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Conditions of service for teachers working in early childhood and school education

Belgium - Flemish Community

9.Teachers and education staff

9.2Conditions of service for teachers working in early childhood and school education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Planning policy

The Flemish Ministry of Education and Training regularly analyses supply and demand on the education labour market and makes forecasts. Since 2015, there has been a forecast of the recruitment needs in nursery and primary and secondary education for the next 10 years (2015-2025). The recruitment need is the annual number of teachers (in full-time equivalents) needed to cope with the outflow (e.g. through retirement) and reduction of teaching assignments (e.g. through part-time career breaks) of existing teachers (= replacement demand) as well as a possible increase in the number of pupils (= expansion demand). Three main factors are taken into account in order to identify recruitment needs:

  • the age structure and outflow patterns of the current teaching staff;
  • policy measures (in this case, the phasing out of the leave of absence prior to the retirement pension and an increase in the retirement age);
  • increase or decrease in pupil numbers (based on population projections)

In addition to the recruitment requirements, the Ministry of Education and Training monitors the trends in enrolment and diplomas in teacher training. After all, graduates in teacher training largely determine the future supply of the education labour market.

Finally, the current situation in the education labour market is also monitored from month to month. Monthly newsletters present figures on job seekers (with a teacher training programme), the number of vacancies in education and the ratio between these two (the tension indicator). The data for this purpose are mainly taken from the VDAB, which, in cooperation with the Department of Education and Training has created a teacher database for nursery and primary and secondary education.

The demand for a sufficient number of newly qualified teachers is not only followed up by the government but this concern is shared by all stakeholders, the government and the social partners. They are therefore also committed to working on the development of a broadly based plan to make the teaching profession attractive. The career debate aims at measures to improve the recruitment of teachers: better initial guidance for starting teachers, attention to the workload and workability for starting teachers, more job security for starting teachers and attention for further professional development during the career. Another aim of this debate are measures to ensure that starting teachers reach a sustainable employment more quickly. Specific attention will also go to the training of school leaders and principals.

Entry to the profession

Access to the teaching profession in nursery and primary and secondary education is based on the “open recruitment” principle.

The school board will recruit the staff member. If the staff member meets a number of specific requirements – laid down in the aforementioned decrees on the legal status – the Government of Flanders will finance or subsidize this staff member.

General conditions of admission (Decrees of 27 March 1991):

The Flemish legislator lays down the following admission conditions for those who wish to be appointed as staff members in education:

  • be a citizen of the European Union or the European Free Trade Association (exceptions are possible on the basis of an exemption that the Government of Flanders can grant);
  • are in possession of his/her civil and political rights (the Government of Flanders may also grant an exemption in this case that goes hand in hand with the exemption mentioned above);
  • meet the language requirements. Dutch is the official language of instruction;
  • be of impeccable quality as evidenced by a certificate of good character issued not more than one year previously;
  • be medically fit.
  • be in possession of the certificates of competence laid down by the Government of Flanders for the position in question.

As long as candidates fulfil these conditions, schools are in principle free to recruit those they consider suitable (taking into account the priority rules applicable to permanent and temporary staff who are entitled to a temporary assignment of a continuous duration: see also 9.2.6 and 9.2.7).

Required linguistic knowledge

The official language of instruction in nursery and primary and secondary education is Dutch.

For an appointment in education, the Flemish legislator lays down a number of levels of language knowledge of this official language of instruction on the basis of the classification of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). These levels vary according to the post occupied by a staff member in the field of education. The CEFR has six levels of language proficiency, of which

  • level A is the language proficiency level of the basic user;
  • level B is the level of the independent user;
  • level C is the level of the skilled user.

Each of the three levels has two intermediate levels, resulting in levels A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 and C2, with A1 being the lowest level and C2 the highest (for more information, see the website of the Taalunie, Dutch only) 

Level C 1 applies to those appointed to a post of administrative and teaching staff. For posts not belonging to the management and teaching staff and for teachers of foreign languages, level B2 is required.

Teachers in charge of the compulsory second language French in nursery and primary education (both in Flanders and in the Brussels-Capital Region) must have a knowledge of French at level B1 for reading and writing, B2 for listening and speaking.

As long as the members of staff do not meet the language requirements, they cannot be appointed permanently. The school must apply for a temporary language derogation for them for a maximum of three years.

A staff member who is unable to demonstrate his language knowledge required for an appointment to the teaching profession by means of a certificate of competence or study certificate may prove his language knowledge of Dutch or French by means of another certificate or attestation provided that this demonstrates the required level of language knowledge.

