-IFs earns at the higher end of the Lecturer payscale. If the fellow opts out of the USS the salary hike puts him/her at a much higher payscale (but always remember that you are making less pension contribution: just the compulsory ones).

      As Dominik and Luisa points out every institution has its own way of setting up the payroll and choosing on an exchange rate. However, they have to make an audit at the end of the fellowship and based on the strategy they have put in place (without breaking the MSCA agreement) , they have to payback the difference to the fellow. This is the default strategy and often you may have to liase with the HR, Pensions, Research finance office, etc. to implement any changes to your situation (say if you opt-out of USS).

      The research finance office informed me that there will be a quarterly revision of the choice of the exchange rate.
      Given that few people have the knowledge of how deal with MSCA-IFs as it do not fit inside the standard payscales of the institution, you might have to liase with HR, Pensions office and Research finance office to have any revisions to reflect on your salary.
      I just had (after 6 months of liasing) the USS opt-out effect properly implemented.

      I am still pressing on the exchange-rate issue. I proposed a solution (http://nadukandi.es/msca_if_payroll.html) but it seems difficult to implement it especially in a large institution. Quarterly revision is fine compromise.

      Hope it helps you to make a decision.
      –Prashanth.

      • Mokter Mokter
        7. 2. 2017    

        Hi Prashanth,

        Very informative indeed. I asked for a single room so that it distincts me from other postdocs. I used to have a single room in my PhD time at Aalto University. Currently, I have luxury of all things, including a very nice single room, someone can imagine as an assistant professor.

        They covertly agreed to give a single room, I will make sure to have clear agreement. What is the average net salary with the family allowance may I expect after all deductions and pension opt out, after all adjustments including exchange rate. Do you have any tips what I can do before signing so that I am in a better position, at least I have a very high bargaining power now. Mokter

  43. Mokter Mokter
    7. 2. 2017    

    Hi Luisa,

    Which university are you in and what is monthly salary after all deduction (please mention if you have family allowance). I will also be waiting to hear how you are adjusted at the end. Mokter

    • danz01 danz01
      7. 2. 2017    

      Hi Mokter,

      We have the same as Luisa. If you think about it, when there is not adjustment at the end, then there is left-over money. The host cannot keep it. What does it do with it? We have the clause for adjustment in the contract. I do not know how it is for others.

  44. 21. 4. 2017    

    Hi,

    Can someone help me to know what are the costs that can be parts of management and indirect cost (650 euros). Is it just for the host for hosting the fellows, giving offices, and access to their facilities such as printing, stationeries, etc. Or, it is used also for some other purposes such as buying camera, laptop, iPad, etc. In my project, I proposed to have a camera to record interviews and have a YouTube channel. For that I need a camera, where does the money come from, to buy camera and other related equipment. Thank you

  45. Charlotte Charlotte
    18. 5. 2017    

    Hi all,

    I am in the same situation about the exchange rate right now. My host institution use 1.47!!This is so ridiculous. I have not signed the contract yet and I am trying to argue with them. Maybe I also need to write an email to someone in the EU to reflect it…

  46. Felix Felix
    1. 6. 2017    

    Hello!
    Is there any one with experience on the MSCA-IF contract negotiations in Spain? I’m suppossed to be starting my fellowship in Spain soon but currently having two issues: (1) salary, they quoted a gross salary of 4,100 € per month (including family allowance) (2) what about intellectual property rights for a project with potential industrial commercialization? there is alot of grey area and I don’t know what is true and what is not because they subjecting me to all internal laws.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *