When is an upgrade not an upgrade? So, you didn’t get promoted or reclassified last year, but you’re due an upgrade in step and are looking forward to the (however small) associated salary increase . The only circumstances where there is no increase in pay is in the last step in the grade: the salary there is always the same as step 1 of the next grade. So you reckon you’ll get something, right? Well… at the end of the day it might actually be nothing: zero.
This cannot be true; you must be joking, right?
Unfortunately, this is the unpleasant reality for many of our colleagues, whether they are officials (F), temporary agents (TAs) or contract agents (CAs).
|Function group & grade||Place of work||Expat 16%||Single, no kids||Net salary step 3||Net salary step 4||Net salary increase|
Our readers have also brought to our attention the particularly discouraging situation outlined below.
|CA FGIII/8, based in Brussels, gets 16% expat and has no kids.||Net salary (EUR)||Net salary increase (EUR)|
Firstly, a little context: steps are mini advancements within each grade  which normally take place every 2 years. If you have ever been promoted then the change in step is automatic and takes place 1 January, if you have not yet been promoted it takes place 2 years from the date you started. You can see this in sysper: career history>career summary. For officials and temporary agents (TAs) each grade is divided into 5 steps and for contract agents (CAs) 7 steps. 
There are some staff (those who advance very quickly) who will have no need of steps 3 and beyond since they will already have jumped to the next grade up (via promotion/reclassification), but staff in certain grades almost certainly will reach that side of the scale e.g. step 5, normally 6 years in the same grade (‘seniority’) or even steps 6 or 7: 8 or 10 years of seniority (CAs only). Look at AST/SC4 and SC5, FG I grade 2, FG II grade 6, FG III grade 11 or AST9 for examples of long average waits.
(2021 Annual Reclassification Exercise , slide 8)
If you agree that some of our colleagues are treated particularly unfairly in general, but also by the flawed promotions/reclassification  systems in particular, please join Generation 2004 , vote for Generation 2004  at your local staff elections  and support our petitions (follow the links to the European Parliament website and sign them there (AST/SC  and CA )) to stop the unfair treatment of staff.
As usual, we would love to hear from you .
Take care and stay safe!
 The very poor reclassification figures and career potential of contract agents is an ongoing issue at the Central Staff Committee. You can follow the communications here  (e.g. 12.04.2021).
 Most people start at step 1, but can, exceptionally, be recruited at step 2 (officials and TAs , CAs 3a ), depending on experience. The step is shown in your payslip: ‘Present grading’ or in sysper: career history>career summary. Note that the only way to change grade is by promotion, so it is possible to become ‘stuck’ on step 5.
 6 of the 8 local staff committees (LSCs) had elections in 2021  (July-December). Generation 2004 stood in all 6 of those elections. The Brussels LSC election did not meet the minimum number of voters (‘quorum’) and so will be repeated in 25 January – 10 February 2022 . Elections in France and Luxembourg LSCs are due to take place later in 2022.