The regulations also apply to French-speaking schools on the territory of the Flemish Region. This specifically concerns knowledge of French as a language of instruction, knowledge of Dutch as a language of administration and also knowledge of Dutch, where it is compulsory to teach it as a second language. (Circulars press/2010/01 and press/2010/02, Dutch only).

Certificates of competence

The Government of Flanders determines the certificates of competence for each level of education. This is carried out for each department.  For teachers in secondary education, the certificates of competence are laid down for each subject, degree and type of education (GSE, TSE, VSE, SEA). A certificate of competence includes a basic diploma, a certificate of pedagogical competence (teacher training) and/or useful experience.

There are three types of proofs of competence, namely: “required”, “deemed sufficient” and “other”.

A “required” certificate of competence is available if a person has followed specific prior training in accordance with the subject to be taught. The requirements set for the diploma in terms of level depend on the type of subject, the degree, the type of education, the module and/or the training.

A certificate of competence is “deemed sufficient” if a person holds a basic diploma of the same level as the certificate of competence required but not in that speciality.

The possession of a certificate of pedagogical competence (teacher training) is a necessary condition for a “required” and a “deemed  sufficient” certificate of competence.

There is an “open recruitment” system: the school board is free to choose between candidates with a “required” or a “deemed sufficient” certificate of competence at the time of recruitment. In principle, schools should always give priority to someone with a “required” or a “deemed sufficient” certificate of competence. Exceptionally, the school may deviate from this general rule and appoint a person with an “other certificate of competence”. In this case, the person holds a basic diploma of a certain (minimum) level. For some subjects, three years “useful experience” is sufficient.

There is an interactive overview of the aptitude certificates online (Dutch only).


As from 1 September 2019 the right to initial guidance for teachers in the initial phase of their careers is included in their legal status.

A teacher is entitled to initial counselling and coaching during the initial phase of his career (the temporary appointment of a fixed duration, see also 9.2.6).

Each teacher is entitled to his own individual trajectory of initial guidance. This trajectory is determined by the first evaluator of the teacher, which most often is the principal of the school. The first evaluator determines, in consultation with the teacher, the duration and intensity of the trajectory of the individual initial guidance. This right to initial guidance has to be formally included in the teacher’s job description. Successful completion of the initial guidance is a condition for moving on to the next career phase: the temporary appointment of a continuous duration (see also 9.2.6). Hereto the first evaluator has to assess the teacher at the end of his temporary appointment of a fixed duration and this assessment is based mainly on the agreed trajectory of initial guidance. The design, content and organization of initial guidance are the responsibility of the school board or of the combined school for schools that are part of such a partnership.

Professional status

Legal framework

The employer in nursery and primary and secondary education is the school board (the governing body). The government is therefore not an employer nor is it an employer of staff in the official education of the Flemish Community (GO!).

The Government of Flanders (the Flemish Parliament as legislator or the Government of Flanders as representative of the parliament) does impose rules for the organization, recognition and financing/subsidizing of education, including personnel. This competence for certain aspects of education stems from the constitutional freedom of education. By imposing rules to guarantee the quality of education in the democratically built society, the government makes the effective exercise of the freedom of education possible. Translated to staff, these include regulations on certificates of competence, use of the language of instruction, conditions of employment and permanent appointment of staff, setting salaries, etc. For nursery and primary and secondary education, these government rules are laid down in a decree and a series of Government of Flanders Orders.

The legal status contains the legal framework that allows the employer (school board) to conduct a personnel policy within the guidelines that have been laid down in consultation with staff representatives. The legal status is determined by the Government of Flanders by decree. The government is responsible for a constant balancing act between, on the one hand, the demand for central control and, on the other hand, the care for/demand for as much autonomy as possible for the employer. An important point of attention in this respect is the concern that  teaching staff have the necessary legal protection.

Legal status arrangements are therefore the subject of frequent and extensive social dialogue between representatives of employers, workers’ representatives (= representative trade unions) and the government. The government tries as much as possible to work towards solutions by consensus.

The legal status of teaching staff in nursery and primary and secondary education – and also for adult education, part-time education in the arts and pupil guidance centres is laid down in two decrees on legal status: a decree on legal status for staff members of the official education of the Flemish Community and one decree on legal status for staff members of the official and free education. As a result, a teaching staff member is appointed as a so-called statutory staff member. This statutory employment ensures that, for a number of employment law provisions, teaching staff belong to the public sector (including the right to a state pension, wage indexation, etc.).

