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Belgium: Schooling clauses allowed for bottleneck jobs

A schooling clause is defined by the Employment Contracts Act as the clause whereby the employee, who, during the execution of his employment contract, undertakes a training at the expense of the employer and agrees to reimburse the latter a part of the training costs if he leaves the company before the end of the agreed period. Such clauses were only allowed if the annual wage of the concerned employee reached 34.180 euro (figure in 2018). Therefore, schooling clauses were prohibited for lower paid jobs.

Since 10 November 2018, the threshold condition will not apply if the schooling clause relates to a training for a profession or function that appears on the lists of bottleneck professions or functions that are difficult to fill in regions throughout Belgium.

The purpose of this exemption is to make it easier for employers to organise schooling and training sessions in order to employ qualified employees.

The Regional public employment services compile the list of bottleneck professions each year. The current Flemish list features a wide variation of professions, i.a. bricklayers, ICT analysts, butchers, electricians, nurses, math teachers etc. However, the legislature has foreseen the possibility that the government can provide a new list, which would be valid in the whole country.