Paid educational leave
In our humble view, the start of the new school year demands a refreshment of the principles of paid educational leave for those employees who never quit learning and thus follow an additional training course next to their employment activities. This newsletter offers you an overview of the most frequently asked questions regarding this special type of leave.
What is the scope?
Paid educational leave gives the employee the right to follow an approved training and to be absent from work in this context while keeping the entitlement to wages. Not each and every training course opens the right to educational leave. This is only possible for trainings of minimum 32 hours, approved by the government. The training does not necessarily need to be linked with the employment activities exercised by the employee for the employer.
Which employees are involved?
All employees from the private sector working full-time. Certain part-time working employees are also entitled to this type of leave.
Can the employer refuse the request for leave?
No. Paid educational leave is a right of the employee and thus the employer cannot refuse a request. The days of absence however need to be planned in mutual consent between employer and employee.
How does the employee apply?
The employee needs to provide his employer with a proof of enrollment at the latest on October 31 of the new school year. Every 3 months, the employee needs to hand over a certificate demonstrating his regular presence during the courses.
How many hours are involved?
The number of leave hours depends on the number of hours in and the type of the course. There are two types of courses:
- general courses: these provide for 80 hours of educational leave
- professional courses: these provide for 100 hours of educational leave
In both cases there are exceptions for some specific training courses so we strongly recommend to check in advance whether a course justifies the educational leave and how many hours are involved.
When does the leave need to be taken?
The days of absence need to be taken between the start date of the course and the date of the last exam in the first examination period or the end of the second examination period if the employee participates to the latter.
Who is paying?
The employee that is absent in the context of educational leave receives his normal wages, limited to an amount of € 2.871 per month (for school year 2018-2019) for full-time employees.
The employer can claim € 21,30 per hour of absence of the employee for educational leave from the regional government of the region where the employee worked during his training.
The deadlines to file the application for a reimbursement are very strict and differ depending on the region:
- The Brussels region: this deadline was shortened recently. The applications need to be filed between 01.09 and 31.12 of the school year following the school year for which the reimbursement is requested. In other words: in order to receive a reimbursement of the hours of absence of the employees for school year 2017-2018, the application needs to be filed on 31.12.2018 at the latest.
- The Flemish region: the applications need to be filed between 01.09 and 31.12 of the school year following the school year for which the reimbursement is requested. In other words: in order to receive a reimbursement of the hours of absence of the employees for school year 2017-2018, the application needs to be filed on 31.12.2018 at the latest.
New! The paid educational leave will be transformed as of 2019 to training leave, allowing an employee to be absent from work with retention of his salary for 125 hours per year in view of following a training. The rules still need to be set. We will keep you informed.
- The Walloon region: the application for reimbursement can be filed until 31.03 of the school year following the school year for which the reimbursement is requested. This entails that applications for school year 2017-2018 can be filed until 31.03.2019.
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.