(staff regulations in the official education of the Flemish Community & staff regulations in the official and free education, in Dutch only).

Types of posts

Staff in the education sector are always appointed a post as laid down by the legislator. For members of the teaching staff in (special needs) nursery and primary and secondary education, three types of posts can be distinguished:

  • Recruitment post
    • Recruitment posts: administration and teaching staff in mainstream nursery and primary education: pre-school teacher, teacher, teacher of religion, teacher of non-confessional ethics, teacher of physical education
    • Recruitment posts: administration and teaching staff in mainstream secondary education: teacher, religious teacher, supervisor
    • Recruitment posts: management and teaching staff in special-needs nursery and primary education: pre-school teacher general and social education, teacher general and social education, teacher of religion, teacher of non-confessional ethics, teacher of general and social education – specialism physical education, teacher of general and social education – specialism compensating technique Braille in type 6
    • Recruitment posts: management and teaching staff in special secondary education: general and social education teacher, general and social education teacher specialism physical education teacher, general and social education compensating technique Braille in type 6, professional education teacher, non-confessional ethics teacher, religious education teacher
  • Selection post (e.g. assistant director, technical adviser, ...),
  • Promotion post (e.g. director, technical adviser-coordinator).

For staff information in schools and combined schools, see

Statutory employment

Within the legal framework (see 9.2.1), the temporary appointment on the one hand and the permanent appointment on the other exist.

The school board will recruit the staff member. If the staff member meets the regulatory requirements, the government finances or subsidizes this staff member. The career always starts with a temporary appointment. This is initially a fixed-term temporary assignment for a maximum of one school year. In practice, a large number of staff members start their careers by filling in (short) absences (so-called interims) in various schools.

In the event of a positive assessment by the employer, successive temporary appointments of a definite duration lead to a temporary appointment of a continuous duration after a certain period of time.

A temporary assignment for a continuous period should, in the first instance, offer a staff member the prospect of greater job security. That appointment is a right for the staff member and a duty for the school board in so far as there are vacancies to be filled. The actual appointment of a staff member for a continuous period of time also gives him the prospect of becoming a permanent staff member.

The final phase in the career is the permanent appointment to a school board. This permanent appointment offers the staff member long-term security (salary and employment) and also entitles them to a state pension.

The educational career of a teacher thus consists of three important steps:

  1. At the start of an educational career, a teacher is always given a temporary assignment of a fixed duration. This is an appointment for a maximum of one school year in a vacant or non-vacant position. The staff member must fulfil the financing or subsidy conditions. Furthermore, the Flemish legislator does not impose any additional conditions and the school board decides for itself who it recruits.
  2. After at least two school years, a temporary staff member may reach a second stage in his educational career: temporary assignment for a continuous period. This is a uniform priority system for teachers in both the official education of the Flemish Community and the official and free education. This appointment goes beyond school years, in either a vacant or a non-vacant position. The conditions are:
  • have seniority of at least 580 days spread over at least two school years. Of these 580 days, 400 must have been performed effectively;
  • have received a positive assessment by his first evaluator by 30 June of the schoolyear in which he acquires the seniority of 580 days.
  1. A third step in the educational career is the permanent appointment.
  • A permanent appointment to a recruitment post (including a teacher) requires both in the official education of the Flemish Community and in the official and free education:
  • the fulfilment of a number of personal conditions (the financing or subsidy conditions);
  • seniority in the service of at least 690 days, including at least 360 days in the post to which the staff member is appointed;
  • an appointment of a continuous duration prior to the permanent appointment.
  • A permanent appointment to a selection post (e.g. assistant director) or a promotion post (e.g. director) is a promotion [see 9.2.13.]. No additional service requirements regarding seniority are required.

Contractual employment

A school can also recruit staff outside the context of its legal status (i.e. outside the financing or subsidy granted by the Government of Flanders) in the form of a contractual employment.

There are various types of contractual employment for which specific arrangements have been drawn up and for which provisions have been worked out whereby a staff member acquires certain rights on the basis of his past service within the context of the legal status.

  • Contractual staff members at the expense of the Department of Education and Training (CODOs); they have a contract of indefinite duration (and can build up rights in order to be permanently appointed to a statutory position afterwards).
  • Subsidized contractors (GECOs) in the Brussels-Capital Region.
  • The contract staff appointed on the basis of the school’s operating resources (COWEs).

