Coronavirus: what about the individual vocational training?

Author: Jonas Verplanken (Legal Expert)
Date:

The measures to combat coronavirus have a major impact on many aspects of business. Individual vocational training (IBO) is not spared either. We provide an overview of the current state of affairs.

Continuation of the IBO

Provided the rules of social distancing can be observed, there is no reason to stop the IBO. The National Employment Office (ONEm/RVA) confirms that it will continue to grant the benefits for IBO course participants (in particular the continuation of unemployment benefits) as long as the IBO actually goes on.

Training must therefore indeed be provided. This will not be possible in all companies.

Premium for course participants in the event of discontinuation of the IBO

However, IBO course participants whose IBO contract has been terminated as a result of the measures to combat coronavirus will exceptionally receive a premium. This premium amounts to 70% of the premium to which they were entitled at the time of termination of the IBO contract. It is granted monthly.

Entitlement to the premium applies for existing IBO contracts on 12 March 2020 and for IBO contracts which started after 12 March 2020.

The premium is granted for the initial term of the IBO contract. However, this period will be limited to 12 June 2020.

Update: By ministerial decree of 23 April 2020, the period of validity of this premium was limited to 14 May 2020.

Temporary unemployment after the IBO has ended

If the IBO contract is not terminated, the employer remains obliged to offer an employment contract at the end of the IBO contract. 

The ONEm/RVA has confirmed that employees who were hired by the employer at the end of their IBO can immediately be made temporarily unemployed. When an IBO normally ends and is immediately followed by an employment contract that also immediately introduces temporary unemployment, the ONEm/RVA will grant temporary unemployment benefits.

This position applies to employment contracts starting after 29 March 2020 (Source: onem.be > FAQ).

In other circumstances, the ONEm/RVA does not accept that an employment contract is concluded to make immediate use of temporary unemployment. However, for employment contracts immediately following the IBO, this is allowed.

Attention: temporary unemployment is only allowed if the IBO normally ends. If the IBO is terminated prematurely and subsequently an employment contract is offered, the ONEm/RVA will refuse to grant temporary unemployment benefits.

More information

Sources:

  • https://www.onem.be/fr
  • Decree of the Flemish Government of 27 March 2020 granting a premium to the course participant who attended an individual vocational training as referred to in Article 90 of the Decree of the Flemish Government of 5 June 2009 on the organisation of job placement and vocational training, Belgian Official Gazette of 31 March 2020.

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