Employment and Benefits Summer Series – August 2022 – Part III

Strelia’s Summer Series on the Belgian Labor Deal aims to give companies a general overview of the measures taken by the government to reform the labor market. Its goal is to achieve an 80% labor force participation rate by 2030. Parliament is expected to vote on the bill for good in 2022.

Throughout this summer, Strelia’s Summer Series will feature the following topics:

  1. work-life balance
  2. Transition path and promotion of employability
  3. employee training
  4. Part-time workers
  5. Platform economy and e-commerce

employee training

A. Individual right to training

In companies employing 10 or more employees, an individual right to training is established for each employee. From 2023, each full-time employee will be entitled to 4 days of training per year. And from January 1, 2024, this will increase to 5 days of training per year.

As an exception to this rule, employers with 10 to 20 employees must ensure that each of their full-time employees receives at least 1 day of training per year.

For part-time employees or for workers who do not work under an employment contract for a full calendar year, the number of days under this right to training will be prorated.

The right to training would be implemented concretely by: a collective agreement concluded at sectoral level, an individual training account, or the introduction and granting of a training loan at company level.

If an employee does not reach the annual quota of training days, the balance will be carried over to the following year, but not continuously from one year to the next. The employee must have reached the 5 days of annual training over a reference period of 5 years starting at the earliest from January 1, 2024 or before the end of the employment contract if it is terminated before the end of the period of 5 year. This termination must not result from the employee’s resignation or dismissal for serious cause.

Employees can receive training under this right during or outside their normal working hours. In the latter case, the employee will not be entitled to overtime pay. If the employee is dismissed for a reason other than a serious reason, he then has the right to buy back the balance of training days (or accumulated) before the end of the employment contract. If the employee receives severance pay instead of full or partial notice of termination, any balance of training days will be considered as a benefit acquired under the employment contract.

B. Annual training plan

Private sector companies with at least 20 employees must establish a training plan before March 31 of each calendar year. The company must consult the works council or (failing that) the union delegation or (failing that) the employees themselves) on the training plan before March 15 of each year.

The training plan should cover at least one year and should include formal and informal training. It should also explain how the program contributes to the employee’s right to receive training.

The plan should pay particular attention to groups at risk, ie the over 50s, shortage occupations and training assessment methods. It should also have a gender dimension.

The joint committees and their sub-committees could also set minimum requirements that employers must meet in developing their training plan, depending on their sector. This could be fixed by a collective agreement.

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