Leave of absence due to lack of employment, redeployment and re-employment

A permanent staff member whose duties are cancelled or reduced through no fault of his own falls under the system of “leave of absence due to lack of employment, redeployment and re-employment”. A permanent staff member will therefore not be dismissed in the event of the initial employment being terminated but will be made temporarily available at the time of his departure from school. During the period of leave of absence, the staff member must temporarily take up another post in his own school or in another school. This is done by way of redeployment or re-employment.

Redeployment takes place with respect to the same post. If this is not possible, the school board or the redeployment committee can “re-employ” the person concerned.

Re-employment takes place in a “different post”, such as a director in a teacher’s post and a teacher in the teacher’s post but then for subjects for which he does not have a required certificate of competence.

For schools belonging to a combined school, the redeployment and re-employment obligations are at the level of the combined school.

During the leave of absence, a staff member will retain his permanent appointment and will be entitled to a waiting allowance corresponding to the salary he received as a permanent staff member. Personnel on leave of absence are obliged, under certain conditions, to accept their redeployment or re-employment. They may also be available in certain cases for the performance of pedagogical tasks.

For the redeployments and re-employment, different redeployment committees have been set up for each education sector at the level of the schools group (for the official education of the Flemish Community) and the combined school (for nursery and primary and secondary education). At the Flemish Ministry of Education and Training, a Flemish Redeployment Committee acts as a decision-making committee for all levels of education and all networks but also as an appeal body for dealing with appeals. This committee consists of a chamber for the official education of the Flemish Community and a chamber for the official and free education.

The leave of absence is de facto temporary in nature. As soon as there is a permanent vacancy in the school in the same post (due to a growing framework, retirement of other staff), the school board must use this vacancy to reappoint the staff member on leave of absence. The staff member will once more take up his place as a permanent staff member.


Each educational network has its own code of ethics for teaching staff.

  • Staff should represent the interests of education, the institution, pupils and other stakeholders.
  • They carry out the tasks assigned to them conscientiously and behave in an appropriate manner when dealing with pupils, parents and the public.
  • They will avoid any action which might undermine public confidence or the honour or dignity of the office.
  • They are prohibited from accepting gifts, gratuities, rewards or any other benefit.
  • They may not use their authority for political or commercial purposes.
  • They must maintain professional secrecy (e.g. after the class deliberating council).
  • They may not interrupt the performance of their duties without the prior authorization of the hierarchical authority.

In the case of the official and free education, the obligations arising from the specific nature of the education project must be respected (any incompatibilities must be notified in writing by the school board before entry into service). The decrees on legal status explicitly state that facts relating to private life, which do not affect the relationship between the pupil and the staff member or the school life, cannot give rise to a measure by the school board.

In the GO! (community education), staff must respect the neutrality statement (in Dutch only) and implement the GO! pedagogical project.

Replacement measures

Absences of 10 consecutive working days or more entitle nursery and primary and secondary schools to a replacement for an absent staff member.

Since 1 September 2015, the system of eligible replacements has been amended. A staff member temporarily replacing another staff member whose absence started during a period of 14 calendar days before or during the autumn, Christmas, spring or Easter holidays will not receive any remuneration for such absence. This measure does not apply to nursery and primary education.

Shorter absences traditionally caused a problem. For short absences of nursery and primary teaching staff appointed to a recruitment post of nursery and primary school administrators and teachers, each school is allocated a contingent of replacement units which is set up and managed within a cooperation platform and can be used on a tailor-made basis and according to local needs and priorities. (Replacement units are thus a different form of framework than teaching hours, teacher hours, teaching periods or points. Teaching hours, teacher hours, teaching periods or points are allocated on a weekly basis for a full school year or for the rest of the school year. This is not the case with replacement units).

The term “cooperation platform” refers to schools working together within

  • a combined school;
  • a partnership between one or more combined schools and one or more educational institutions which do not belong to a combined school; 
  • a partnership between different combined schools.

The replacement units can only be used if a covenant is concluded between the organising body or bodies and the trade unions represented in the competent negotiation and/or consultation committee(s) at the level of the cooperation platform [see 2.7.5].

With the replacement units, a staff member can be appointed for a maximum of one school year, on condition that agreements have been made to this effect in the covenant.

Since 1 September 2009, better remuneration has been applicable for staff members who replace short absences for overtime or as an additional job.

(See circular PERS/2005/23, in Dutch only)

During the school year 2018-2019 and 2019-2020, a pilot project ‘teacher platform’ was set up in primary education and secondary education. This teacher platform should ensure greater job security and financial security for starting teachers by giving them a substantial assignment.

