Increased scrutiny of right to professional training

15 January 2024 2 min read

By Laurent De Surgeloose

At a glance

  • The Labour Deal Act 2022 granted workers the right to professional training. From 2024, employees in companies with at least ten workers must receive five days of training annually, up from four days in 2023;
  • From 1 April 2024, monitoring challenges will be addressed by the introduction of a Federal Learning Account system which will enable the accurate recording and tracking of professional training days;
  • Once the new system becomes operational, the Social Inspectorate will be able to automatically check for an employer’s compliance with its obligation to provide professional training days for staff;
  • A Royal Decree specifying sanctions for non-compliance is awaited.

A right for workers in Belgium to receive professional training was introduced by the Labour Deal Act 2022. From 2024, a worker employed by a company with at least ten employees is entitled to five days of professional training per year, up from four days in 2023. For companies with ten to 20 workers, the entitlement is limited to one day per year.

It was difficult to monitor compliance with this legislation as there was no system to record days of professional training. The training could also be given internally which further complicated accurate compliance records.

To allow workers and the government to have better visibility of the number of days of professional training provided to a worker, legislation enacted on 20 October 2023 will introduce an online Federal Learning Account with effect from 1 April 2024, Sigedis Vzw has created this tool, which will be accessible at www.mycareer.be.

Employers will be responsible for recording the following information for each of their employees on the Federal Learning Account system:

  • The worker’s details;
  • The worker’s working time percentage. (The entitlement to training days is reduced pro-rata for part time workers);
  • Information about the relevant joint committee. This committee can agree to an increase or decrease the number of days training a worker is entitled to through a collective bargaining agreement;
  • The number of days training the worker is entitled to during the relevant calendar year;
  • Details of training already attended;
  • Remaining balance of training days.

Once the Federal Learning Account becomes operational, it will be easier to check which employers have or have not provided the required number of days of professional training with the Social Inspectorate able to obtain information from the new system.

The legislation requires Sigedis to prepare a list, each quarter, of workers whose employers have failed to include the necessary data in the Federal Learning Account, or who have not attended the minimum number of days training during the year. Offending employers will receive a notice giving them 30 days to rectify any shortcomings within 30 days. If they fail to take action, they will be included on the list issued for the next quarter.

The current legislation does not stipulate a specific sanction for failing to provide the required number of days professional training. The Act of 3 October 2022 provides the possibility of the unused balance of training days being converted into a benefit, but a Royal Decree implementing this obligation has not yet been published.

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