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Continuing education and work-study training in companies

Continuing education and alternating training in companies

We will very briefly recall the general principles of the taxes which finance training: Apprenticeship tax and contribution to vocational training which were developed in the previous article.

Then we’ll discuss the main obligations in terms of training in companies and we’ll finish by giving some indications on the exceptional measures linked to the “COVID 19” crisis taken by the government in this area.

I – Apprenticeship

  1. Apprenticeship tax

The apprenticeship tax is due by any company subject to income or corporate tax, regardless of its status. However, companies mainly employing apprentices and whose tax base does not exceed 6 times the annual minimum wage are exempt (i.e. € 110,838.00 for the tax due in 2020).

The apprenticeship tax is based on the wage bill for the previous year and its rate is 0.68%. A fraction equal to 87% of the tax is intended to finance apprenticeship (it is collected by URSSAF). The balance (13%) is intended for discharge expenses made by the employer.

These expenses must be intended for the financing of the equipment necessary for the realization of the apprenticeship in the company or for the payments contributing to the financing of equipment and materials necessary for the training of apprentices by the CFA.

  1. Hire an apprentice

The apprenticeship can last from 6 months to 4 years. This is a fixed-term contract which aims to help you train a young employee. In addition, since the order of August 21st 2019, the duration of an apprenticeship contract may be greater than that of the training cycle.

The learning begins with a period of 45 days (consecutive or not) during which the contract can be broken by a flexible procedure.

This contract allows you to benefit from the following advantages:

  • Unique help for employers of apprentices; this aid is reserved for companies with less than 250 employees. The amount may be up to € 4,125 for the first year of performance of the contract, € 2,000 for the second year and € 1,200 for the third year;
  • An exemption from social security contributions. This can be total or partial depending on the size of the company or the quality of craftsman;
  • Aid in the event of the hiring of a disabled worker;
  • Tax deductions from the apprenticeship tax (work-study bonuses, internship fees, donations in kind).

II – Continuing education

The employer must participate in the funding of continuous training actions for its staff and job seekers by paying an annual contribution regardless of the number of employees, the nature of the activity and the legal status.

The tax on permanent training is calculated on the gross payroll paid to staff during the year: salaries, employee contributions, bonuses, gratuities, allowances, tips.

The contribution rate for continuing vocational training is as follows, depending on the average workforce of the company:

  • Up to 10 employees: .0.55% ;
  • From 11 employees: 1%.

Certain professional branches may fix higher rates.

The entire contribution had to be paid before March 1st of the year following the payment of salaries, but since 2020 it must be settled during the year of payment of salaries. Payment is made to a single approved joint collecting body (OPCA) designated by the agreement of the branch to which the employer belongs, or, failing that, to the OPCA at inter-professional level.

III – The various aspects of vocational training

The law of September 5th 2018 has profoundly changed the landscape of vocational training.

The actions falling within the scope of the provisions relating to vocational training (article L. 6313-1 of the Labor Code) are as follows:

  1. Training actions

The purpose of these training actions is to:

  • Allow anyone without professional qualification to access a job;
  • Promote the adaptation of workers to their work station, the evolution of jobs, as well as their retention in employment, and participate in the development of their skills or acquire a higher qualification;
  • Reduce, for employees whose employment is threatened, the risks resulting from a qualification unsuitable for the evolution of techniques and structures of companies;
  • Promote professional mobility.
  1. Skills assessments

They make it possible to analyze the professional and personal skills of an employee, his aptitudes and motivations, with a view to defining a professional or training project.

  1. Actions allowing the validation of the acquired experience

They must allow the beneficiary to acquire a professional certification, registered in the national directory of professional certifications (RNCP).

  1. Training actions by apprenticeship

These actions aim to allow the apprentice to obtain a professional certification (diploma or professional title registered in the national directory of professional certifications (RNCP).

We have seen above the advantages that an apprenticeship contract provides to the company.


  • Training actions can be financed by public funds (State, region, etc.) or by mutual funds (funds from corporate contributions); they must be the subject of an agreement which provides:
    • The title, objective and content of the action, the means planned, the duration and the period of implementation;
    •  The price of the share and the terms of payment.
  • Training can be provided remotely or in the workplace.

IV – The obligations of companies in the field of training

Article L. 6321-1 of the Labor Code provides that the employer must proceed with the training of his employees in the following cases:

  • Throughout the execution of the employment contracts: the employer has the duty to ensure the adaptation of the employees to their work station. It also ensures that their ability to hold a job is maintained, particularly with regard to changes in jobs, technologies and organizations;
  • In the event of job loss: the employer must try to reclassify the employees concerned and ensure their adaptation to the new job, in particular by providing adequate and sufficient training. Under certain conditions, companies can benefit from aid;
  • At the time of hiring on a work-study contract: the organization of training is compulsory for the employer;
  • When an agreement or collective agreement applicable to the company provides for compulsory training periods (after a transfer, long-term leave, etc.);
  • If the employment contract of an employee contains the commitment of the employer to train him.

 When hired, the employee is informed that he has:

  • Every two years of a professional interview with his employer devoted to his prospects for professional development;
  • Every six years of a professional interview to take stock of the employee’s professional career. 

V – Exceptional measures related to the Covid-19 crisis

  1. The dates of the interviews that we mentioned in the note above (and in particular the to take stock interview which must take place this year for the first time) can be postponed exceptionally until December 31st 2020.
  1. The work-study contracts (apprenticeship and professionalization) which were to end between March 12th and July 31st may be extended if the training cycle is not completely finished. To carry out this extension, the parties must conclude an addendum extending the duration of the contract until the end of the training cycle.

This article does not cover all aspects of vocational training. Other important subjects such as the professionalization contract (work-study contract) or the rights of employees (personal training account – CPF -, skills assessment) will be explained in one of our next articles!

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