The participating primary and secondary schools have the opportunity to appoint a number of teachers until the end of the school year through this project, provided that these teachers are employed for eligible replacements of absences shorter than a school year (absences of 10 consecutive working days or more).

In order to be part of a teacher platform, schools must belong to a collaborative platform, which consist of:

  • a school community;
  • several school communities;
  • a partnership between one or more school communities and one or more educational institutions which do not belong to a school community;

The teacher is appointed from 1 October to 30 June. If the teacher is not employed in an eligible replacement, he will be engaged for other pedagogical tasks in a school that is part of the teacher platform (occasional teaching, co-teaching, peer learning, non- eligible replacements...).

These pilot projects are currently being evaluated regarding an eventual extension in September 2020.

Support measures

During their career, teachers (teams) are guided in their professional development by the school advisory services [see].

Since 1 September 2017, a separate corps of support staff has been deployed to support pupils with special educational needs and their teachers (team). These supporters are based at a school for special educational needs education (SEN) from where they take on a task to support mainstream teachers (teams) in teaching pupils with special educational needs and, if necessary, also to provide support to these pupils themselves.

School boards are obliged by federal welfare legislation to promote the welfare of their teaching staff. Teaching staff who feel they are suffering psychological damage whether or not accompanied by physical damage as a result of transgressive behaviour at work and too much pressure of work have various options for action and procedures in accordance with federal law.

Various players within the educational institution are involved in the development of the prevention policy for the prevention of psychosocial risks. Their role is defined in accordance with federal welfare legislation (codex on well-being at work). Book I, General Principles, Title 3 “Prevention of psychosocial risks at work”).

The first contact points for complaints are the school board (employer) and the management (hierarchical line) as they are directly competent to offer a solution to the problem raised. A member of the welfare committee or a trade union representative are also important points of contact for teaching staff.  Teaching staff may also spontaneously consult the prevention adviser-medical officer immediately if they have health complaints which they feel are due to the work performed.

If teaching staff does not want to involve these persons or if they feel that these persons do not offer an adequate solution to their problems, they can make use of various possibilities for action and procedures in accordance with federal law.

Teaching staff may use a specific internal procedure, present in each educational establishment, consisting of two types of intervention: the informal psychosocial intervention and the formal psychosocial intervention.

In the informal procedure, an attempt is being made to find a constructive approach to the difficulties that arise. Teaching staff can request an interview with the confidential counsellor if the school has appointed this person.  Teaching staff may also contact the prevention adviser for psychosocial aspects of the school directly. Every employer (including a school board) must have a psychosocial prevention adviser who is either part of the internal prevention and protection at work service of the educational establishment or of the external service of which the educational establishment is a member.

The necessary individual and collective measures are proposed in the formal procedure after a thorough investigation of the facts. The teaching staff can only submit a request for formal psychosocial intervention to the prevention adviser for psychosocial aspects.


GO! staff will receive a salary and the staff of the official and free education will receive a salary allowance, which will be paid directly and monthly by the Flemish Community.

Pay in the education sector depends on the following factors:

  • the type of post held (types of post and categories of personnel, recruitment, selection or promotion duties)
  • the statutory situation (temporary or permanent);
  • administrative status (active, non-active, etc.);
  • the certificates of competence and the salary scales attached thereto;
  • the nature of the job (main job, additional job – depending on the situation and the educational level, the additional assignment involves unpaid teaching periods, overtime or additional job) and the scope of the job;
  • previous teaching service (seniority); previous service with the government and specifically for teachers teaching technical or practical subjects and some artistic subjects, it is possible to have up to 10 years seniority additionally validated in the current seniority.
  • the personal and family situation (additional financial benefits such as holiday pay, child allowance, reimbursement of transport costs, end-of-year bonus, etc.);
  • other allowances, such as the allowance for childcare before and after school hours and the allowance for afternoon supervision.

The salary scales (Dutch only) are linked to a specific certificate of competence and consist of a starting salary (minimum), a number of periodic increases (annual, biennial and at the end of the career) and a maximum salary, in accordance with seniority.

Seniority does not start until the minimum age has been reached. The amounts of the salary scales will be adjusted to take account of the increase in consumer prices. For each position, the certificates of competence and the salary scales associated with them are always drawn up in close consultation with the social partners.

