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Sponsorship tie in for employees


An organisation with which I am working wishes to sponsor a member of staff to undertake a degree. They would like to tie this employee to the organisation for 2 years after qualification. I have raised concerns that this is MAY be in breach of Human rights legislation and also an unlawful restraint of trade.

Does anyone have a definitive answer please?
David Marshall

3 Responses

  1. agreement of payment
    I’m not sure about the Human Rights angle, but in companies I’ve worked if you left the company within a certain amount of time, you were asked to refund the cost of the training. Perhaps the issue will be whether two years is too long.

  2. It should be okay
    I checked our policy with our legal team recently and they said it was okay – providing you (1) make it VERY clear up front, (2) that it is ‘fair’ (e.g. not 10 years – but difficult to define what ‘fair’ is) and (3) the course is not a course that you MAKE staff to complete (unless a professional qualification such as ACCA for an accountant role).

    We get people to pay back pro-rata over two years (one year of completing the course and one year after successfully completing the course). If the course is a two year course then they sign up to two contracts – one for each year.

    We have successfully clawed back monies from some recent leavers under this policy.


  3. Variations on a theme
    My own experiences mirror pretty much the first 2 responses, the 1 difference being that in one organisation we tied people in for 12 months after completion, and in another for 0 months as we deemed to be getting benefit from the training as they were doing it, but equally this was for a 2 yr MSc and it was paid in installments so the risk to the employer was minimised.

    A personal view though is that I can’t help thinking “what is wrong within the organisation that causes people generally to not want to stay despite being given the training?”

    But I guess that’s another debate!

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