The study costs clause: will it no longer be allowed?

On 1 August 2022, the Netherlands must have implemented the European Directive on transparent and predictable terms of employment (“the directive”). The directive includes an improved information obligation of the employer and new minimum rights for the employee. An important result of the directive is an adjustment of the current training obligation of the employer. In this blog you can read about the adjustment of the current training obligation and the effect it will have on the study costs clause.

The current training obligation

The employer has an obligation to provide training for his employees. This means that the employer must enable the employee to follow training that is necessary for the performance of his/her position. This obligation also applies when the position of the employee has ceased to exist or when the employee is no longer capable of fulfilling the position. Vocational training and training to maintain the professional qualification are excluded from this obligation.

In principle, the employer pays the costs of the training. However, the current training obligation does not affect the agreement of a study costs clause.

The study costs clause

Because the employer wishes to maintain the acquired knowledge of the employee, a study costs clause is often included in an employment contract. A study costs clause implies that if the employee leaves the company within a certain period of time after having completed the training, he/she has to refund (part of) the study costs to the employer. A number of conditions are attached to a legally valid study costs clause:

  • The agreement must be in writing;
  • The agreements must be clear;
  • The obligation to refund the study costs must be limited to a certain period of time and there must be a sliding scale (the longer the employment, the lower the costs).

The directive as of 1 August 2022

The directive states that when the employer is obliged (by law or a collective labour agreement) to provide the employee with training for the purpose of the job, the training:

  • Is offered free of charge to the employee;
  • Is considered working time; and
  • If possible, takes place during working hours.

Compulsory training is training that the employer is obliged to offer on the basis of the law or CLA. It does not concern the obligation of an employee to follow certain training in order to maintain his professional qualification. It only concerns obligations imposed on the employer to provide training. This usually concerns training in the field of safety and working conditions.

Study costs clauses remain possible

As of 1 August 2022, a study costs clause for a compulsory training will no longer be valid. After all, a study costs clause would mean that the training is no longer free of charge for the employee. For non-compulsory training, it will remain possible to agree on a study costs clause.

Implementation of the directive

The directive does not provide for transitional law. The directive will therefore have immediate effect as of 1 August 2022. As a result, study costs clauses which are contrary to the law will be null and void immediately.


Do you have any questions about the training obligation or the study costs clause? Please contact one of our lawyers.


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All lawyers at our firm specialise in employment law. We have extensive experience in providing employment law advice and resolving employment conflicts.

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