In addition to the actual salary, a staff member is entitled, in specific circumstances, to the following allowances: home and base allowance, a non-acquired salary scale e.g. reimbursement of special certificates and diplomas, holiday allowance, end-of-year bonus, maternity allowance, child allowance, travel expenses (in the event of bicycle or public transport use), funeral allowance, trade union allowance, remuneration for afternoon supervision and pre-school and post-school care.

Additional performance can be paid up to a maximum of 140%.

There can be no differentiation in the teacher’s salary on the basis of merit, place of employment and whether or not the assignment is a difficult one. 

Teachers are paid according to their assignment or the number of services provided. The size of this is calculated on the basis of the number of teaching hours to be taught but teachers are not free to choose the number of teaching hours they wish to teach.

Teaching staff

per level

Salary scales

Starting salary

(not indexed in €)

 Maximum salary

(not indexed in €)

(based on seniority)

Pre-school education




Primary education




SO group 1 (teacher/PBA integrated LO)




SO group 2 (bachelor/

aggregate SO/Ma + SLO)




The salaries are in € at 100%, they must be multiplied by a coefficient of 1,6734 (index on 1/07/2017)

Source Department of Education & Training - pay scales (in Dutch only)


Working time and holidays

Working hours

In nursery and primary education

The decree on nursery and primary education has introduced three concepts into nursery and primary education: the assignment, the school assignment and the main assignment.

  • The assignment covers all the tasks carried out by the staff member, inside and outside the school;
  • The school assignment consists of the tasks that a teacher performs in a school context, being the main assignment (the teaching assignment) and a number of other tasks. The authorities have laid down a maximum of 26 hours of weekly schooling in mainstream and special nursery and nursery and primary schools (BVR of 17 June 1997), which excludes participation in parents’ or staff meetings.
  • The main assignment is in principle the teaching assignment (minimum 24 teaching periods for a full-time appointed teacher but this can be extended by a number of unpaid teaching periods: see the table below for this). For some teachers, these may also be other pedagogical tasks.

Weekly main job full time

Number of teaching periods

Mainstream nursery and primary education



Pre-school teacher






Teacher of religion, teacher of non-confessional ethics, teacher of physical education



Specialized nursery and primary education


Pre-school teacher ASV



ASV teacher, the teacher of religion, the teacher of non-confessional ethics, the teacher of physical education and the teacher of compensation technology Braille in type 6



Secondary education:

In secondary education, teachers’ working hours are still referred to as effective teaching hours.

In mainstream secondary education, weekly teaching periods are a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 29 teaching periods of 50 minutes, depending on the teacher’s degree of teaching and the office (general subjects, technical subjects, arts subjects or practical subjects).






1st degree





2nd degree





3nd degree





4th degree/HBO5






In special secondary education, the weekly teaching periods are minimum 22 and maximum 24 teaching periods of 50 minutes for the teacher of general and social education and minimum 24 and maximum 28 teaching periods of 50 minutes for the teacher of vocational training.


Performance indicators

Teacher ASV (general social education)


Teacher ASV LO


Teacher ASV Braille compensation technique


Teacher of religious studies


Teacher NC ethics


Teacher of BGV (vocational training)



The working time of a teacher in nursery and primary and secondary education also remains the same throughout his or her career. Reduction of working time is possible but this requires a staff member to use a system of leave (leave or absence for reduced salary) and this includes the staff member forfeiting part of his salary.

The volume of the teacher’s assignment is expressed in teaching periods of 50 minutes and not in hours of work.

The task (the performance scheme) of a staff member is a particularly remarkable one for the outside world. For many it seems as if the assignment/performance scheme is limited to teaching as far as the teacher is concerned. This is because, to a large extent, the teaching assignment is the only quantifiable element of the staff member’s assignment. In nursery and primary education, this task is expressed in a school assignment (with a presence of 26 hours at the school and a teaching assignment of 24 to 27 hours for the teacher) but in the other levels of education, only the actual teaching assignment is still the only visible element (an assignment of 20, 21, 22, 24, 29, ... teaching hours).

In practice, an educational assignment involves a great deal more. It takes the form of a job description for the staff member. In addition to the (teaching) assignment, this assignment also includes the other tasks and institution-related assignments that a staff member takes on but that actual assignment has not yet been quantified.

Staff in Flanders experience a relatively high workload. This is probably partly due to the fact that there are very large differences in the actual workload of staff in a school, even though they formally receive the same benefits. This may be due to the fact that a large proportion of these tasks are in a kind of grey zone. With the introduction of the individualized job description in 2007, the government made a first attempt to formalize the tasks and assignments of a teacher and make them more concrete, but these tasks and assignments are still not directly linked to the performance scheme.

