Conditions of Employment at ESO

The ESO studentship programme is open to students enrolled in a university Ph.D. programme, preferentially but not necessarily in an ESO Member State. Additionally, ESO will provide up to two studentship positions per year at ESO Santiago for students enrolled in Chilean universities. The programme aims to connect Ph.D. students and their advisors throughout the ESO community with the activities and people at one of the world's foremost observatories, and offers an invaluable training opportunity for the next generation of astronomers and users of ESO facilities.

This document summarises the conditions of employment for Students at ESO. If you join ESO under a grant, the below conditions may not be applicable for you. In case of doubt, please verify with your grant management or ESO Human Resources.

It is intended for information only to give potential applicants a general overview of the working conditions at ESO. The full details are given in the International Staff Rules and Regulations (SRR) and other official documents, which formally define the working relationship of Students with the Organisation. On receiving a job offer, applicants will be given copies of these documents.

As ESO is an intergovernmental organisation, its conditions of employment for Students are independent of German, Chilean, and European Union labour law.

A comprehensive compensation package that supports work-life balance

ESO offers a comprehensive and competitive package of salary, allowances, grants and an attractive social security scheme. In addition, ESO aims to support members of personnel in maintaining a good work-life balance between their professional and private life.

For details of these general aspects of working at ESO, please see the sections “General conditions” and “Work-life balance”.

Creating a family-friendly workplace

ESO is committed to being a family-friendly workplace, creating a work environment and policies which allow staff to balance their professional and private responsibilities through flexible working arrangements and financial support for families.

For details of ESO’s measures to support families, please see the section “Family-Friendly Support”.

General conditions

Duty stations

ESO has establishments, known as duty stations, which are located in:

Germany: Garching bei München

Chile: La Silla, Paranal, Santiago, Sequitor, ALMA Operations Support Facility (OSF)

Duration of appointment

The contract for a Student is for a fixed-term duration and is subject to a successful pre-employment medical examination. The duration is between six months and two years.

Student allowance (salary)

The Student allowances are reviewed annually by ESO’s governing bodies. Where applicable, the Student’s contribution to the Health Insurance Scheme, and the Long Term Care Insurance Scheme is deducted from the allowance.

Due to ESO’s status as an intergovernmental organisation, under most circumstances no income tax is payable on ESO salaries. Instead, an internal tax is withheld at source.

Working hours per week

The basic working schedule is 40 hours a week on average. The specific working schedule and hours of work may vary according to the duty station.

Health Insurance Scheme

The ESO health scheme provides private worldwide healthcare insurance for medical expenses of Students and their dependent family members. The monthly healthcare insurance contribution that the Student pays is independent of the number of dependent family members.

Long Term Care Insurance Scheme (LTC)

The LTC scheme provides financial support to Students, and their dependent family members, who are in need of assistance over an extended period of time due to an impairment of their ability to function independently in daily life.

Salary during sickness

A Student’s salary continues to be paid during absences due to sickness, with certain limits and conditions. If the appropriate conditions are met, including the submission of a medical certificate, the rules allow in the first instance for up to 12 months of sick leave on full pay within a period of 36 months. Additional rules apply after this.

Pension Scheme

Members of the personnel with an appointment as a Student should have their own pension provision.

Annual Leave

Annual leave entitlement for Students is 2 1/2 working days per month (30 days per year). The leave year runs from 1 April to 31 March of the following year.

Official Holidays

The following days are official holidays for Students with duty station in Garching: 1 January, 6 January, Good Friday, Easter Monday, 1 May, Ascension Day, Whit Monday, Corpus Christi, 15 August, 3 October, 1 November, 25 December and 26 December.

The following days are official holidays for Students with duty station in Chile: 1 January, Good Friday, Good Saturday, 1 May, 21 May, 29 June, 16 July, 15 August, 18 September, 19 September, 12 October, 1 November, 8 December, 25 December and 26 December.

Trip to Home University

For Students whose contract is extended for a second year, ESO reimburses the travel cost for a working trip to their home university. This trip is reserved for Students only and not for their spouses or children.

