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Employer Funded Study…


Hello everyone,

I have recently completed the 3 year CIPD Professional Development Scheme which was fully funded by my employer.  I'm not particularly thinking of leaving however I have heard people say over the years that further education agreements such as the one I signed before starting my studies aren't legally binding and just wondered if anyone knows any more on this?

The contract is fairly typical (i.e. 100% payback within 1 year of leaving, 50% within 2 years and 25% within 3 years).  Is there also an argument to suggest that payback may not be required if I am actively required to apply the knowledge in my role of internal training consultant?  It's natural to assume that an employer would want to fully utilise the knowledge gained from the qualification however I'm wondering if payback may be changed if the qualification helps me to carry out my role.

Grateful for any thoughts or advice received.


3 Responses

  1. Repaying employer funded education


    The short answer is that most such agreements are not legally binding but it can depend on how this was funded and the exact nature of the agreement. Employers are increasingly getting canny and getting legal advice on how such contracts are formulated. But, as I say, in most circumstances the obligation is psychological and moral rather than financial.

    Even employers who know they are not enforceable often use them. This is to affirm that in return for their investment they expect you to stay long enough to give some return. And, if you have freely signed such an agreement, that is the honourable thing to do, or voluntarily pay up.  If you were to go without coming to an agreement on this acouple of things might happen. The employer might, quite wrongly, deduct a sum from your final salary. This then leaves you in a position of having to fight to get this money. Getting legal advice may cost you as much as paying up, and they know that. Better employers will not withhold the sum but will feel free to comment on your breach of agreement in any reference they give.

    I have found most employers to be very reasonable, especially when personal circumstances have changed or when the 2 or 3 year period is nearly up. What they most dislike are people who treat this as a loop hole to be exploited, especially if the person leaves very soon after they have qualified.

    Well done for qualifying. If you do leave in the next year or two, do discuss this with your employer and try and come to a mutually agreeable solution. That at least would be conguent with professional ethics, it would not taint the employers attitute for the next generation seeking such funding, and you never know who you might come across again at some point in the future.

    There is law. And there is more.

    Hope that helps


  2. Check

    The agreement you signed would be considered ‘by consent’ i.e. both parties entered into it voluntarily so you may well find that it is binding. 

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