Holiday arrangement

Annual holidays consist of official school holidays, vacation days and a few days to be chosen by each educational establishment. The annual holiday leave consists of the Christmas holiday (2 weeks), the Easter holiday (2 weeks), the summer holiday (9 weeks), the autumn holiday and the spring holiday (2 times 1 week) and a number of statutory and regulatory holidays (+/- 4 days).

Secondary education establishments may, in addition, have one optional day off. Nursery and primary and special needs secondary education establishments have two optional days off. Holidays are remunerated and assimilated to a period of service activity. However, temporary teachers will be reported out of service by 30 June.

There is also the possibility of taking a leave of absence. There are the following types:

  • conditional leave (in case of marriage, childbirth, death of a member of the family, etc.);
  • exceptional force majeure leave (sickness or accident of a member of the family living under the same roof as the teacher);
  • absence for the performance of civic duties or civil missions (legal proceedings, local elections, etc.);
  • absence for the purpose of taking care of children for adoption or fostering;
  • leave for reduced performance, absence for reduced performance and leave for reduced performance from the age of 55;
  • leave to perform certain public duties, political leave.

Under certain conditions, temporary and permanent staff as well as contract agents, could interrupt their professional activities for a certain period of time and receive an allowance. Since 2 January 2016, staff have been able to take career breaks only in specific situations, namely career breaks for palliative leave, medical assistance and parental leave.

Since 2 January 2016, members of staff have been able to take care leave for the following reasons:

  • Care for a child up to 12 years of age
  • Medical assistance
  • Palliative care
  • Care for disabled children
  • Training

More information in the circular letter about care leave (in Dutch only).

Promotion, advancement

A career in education means a de facto flat career for many teachers unless the staff member opts for promotion to a position of assistant director, director, technical adviser, etc. .

Promotion is possible by appointment/assignment to a selection or promotion post.

  • Selection posts are assistant director, technical adviser and coordinator for secondary education.
  • Promotion posts are the post of director of nursery and primary education, director of secondary education and technical adviser-coordinator in secondary education.
  • In addition, there are a number of jobs in both levels of education that can be regarded as promotion . It concerns the functions of director-coordination of a combined school in nursery and primary education, staff member of a combined school in community nursery and primary education, coordinating director of a combined school in secondary education and general director of a group of schools in the GO! or of a governing body in the official and free education.
  • An appointment to the Education Inspectorate is also possible and is de facto a form of promotion.

In order to break through flat careers to a certain extent and to better address teachers’ specific skills and interests, the possibility of job and task differentiation was also introduced in mainstream and special secondary education. As a result, the teaching assignment of a teacher can be replaced in whole or in part by other tasks and functions in the school (e.g. degree coordination, mentoring, pupil guidance, policy support, etc.).

Mobility and transfers

In addition to the possibilities for function and task differentiation within a school as described in 9.2.13, a teacher can also interrupt his or her assignment (temporarily or otherwise) to work in another school or to take up an assignment with, for example, the school advisory services or an educational umbrella organization.

In this case, a teacher has the following options:

  • A permanent teacher is assigned to one or more schools by the school board at the time of his or her permanent appointment. That is an assignment. A staff member may, subject to his agreement, add a new assignment to another school of his school board.
  • A permanent teacher can also work at his own request in a school of another school board by means of a transfer. The new school board must agree to this. The permanent staff member then resigns from his current board and is immediately permanently appointed to the same post on the new board.

A permanent teacher may also temporarily interrupt his or her assignment to work in his or her own school or in another school as a teacher in a different subject, in a different post and even on a different level of education. To that end, the staff member will take leave to carry out temporarily another task and will thus be assigned to another school or post as a member of the temporary staff. Such leave may be taken only with the authorization of the school board to which the staff member is permanently assigned and for a maximum of one school year. However, the leave can be extended for a maximum of one school year at a time. During the period of leave, the staff member will remain permanently appointed and be in charge of his post but will take up his duties as a member of the temporary staff in another job or in another post. During such leave, the staff member will be remunerated as a permanent staff member at a salary corresponding to the temporary assignment he is engaged in. If the salary of the temporary assignment is lower than that of the permanent assignment, the staff member will receive the lower salary of the actual assignment. If the salary of the temporary assignment is higher, the staff member will also receive that higher salary.

