Despite the availability of several EU policy initiatives and strategies supporting adult learning, participation is still below the EU target of 60% by 2030, with only about 11% of the adult population participating in education or training in the previous month. Many people struggle with time constraints and lack of financial resources, and their right to quality and inclusive education and training is not realised.
EAEA highlights that most EU Member States already have one or more paid training leave schemes; however, their design, uptake, and impact vary widely. Moreover, some national and regional frameworks do not allow participation in non-formal education, online, and distance programmes, or studies abroad. Twelve Member States have signed the ILO Paid Educational Leave Convention, and the EU has formally endorsed paid training leave as part of the necessary enabling framework for up-skilling and re-skilling.
The right to European paid training leave for workers should complement the provision of a universal right to adult learning and employee training that is stipulated in Principle 1 of the European Pillar of Social Rights. This would provide opportunities for all workers to continue their education in a self-directed way and discover new horizons without a loss of income, starting from the needs of the learners.
Online and transnational learning courses would offer more learning opportunities for everyone and could be particularly interesting for migrants and workers from other EU countries. EAEA considers this to be particularly important in the context of the right to free movement of workers in the EU and the current skills shortage across Europe. In addition, the right to a European paid training leave would be key to involving more adult learners in Erasmus+ mobility actions.