Employment and pensions

March deadline looms in Belgium for compliance with employee's right to training

Published on 15th Feb 2024

Businesses need to prepare to inform workers and hires of the right to individual training and to set up training plans

Above view of people in a meeting sitting around a table

The "Labour Deal" Act of 3 October 2022 enacted the right for each employee within the private sector in Belgium to individual training in companies with 10 or more employees. Additionally, it requires employers in the private sector with more than 20 employees to draw up an annual training plan.

Right to individual training

The legislation introduced a right to individual training for employees of businesses with 10 or more workers. As a rule of thumb, as of 2024, this entitlement amounts to five days of individual training per year for each full-time employee. However the exact number of training days on an annual basis depends on whether the employee works full-time or part-time (prorated), the size of the company (more than 10 workers or between 10 and 20 workers) and the existence of any sector-based collective bargaining agreements: sectors may derogate from the number of training days but there must always be at least two days of training.

In companies with between 10 and 20 employees, employers can limit the right to individual training to one day per year and per worker. In said companies, the employers must set up, each year before 30 September, the number of training days to which the workers are entitled.

The right to training days is prorated for workers who work less than full time or who have not been under an employment contract for a full calendar year.

Types of training

The training courses need to include formal training, informal training and training on matters relating to the well-being of workers during the performance of their work.

Training-time rules

Workers can equally take their training during or after their normal working hours. If the workers take the training after their normal working hours, they are entitled to their normal pay. No overtime pay will be due.

Unused training days each year are carried over to the following year. After a five-year period, the balance of the training credit is returned to zero.


The individual right to training is implemented within the company either by means of a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) closed at sector or sub-sector level by 30 September of the first year of the two-year period (which started in 2023) or, in the absence of this, by granting training days in the employee's individual training account with mandatory provisions.

Employers will need to ensure that they check for any sector-based CBA that sets up the right to individual and sector-based training, or that deviates from the general rule under the Labour Deal.

In the absence of any sector or sub-sector CBA, the individual right to training can be put into practice by setting and granting a training credit as part of the individual training account.

Federal Learning Account

In the Act of 20 October 2023, a new digital application called the "Federal Learning Account" was set up at federal level with the purpose of managing employees' right to the exercise of their individual right to training and sectoral training rights.

Under this legislation, companies will have to record information regarding professional trainings for each of their workers on the account on quarterly basis. Individual information to be recorded includes the identity of the worker, working hours, competent joint committee, training credit, the training courses attended, their basic characteristics (start date, end date, nature, results and possible financing), the number of training days taken and remaining, and growth trajectory on a quarterly basis.

Employers have a duty to inform each new hire of the existence of their individual Federal Learning Account. They also have a duty to register some personal data of workers within 60 calendar days of their starting date in the company if the employee has not registered an e-mail address on the mycareer website or has not communicated it via the e-Box. For those already in service, employers will have six months after the Federal Learning Account is brought into service to register the data.

Lastly, employers must check the entitlement to training that employees have, which will be calculated automatically by the platform, and, if necessary, adapt or complete it.

Defaulter blacklist

Quarterly, companies in default with respect to their obligations of registration of training data in the Federal Learning Account will be blacklisted: and the list will be shared with the National Labour Council, committees, the Federal Labour Ministry and labour inspection services if businesses fail to take corrective action within 30 calendar days after receiving the initial request to take action through their e-box. This "naming & shaming" list with companies in default of their obligations will be published on the website of the Federal Labour Ministry.

The Federal Learning Account platform is currently under construction.

The Act of 20 October 2023 will come into force on a date yet to be set, but no later than 1 April 2024.

It means additional administrative duties for employers in a near future.

Training plans

There is an obligation for businesses with more than 20 workers to set up annually a training plan before the 31 March.

These companies must set up a training plan including an overview of formal and informal trainings available to their employees and the target groups of workers for whom they are intended.

There should be a specific focus on risk groups who are at least 50 years old, on workers with disabilities, on foreign workers and on specific jobs in short supply within the sector of the employer. Training plans also take into account the gender dimension.

Consultation obligation

The company must consult with its Works Council or, by default, with the Trade Union Delegation that is in place. The latter must issue their opinion by 15 March at the latest each year. In the absence of these collective bodies, the company must present its training plan to its workers before 15 March at the latest.

Within one month of the entry into force of the plan, companies must send a copy of the training plan electronically to the competent labour inspection services. However, this is currently not possible, as the Royal Decree that will allow it has not yet been published.

In the meantime, the training plan remains within the company.

Osborne Clarke comment

Regardless of sector industry, businesses should actively prepare for their obligations to inform workers and future hires of their right to individual training and of the existence of their personal training account.

Businesses need to be sure to factor in time for consultation with employee representatives within their company or with trade union delegations (or employees themselves in absence of these representatives) regarding training plans to make sure these are registered by 31 March each year.

Non-compliance with the administrative obligations under the Federal Learning Account would not only raise a red flag within the labour ministry and labour inspection services but it would also mean being publicly blacklisted on the Federal Labour Ministry website.

Addressing this topic is one of the core tenets of being a responsible employer. The employment team at Osborne Clarke helps clients analyse their obligations and options in terms of training and build an action plan towards compliance in an increasingly regulated field. 


* This article is current as of the date of its publication and does not necessarily reflect the present state of the law or relevant regulation.

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