Refunding study costs by employees limited by new legislation

20 September 2022 – Barbara Spliet

Limitation of recovery study costs

It used to be quite common – especially in the case of the more expensive courses – for employers to agree with employees that upon termination of the employment contract, the employee would refund (part of) the study costs. As of 1 August 2022, the Transparent and Predictable Employment Conditions Act (Wet transparant en voorspelbare arbeidsvoorwaarden) will severely limit the possibility to recover such costs from the employee. As of that date, employers are no longer allowed to recover costs from employees for training that is mandatory by law or under the applicable collective bargaining agreement. These costs should be borne by the employer. The costs of mandatory training include travel expenses, examination fees and study materials.

What kind of training will this apply to?

The new legislation only applies to training that is qualified as necessary for the position of the employee on the grounds of the law or the collective bargaining agreement. For example, the compulsory training for a safety officer or training that is necessary for the proper performance of a job (for example, in the case of new technological developments). Another example is training within the framework of an improvement plan or when training is necessary to redeploy the employee.

If the training concerns vocational training or training that employees are obliged to attend in order to obtain, maintain or renew a vocational qualification, the above does not apply. The professions as mentioned in the Regulation establishing the list of regulated professions fall under this category (and are therefore excluded).

Training time = working time

The compulsory training counts as working time and shall take place as much as possible during regular working hours.

No transitional law

As there is no transitional law, existing study costs clauses for compulsory courses are invalid from 1 August 2022 onwards.


Given the new legislation we recommend employer to take the next steps:

(1) Inventory what training is offered within the organisation; 

(2) Inventory which training arrangements have been agreed with the employees and which may or may not be sustainable; 

(3) Draft a new training policy that distinguishes between compulsory and non-compulsory training.

Barbara Spliet