As of August 1, 2022, employers must provide schooling which is mandatory by law or the collective labor agreement free of costs to their employees and regard the time spent on it as working hours. This also means you can no longer conclude a so-called ‘repayment of training costs clause’ with an employee for this mandatory schooling. In such a clause, it is agreed with the employee that (s)he must pay back the costs of schooling if (s)he leaves employment after a said period of time after having completed the respective schooling. Currently, such clauses are still frequently concluded for mandatory schooling, even though the employer has a statutory duty to provide such schooling to employees.
The new rules are part of European Union guidelines which must have been incorporated into Dutch legislation before August 1, 2021. For this, a concept version of a legislative proposal has now been prepared: ‘Wet implementatie EU-richtlijn transparante en voorspelbare arbeidsvoorwaarden’ (Implementation of EU guidelines for Transparent and Predictable Terms of Employment Act). The Netherlands Council for the Judiciary has recently given its opinion on the legislative proposal. They concluded some things are still unclear. For example, schooling mandatory by law or the collective labor agreement will become free of costs for employees, but vocational training to obtain a professional qualification will not. The difference between the two isn’t always so clear-cut, however. It is also unclear whether there will be any transitional arrangements for employees already following mandatory schooling. If so, you have to take this into account when concluding a repayment of training costs clause!