Flemish training leave: what are the rules as of 1 September 2019?

Author: Catherine Mairy
Date:

Since 1 July 2014, the system of paid educational leave has been transferred to the Regions.

In the Flemish Region, paid educational leave will be replaced by the Flemish training leave (Vlaams opleidingsverlof, VOV) as of 1 September 2019.

The aim of the Flemish training leave is to encourage workers to follow labour market-oriented and career-oriented training.

The employer, for his part, can obtain a partial refund of the salary for the hours of leave taken.

Note! There are transitional provisions for workers who follow a training before 1 September 2019 that entitles them to paid educational leave. 

Employers and workers concerned

The system of Flemish training leave applies to the employers and the workers of the private sector who meet the following conditions:

  • the employers have an establishment unit in the Flemish Region;
  • the workers are employed, on the basis of one or more employment contracts, in an establishment unit in the Flemish Region:
    • either full-time;
    • or at least 4/5 of a full-time job;
    • or at least half-time with a variable work schedule;
    • or at least half-time with a fixed work schedule and they receive training during working hours. 

Note! Workers who are employed in an establishment unit that is not located in the Flemish Region (e.g. in the Brussels-Capital Region) are not eligible for the Flemish training leave. However, they are entitled to the system of paid educational leave (if the conditions of this system are met).

Training courses that open the right to the leave

Training courses that open up the right to the Flemish training leave are labour market-oriented and career-oriented courses if they meet certain conditions (e.g. a minimum duration).

Labour market-oriented training is registered in the training database (training database).

Duration of the leave

The worker may be absent from work to follow a training, to study or to take examinations up to a maximum of 125 hours/year (school year), prorated on the basis of the contractual employment fraction. The number of hours of absence also varies according to the type of training.

The employer and the worker can consult the number of hours of leave available per worker on the digital platform for Flemish training incentives (the digital platform for Flemish training incentives).

Leave request

The worker must inform the employer of his wish to take Flemish training leave.

The request that relates to a normal school year must be submitted by 31 October of each school year at the latest (unless otherwise specified), on the basis of a certificate of regular enrolment.

Both parties will make agreements about how and when the leave hours will be taken, taking into account the collective planning. The leave is taken at the earliest from the day preceding the start of the training and at the latest 2 days after the last course or the last examination.

Note! The worker who is entitled to Flemish training leave is protected against dismissal.

Salary for the leave and refund

The hours of absence taken within the framework of the Flemish training leave are remunerated by the employer (the salary is limited according to the same rules as these for the system of paid educational leave).

Within the required period, the employer must submit a request for reimbursement via the digital platform for Flemish training incentives (the digital platform for Flemish training incentives) if certain conditions are met (e.g. registration of leave hours in the DmfA, scrupulously attending the training).

However, if the employer receives a refund, this is limited to a fixed amount of € 21.30 per hour of leave.

Note! The Flemish training leave cannot be combined with an incentive bonus in the context of training credit.

Sources:

  • decree of 12 October 2018 on the Flemish training leave and various provisions concerning the Work and Social Economy policy area (Belgian Official Gazette 13.11.2018);
  • decree of the Flemish Government of 21 December 2018 implementing section 6 – granting of paid educational leave in the context of permanent training of the workers – of Chapter IV of the Recovery Act of 22 January 1985 containing social provisions and amending article 4 of the decree of the Flemish Government of 17 May 2013 with regard to career counselling (Belgian Official Gazette 04.03.2019);
  • ministerial decree of 13 February 2019 specifying the competences and establishing an assessment system, stated in article 2, § 1 of the decree of the Flemish Government of 21 December 2018 implementing section 6 – granting of paid educational leave in the context of permanent training of the workers – of Chapter IV of the Recovery Act of 22 January 1985 containing social provisions and amending article 4 of the decree of the Flemish Government of 17 May 2013 with regard to career counselling (Belgian Official Gazette 04.03.2019);
  • https://www.vlaanderen.be/vlaams-opleidingsverlof-vov.