My ideal work force? … I create my own!

15 November 2016

Certain jobs require specific competences, making it difficult to find that new employee who has the necessary experience. Naturally you, as a business, can teach that employee those competences, but this will involve a long, paid start-up period. In order to deal with this issue, the VDAB has set up the “Individual Professional Training system” (Individuele Beroepsopleiding; “IBO”). This system offers you the opportunity to train a new employee specifically for that position at your company, without the additional salary costs.

It all starts with an open vacancy, because it is the intention for you to offer the person in question an employment contract after completing the training period. You may already have a candidate who you wish to include in your team, or VDAB will find a suitable candidate for you. Whichever is the case, the candidate must comply with certain conditions before being included in the IBO system. The candidate must be unemployed for reasons beyond his own willbe registered in the VDAB as a job seeker and also not have worked in your company before. However, there are two exceptions to the last condition, i.e. if the candidate had a student job or on interim basis. For the latter exception a maximum applies of 10 or 12 days in the 5 or 6 days system respectively.

When the candidate is assessed as being eligible for the IBO system, the candidate still needs to meet a consultant of the VDAB for the purposes of drawing up a training plan and finalise the employment agreement for the future IBO-trainee. In the two weeks after signing the agreement, the trainee must be employed within the company.

The work consists of two parts, i.e. a training period with a duration of one to six months, immediately followed by a period of normal employment. Generally the IBO system deals with employment agreements for full-time employment. It is possible to conclude a part-time IBO-agreement for a minimum employment of 50%. The person in question can still also use his other statutory holidays and, if applicable, supplement these with youth-or senior holidays during his/her IBO period.

Arrangements will also be made with regard to the salary that the IBO trainee will earn. After all, it is the intention that he will enjoy a similar income during his IBO traineeship and the subsequent employment period that is also in accordance with that earned by another employee in the company who holds a similar position. In order to achieve this, his unemployment benefit or trainee fee if he is not entitled to an unemployment benefit, will be supplemented with a productivity premium. In addition to this productivity premium, which will amount to approximately one third of the salary, the employer must only pay the occupational accident insurance and any travel costs.

This package of financial benefits does involve a condition, i.e. the obligation to employ the person involved after the trainee period. In general, this must involve an employment agreement for an indefinite period with the same work regime. This can be deviated from by offering the person involved an employment agreement for a definite period if you can substantiate that this is normal practice within the company.

The employee is not only obliged to employ the person involved, but also has the duty to keep him/her employed for at least the period the IBO training was given. Case law has shown us that the company must make a high payment of damages in the event of a premature dismissal during the IBO training and in the directly subsequent protection period. In the event of a dismissal during the IBO training, you need to pay the productivity premium for the remaining period of the IBO training plus the salary for the period that he/she would have been employed for an indefinite period. In the event of a dismissal during the protection period, the dismissal damage fee is calculated on the basis of the full period worked including that of the IBO training. Naturally the strict provisions do not apply when you dismissed the person involved for a serious reason.

The employer must give its employee an honest chance and the same applies to the employee. The employee is also not permitted to terminate the IBO training prematurely without providing sufficient reason.

It is also important to correct document the following practicalities during the IBO training period:

  • The IBO agreement
  • Proof of presence; C98- IBO
    This documents any days of absence and the person involved must make this available along with the white stamp card (C3C) to his payment institution in order to receive his/her benefit.
  • The performance list
    The person involved must make this document available to VDAB in order for his/her productivity premium to be paid.

A version of the IBO is the Specialised Vocational Training for Businesses (Gespecialiseerde Beroepsopleiding voor Ondernemingen; “GIBO”), specifically for job seekers with a work-limiting disability. In general the conditions and procedure rules of the GIBO apply, with the exception that the training period is extended to 52 weeks. In addition, the productivity premium is not paid by the employer-business in question, but by the VDAB as the training of a disabled person automatically requires more time.