Joining expenses

Newly appointed Students residing more than 50 km from the duty station before their appointment are entitled to be paid travel expenses for themselves and their families, as well as the cost of transporting up to 130 kg of luggage (and 30 kg for each dependent) by air freight from the airport of departure to the airport at destination.

Initial accommodation for new arrivals

ESO has a few fully furnished apartments in Garching. Subject to availability, these apartments can serve as a temporary solution for newly appointed Students. The rental period also depends on availability and is usually for a maximum of three months. The cost of the apartment is charged to the Student and deducted through the monthly payroll.

Newly appointed Students in Chile are accommodated for free in the ESO Guesthouse for the first night and receive free lodging in a furnished apartment for up to five weeks (35 nights)

German Language Training in Garching / Spanish Language Training in Chile

ESO offers newly appointed Students and their spouses in-house language training at the beginner’s level. The aim of the course is to provide them with the language skills to help them deal with their everyday life and to settle in to their new environment.

Work-Life Balance

Flexitime system

ESO operates a flexible working time scheme in Garching and Santiago, according to which eligible Students may vary the time of their arrival, breaks and departure, from day to day.

Mobile working

With the agreement of one’s supervisor, and if circumstances allow it, a mobile working policy is available for eligible Students in Garching and Santiago to do some of their work outside of the ESO premises, for example at home. Two schemes, which may be combined, are available: regular mobile working, in which staff work up to one day per week on a regular basis outside ESO, and occasional mobile working, in which staff work up to 24 days per leave year outside ESO.

Part-time work

If permitted by circumstances the Organisation may offer part-time appointments. During the first three years of age of a dependent child the possibility to work part-time becomes an entitlement. The working week for part-time appointments cannot be less than 20 hours.

Family-Friendly Support

Health insurance for dependent family members at no additional cost:

As described in the general Health Insurance Scheme section, the ESO healthcare scheme covers dependent family members as well as the Student at no additional cost. The monthly contribution that the Student pays is independent of the number of dependent family members.

Household Allowance:

Students who are married, or in a legally registered partnership, or who are entitled to children’s allowance receive a monthly household allowance.

Children’s Allowance:

Students with children receive a monthly children’s allowance for each dependent child.

Special Leave in the event of serious illness of a close relative:

A Student may take up to 10 working days of special paid leave per leave year in the event of serious illness of their close relatives (i.e. dependent children, spouse and parents).

Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Adoption Leave and Parental Leave

Students with new children have the following entitlements:

Maternity Leave: entitlement to 18 weeks paid maternity leave, or 21 weeks in cases of multiple or premature births, or as of the birth of a second child.

Paternity Leave: entitlement to 10 working days paid paternity leave. It can be taken in half days or full days.

Adoption Leave: entitlement to 4 weeks’ paid adoption leave for each child up to 18 years of age. For adopted children under 6 years of age, the period of adoption leave is extended to 18 weeks.

Parental Leave: entitlement after maternity leave, paternity leave or adoption leave. For births, the entitlement applies until the child is 3 years old. For adoption of a child under 6 years of age, the entitlement applies until the end of the third year of the child’s placement under the care of the member of personnel. Parental leave is partially paid for 6 months during the first year of age of the child. Further parental leave is unpaid.

Part-time work

During the first three years of age of a dependent child the possibility to work part-time described in the section “Work-life balance” becomes an entitlement.

Help in finding professionals for childcare in the Munich area

Finding suitable childcare in the Munich area can be challenging for parents. ESO has an agreement with a “Familienagentur” to provide additional support when places are not available at the IPP/ESO Kinderkrippe/Kindergarten childcare facility on the campus, or where Students are looking for other childcare services for any reason.

Other Information

For additional information, you may contact:

ESO Garching
Human Resources
Karl-Schwarzschild-Straße 2
85748 Garching b. München / Germany
+49 89 320 06 217

ESO Chile
Human Resources
Av. Alonso de Cordova 3107, comuna de Vitacura
Santiago, Chile
Phone: +56 2 4633000

ESO Recruitment Portal

Human Resources
Document last updated: 28 September 2018