On October 4th, the Chamber approved a draft Act introducing a schooling clause for bottleneck jobs whereby the minimum salary threshold of € 34.180/year that is applicable as a condition for regular schooling clauses will no longer apply if the education to which the schooling clause relates, is for a “bottleneck job” (knelpuntberoep/métier en pénurie).
Schooling clause at a glance
A schooling clause is a clause whereby an employee, who – during the execution of the employment agreement – follows an education paid for by the employer, engages to repay part of the cost of the education if he leaves the company before the end of an agreed period of time. This period of time cannot exceed 3 years.
Concluding a schooling clause is only possible for employees with an open-ended employment agreement. In order to be valid, a schooling clause must be drawn up in writing and this document should contain some specifics; the education that will be followed, duration of the schooling clause, which amount the employee will have to repay if he leaves the company before the end of the agreed upon period …
A number of additional requirements also have to be met, one of which is the fact that the employee’s yearly gross salary has to exceed a certain threshold, set at € 34.180 for calendar year 2018. If the employee’s yearly salary does not exceed said threshold, the schooling clause will be deemed non-existing.
Schooling clause for “bottleneck jobs”
Currently, the Belgian job market is struggling to match supply and demand, resulting in a high job vacancy rate – notably for bottleneck jobs – despite a reserve in workforce.
Presented with these difficult to fill bottleneck job vacancies, the government decided to encourage employers to support educations for bottleneck jobs by introducing a more flexible schooling clause in this respect.
More specifically, the above-mentioned minimum yearly salary threshold of € 34.180 will in the future no longer apply for schooling clauses that relate to an education for a job that is listed in the Regional catalogues of bottleneck jobs.
The other requirements for a valid schooling clause, as briefly mentioned above, will however remain fully valid in case of a schooling clause for bottleneck jobs.
Entry into force
The schooling clause for bottleneck jobs will only enter into force after publication in the Belgian Official Gazette, which we are currently awaiting.