Employer must pay for mandatory training

Since 1 August 2022, employers must reimburse employees for the cost of training courses they are required to take, by law or collective labour agreement (CAO). The employer must pay for the course and employees must be able to follow it during working hours. Agreements made earlier in which the employee contributes to the costs of mandatory training are no longer valid. New European rules state this. So take extra costs into account for the training budget and planning.

The so-called European directive on transparent and predictable employment conditions contains several new rules. In the old situation, the employer had to enable their employees to follow training necessary to do their job. The previous law did not say if the employer had to pay the costs of this training or if the employee could follow the training on their own time or during working hours. That changes with the new rules. 

Employer pays

From 1 August 2022, the employer pays for the mandatory and necessary training. Think of safety and working conditions training, or keeping up to date with professional competence. Every employee can claim the new rules. Under certain circumstances, the employer may also have this obligation for hired self-employed professionals (zzp’er) or employees working under the pretence that they are self-employed professionals, so-called false zzp’ers. That depends on whether the (false) zzp’er falls under the European definition of an employee (in Dutch).

The employer reimburses all costs that the employee has to incur for following the course. So, in addition to training costs, there are also costs for travel, books, and other study materials, such as exam fees.

The employer may determine whether to offer compulsory training themselves or to outsource it to third parties. The training time is regarded as working time. And if possible, the training must take place during the agreed working hours.

Exception: regulated professions

Training courses that fall under the Professional Qualification Directive (pdf, Directive 2005/36/EC) are not covered by the new rules. This concerns the so-called regulated professions, such as nurse, security guard, doctor and lawyer. The employer is not obliged to reimburse training courses that are included in this list. The employer may of course offer to pay this.

Unclarity

It is still unclear what effect the new rules will have on agreements that were made before 1 August 2022. Agreements in violation of the new rules are no longer valid in principle. KVK legal advisor Marieke van Leeuwen expects several lawsuits on matters to which the directive does not provide an answer. “For example, what if an employee is already involved in mandatory training and has invested their own time? Is that employee now entitled to wages for the time they have put in? And what if the employer has provided a loan for study materials? Will it be waived? The judges' rulings will help to answer these questions and will soon fill in the grey area."

Extra training budget

Take extra costs into account for the training budget and planning. As an employer, it is useful to distinguish between mandatory and desired training. This way you can determine if training time should count as working time and if you can agree on a study costs clause. In the case of training that is neither compulsory nor necessary, an employer can agree with an employee that the employee will follow a specific training course at the employer's expense and during working hours. Provided that the employee remains employed by the employer for a certain period after completing the course. But that the employee has to repay these costs in whole or in part if they leave earlier of their own free will. This is called a study cost clause.

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