Paid educational leave and Flemish training leave: request the wage cost compensation in a timely manner
The school year has started again and in Flanders, paid educational leave was replaced by the Flemish training leave. It is high time to list all the regional principles regarding educational leave.
What is the scope?
Paid educational leave gives the employee the right to follow a recognized training and to be absent from work with pay. Not each and every training opens the right to educational leave. The training does not necessarily need to be linked to the employment activities exercised by the employee for the employer.
Since 01.09.2019, the Flemish, Walloon and Brussels regions have been able to set their own policy priorities.
In Flanders, “Flemish training leave” has started from September, as a replacement for paid educational leave. The principle remains that the employee can follow a training and be absent from work.
Which employees are involved?
For all employees from the private sector working full time. Certain part time working employees are also entitled to this type of leave. New is that it is explicitly provided that the establishment where the employee works – as indicated on the DmfA declaration – must be located in the Flemish region.
Does this apply to all courses?
No, as it was the case for paid educational leave, the condition for a recognized training remains. These trainings can be found in a digital training database: https://www.vlaanderen.be/opleidingsdatabank.
Can the employer refuse the request for leave?
No, the employee has the right to take training leave, the employer cannot refuse this. The days of absence however need to be planned in mutual consent between the employer and the employee.
How many hours of leave can the employee apply for?
This depends on the specific training that the employee follows, but the maximum is 125 hours each school year.
How does the employer apply?
The employee must submit a proof of enrollment to the employer by October 31st. In the event of a change of employer or in the event of a registration for a training during the year, this certificate must be delivered within 15 days after the change of employer or registration.
In contrast to the paid educational leave, the employee is no longer required to hand over a “certificate of accuracy” to the employer. The institution where the employee follows the training has to register the presence of the employee online. The employer will be able to consult these data in the digital platform of the Flemish government. If the employee does not follow the lessons carefully and therefore has taken more leave than he is entitled to, he will receive less training leave next time.
When does the leave need to be taken?
The days of absence need to be taken between the start date of the course and two days after the end date of the course or after the final exam.
Who is paying?
The employee who is absent in the framework of educational leave receives his normal wage from the employer, but the latter can limit this to 2.928 EUR gross/month for full-time employees (= ceiling for school year 2018 - 2019. The amount will most likely stay the same during the school year 2019-2020 - to be confirmed by Royal Decree).
The employer can reclaim part of this paid wage from the Flemish government within 3 months after the start of the training. If your employee started his training in September 2019 within the framework of the Flemish training leave, you will have to claim your reimbursement before December 2019.
The employer can claim 21,30 EUR per hour of absence from the Flemish government.
Pay attention: For the reimbursement of the paid educational leave from school year 2018 - 2019, you must submit the application file between 01.09.2019 and 31.12.2019 on paper.
What should you do as an employer?
- Calculate the number of hours of training leave via the digital platform of the Flemish Government.
- Correctly record the hours of absence for training leave in the payroll.
- Make the request for reimbursement in the digital platform Flemish Training Incentives.
Brussels and Wallonia
In Brussels and Wallonia the rules are not (yet) changed, so there we are still talking about “paid educational leave”. We refer to our newsletter.
We would like to remind you of the deadlines that must be respected in Brussels and Wallonia in order to receive a (partial) reimbursement of wages:
The files must be submitted between 01.09 and 31.12 of the school year following the school year for which reimbursement is requested. In order to obtain a reimbursement for the hours of absence of the employees for school year 2018 - 2019, the file must be submitted no later than 31.12.2019.
The reimbursement file can be submitted until 31.03 of the school year following the school year for which reimbursement is requested. This means that files for school year 2018 - 2019 can be submitted until 31.03.2020.
Pro-Pay can file the applications for (partial) reimbursement of the salary with the competent authorities on your behalf.
Please contact your payroll business partner for more detailed information.