Contract agents

As of 1st November, the new General Implementation Provisions (GIPs) concerning Contractual Agents entered into force. These new rules bring significant changes to the employment conditions of contract staff employed by the Commission.

Below a list of 20 Questions and Answers

Q&A: New provisions for Contract Agents


1. With the new General Implementing Provisions (GIPs), can I get a contract agent (CA) position without passing a selection test?

The ‘Light’ version of the Call for Expressions of Interest, which enabled CA 3bs to join the Commission without passing a selection test (CAST), was introduced in September 2013. This was a provisional measure pending the launch of the new EPSO CAST Permanent selection model. This new model and new GIPs have now been implemented, so all CAs should have been tested before joining the Commission.

2. What will the CAST tests look like?

There are currently 18 profiles. Each call provides details on the specific tests. For Function Groups (FG) II, III and IV, there will be two computer-based multiple-choice tests in general:

  • verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning test
  • competency test

For FG I, the competency test will be replaced by a job-related test (e.g. driving, cooking). You can find more details on the EPSO website.

3. Do I need to apply for more than one FG and profile?

When Commission services are looking for suitable candidates, they search on competencies and across profiles rather than just on profiles. The new GIPs also add a new feature: the ‘entry ticket’. The results of those who pass a selection test will also be valid for a lower FG. For example, a lawyer passes the test for the highest function group (FG IV) – his or her results will also be valid for FG III positions.

4. Can I decide when to take the tests?

No. Unlike the previous CAST selection process, you need to set up your profile in the EPSO database. However, you’re not automatically invited to the tests, and you can’t decide to sit them whenever you like. You’ll be invited to sit the tests only if your application matches the vacant position. It’s worth noting that at the time of the tests, you don’t know which institution and DG has invited you.

5. What if I don’t pass the tests?

While the success rate is high, we encourage you to study and prepare for the profile you applied for. The rules on resitting the tests are explained in the relevant call.

6. How often will the tests be organised?

EPSO plans to organise tests once a month. The testing period will normally be open for 2 weeks. You can choose a suitable date and venue throughout the EU and worldwide.


7. What does the new grading system look like?

The grading system has been simplified, with CA 3a and CA 3b now aligned. It also marks an improvement for CA 3a staff.


Qualifications and professional experience

less than 5 years

5 years or more





Qualifications and professional experience

less than 5 years

between 5 years and 15 years

15 years or more






Qualifications and professional experience

less than 5 years

between 5 years and 17 years

17 years or more





8. Will my grade change when my contract is renewed?

No changes will be made to the grading and salary of CAs currently employed by EU institutions and agencies.

The only exception is those who joined as CA 3b at the lowest grade – their grading will be reassessed when their contract is renewed after 3 years, with the professional experience gained during their current contract also taken into account. If the professional experience totals more than 5 years, their grade will be recalculated upwards.

9. I’m CA 3b. Will my grade change if I become CA 3a?

Yes. As with the previous GIPs, changing from 3b to 3a requires a new contract. However, given that the grading conditions have been improved for CA 3a, you might get a better grading than what you would have had with the previous GIPs.

10. I’m CA 3a. Will my grade change if I change job within the Commission (incl. EU delegations and representations), but still have a contract as CA 3a and in the same FG?

No, if you move within the Commission, your contract is amended but your grade remains the same.

11. What if I’m CA 3a and move to an executive agency?

In this case, you’ll receive a new contract and the best option for you will apply between keeping your current grade and having a new grading according to the new GIPs. It’s worth noting that a new contract can have implications for your pension age and contributions. For more information, contact your file handler.

12. What if I’m CA 3a and become CA 3b or change FG?

In this case, you’ll be regraded based on the new GIPs.


13. What about the new position of ‘team leader’ in delegations?

The new GIPs enable CAs to manage teams consisting of CAs and local agents in delegations. The relevant DGs are currently mapping the needs and will be working with DG HR to create the new mechanism for implementation over the next few months.

14. Is it true that there'll be a single portal for CA 3a vacancies in the Commission and the executive agencies?

Yes. A new single portal will be available soon on MyIntracomm. It will list job vacancies in both the Commission and executive agencies.

15. Can I apply for published vacant positions as CA 3b?

Positions listed in the online portal will be open mainly to CA 3a. However, DGs can also open up some positions to CA 3b (in line with the interests of the service).

16. What’s the new system for changing FG? Does it apply to all CAs?

The new mechanism for changing FG will apply to CA 3a only. It will be implemented in the interests of the service by way of tests and a general open selection process. As is already the case, CA 3b can move to a higher FG by way of the standard EPSO CAST selection procedure if they are deemed the best at filling a vacant position at a higher FG.


17. Is it true that I’ll be evaluated as CA?

CA 3a have been evaluated since 2004. As part of the new Talent Management strategy, CA 3b will now also be evaluated as of their third year.

18. I joined at the lowest grade within my FG before the new GIPs were introduced. Will the new reclassification system apply to me too?

Yes, this system will apply to both new CAs and those already working here. DG HR will re-evaluate your situation and automatically move you up a grade if applicable.


19. Is it true that CA 3a will now be able to get an contract of indefinite duration quicker than in the past?

Yes. CA 3a, except those working in delegations and representations, usually need one contract and one renewal (3 years in total) to get a contract of indefinite duration. With the new GIPs, this period is reduced to 2 years.

20. With the new GIPs, can I work for more than 6 years as CA? And more than 7 years in total?

The 6-year rule that applies to CA is defined in the Staff Regulations and cannot be changed by the GIPs. However, Commissioner Oettinger has agreed to reconsider the 7-year rule, excluding from the calculation the period spent in the Commission as seconded national expert. Negotiations will start soon with the staff representatives.