If a teacher wants to switch to a pedagogical support service, an educational umbrella organization or the like, this can be done via an assignment leave or special assignment. These leave systems make it possible to temporarily take on an assignment in a project or organization, without losing the appointment in one’s own school. Such leave may also be taken only with the authorization of the school board to which the staff member was assigned and for a maximum of one school year. The leave can be extended if desired.


A temporary staff member may resign voluntarily subject to seven calendar days’ notice (15 days in the case of a temporary assignment of a continuous duration). However, the director (GO!) or the organizing power (the official and free education) may agree to a shorter notice period. Permanent employees can also leave their job voluntarily. In such cases, the period of notice will be at least 15 calendar days unless a different period is agreed with the person providing the service.

The director (GO!) or the organizing authority (the official and free education) may also dismiss a staff member who is appointed on a temporary basis for a fixed period for urgent reasons without prior notice. This includes the serious shortcoming that immediately and permanently makes the continuation of the temporary appointment impossible.

Both temporary and permanent staff may also be dismissed ex officio and without prior notice. This will be the case, for example, if, after lawful absence and without due cause, they do not resume their duties except in cases of force majeure and if they are absent for an uninterrupted period of more than 10 calendar days.

Permanent teachers and teachers with a temporary assignment of a continuous duration may be dismissed or removed as a result of a disciplinary measure. At the time of dismissal or removal, the permanent staff member will be definitively removed from his/her post. A notice period will be respected, depending on the number of working days required for entitlement to unemployment benefit.

This means that, in addition to being dismissed, the staff member also loses his acquired pension rights. This staff member concerned cannot therefore claim a pension such as that laid down for the teaching staff.

However, other sanctions have also been laid down by decree for permanent staff and staff with a temporary assignment of a continuous duration, such as

  • a reprimand
  • deduction from salary
  • suspension by disciplinary measure
  • leave of absence by way of disciplinary measure
  • return to temporary appointment
  • demotion.

In addition to the disciplinary measures, the evaluation [see] can also be a reason for dismissal if a staff member receives one or more times an evaluation with a final conclusion “insufficient” during his educational career.

Within the framework of evaluation, a permanent appointed teacher or a temporary teacher who is appointed for a continuous period will be dismissed if he/she receives two consecutive final evaluations with final conclusion “insufficient” or receives a final evaluation with final conclusion “insufficient” three times in his/her career.

For a temporary teacher (not TADD) dismissal follows if he/she receives a final evaluation with a final conclusion “insufficient”.

Retirement and pensions

The pension scheme for teaching staff is a federal (Belgian) competence. The scheme is identical for all levels of education but very complex.

At the end of 2011, the federal decision was taken to raise the minimum age limit for retirement and the number of years service required for this purpose. As a result of this adjustment, there is no longer a fixed minimum age limit, such as the one that has hitherto been set at 60. The Act of 28 December 2011 introduced an amendment to the pension scheme.  This adjustment includes, inter alia, the increase of

  • the minimum age limit for retirement;
  • the number of years service required to open pension rights at the expense of the Treasury.

In addition, the Act of 28 April 2015 containing provisions on public sector pensions provides that the diploma bonus will be phased out as from 1 January 2016 and will have disappeared completely for pensions that take effect as from 1 January 2030.

The right to a pension should be determined individually for each staff member.

The pension amount is based on the number of years service and the average salary of the last five years service. Since 1 January 2012, the reference salary (RW) has been the average salary of the last 10 career years or of the whole career if it does not count for 10 years.

The statutory retirement age is currently 65. It will be increased to 66 years in 2025 and 67 years in 2030. However, few teachers work until retirement age. Most of them make use of the early retirement scheme. In the context of the teacher shortage on the one hand and the Generation Pact on the other, the regulations on overtime, additional work and returning to active employment (also after retirement) were relaxed in the Decision of the Flemish Government on 4 September 2009 and benefits increased (Dutch only). The scheme applies to all education and all categories of staff. (for more information: Circular letter 13CC/IF/GDH, Dutch only)

In addition, the system of leave of absence on personal grounds was changed prior to the retirement pension. The new regulation means that pre-school teachers born on or after 1 January 1959 will still be entitled to a two-year period of leave of absence. For all other staff born on or after 1 January 1958, leave of absence will be abolished. A transitional arrangement has been drawn up which gradually reduces the duration of the leave of absence. The 20 years of service required to commence work with TBS will be maintained. The entry dates of 1 September, 1 January and 1 April are also retained. More information in the circular letter Full leave of absence due to personal matters prior to the payment of the retirement pension for teaching staff and CLBs (Dutch only)