At the end of 2022, a new regulation on training of employees came into force. The aim is to help workers to keep their jobs and/or to improve their chances on the labour market by increasing the training and to improve their quality.
Within a company, this regulation is implemented in two ways: (1) the employee's individual right to training and (2) the training plan.
1. The individual right to training
All workers in the private sector - both commercial and non-commercial - are entitled to a number of training days during the year. This number will depend on a number of factors, such as the size of the company, the existence of a sectoral collective bargaining agreement, when the worker starts to work and the number of days worked full-time during the year.
This number will be determined either by a collective bargaining agreement (which must be filed by 30 September 2023 at the latest) or by an individual training account.
In any event, companies employing :
- at least 20 employees are required to guarantee every full-time employee training rights of at least 4 days in 2023 (in 2024, the number of days increases to 5);
- between 10 and 20 employees are required to grant every full-time employee one day of training, unless otherwise stipulated in a collective bargaining agreement;
- below 10 employees are excluded from the scope of the regulation. As a result, no minimum training day must be offered unless an exemption is foreseen in a collective bargaining agreement.
While the employer has the obligation to offer training, the employee, is not obliged to attend training courses. It is merely a right.
The employer must therefore inform the employee of this training right and the number of training days available, at least once a year and in writing.
Finally, the training may be internal or external to the company and may be taken during or outside working hours. In the latter case, the employee will not be entitled to extra pay.
2. The training plan
2.1 Which employers, for which employees, when?
Employers with at least 20 employees are required to draw up training plans, with a view to monitoring employees' rights to training. Employers with fewer than 20 employees are exempt from this obligation.
This training plan must be drawn up - once a calendar year - for the entire company after consultation with workers’ representatives.
It must be aimed at all the company's employees, with particular attention paid to certain at-risk groups, employees over the age of 50, disabled employees, etc. The training plan is valid for one year.
2.2 How to draw up the training plan?
The regulation does not impose any formality regarding the form of the training plan. Furthermore, the employer is free to choose the training courses to be included in the plan.
However, a collective agreement made binding by means of a royal decree may set minimum requirements for certain employers. For training plans to be submitted for 2024, employers and employees representatives have until 30 September 2023 to conclude such a collective bargaining agreement.
The training plan must include formal and informal training courses, and must also explain how these courses contribute to the overall investment in training determined at sectoral level. It must also provide for training to make up for the lack of workers in the employer's sector where a shortage exists.
Within the deadlines set forth, the employer must send the draft plan to the bodies representing the employees within the company or to the employees directly, so that they can express their opinions.
After consultation and communication of the draft, the training plan may be finalised, in any event by 31 March of the year at the latest.
The training plan is kept within the company. Employees and their representatives may access it on request.
Any employer can convert this obligation to train its employees into a profitable and sustainable investment. Therefore a good working training plan that takes into account the activity of the company, the groups at risk, and the shortages of professions will be of importance.
Employers with at least 20 employees are required to make a training plan by 31 March 2024 at the latest.