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Nicola Cockayne


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Undertaking to Repay Contract


The organistion I work for is thinking of introducing an undertaking to repay contract, where if we financially support an employee with expensive professional development training costs, and they then leave swiftly, they must repay the contribution.  Is this standard practice?  What's the usual timeframe involved?  Any advice on this practice, gratefully received.  Many thanks, Nicola 

5 Responses

  1. my three hapenceworth

    1. not uncommon

    2. entirely reasonable from the employers PoV

    3. however, very difficult to enforce…a potential PR nightmare.

    4. May effectively discourage people from taking up training…..which may be your intention!


    I approached my employer about taking professional training and exams…..we reached a deal:

    We split the cost down the middle at the start. 

    I did all the work in my own time, not the company’s time.

    On completion and successful qualification the boss reimbursed me the half I’d paid on the grounds that now I was "worth" extra on a daily basis….no lock in or claw back.


    This worked well for us


  2. Claw back of fees / expenses

    Hi Nicola, I agree with Rus on his points and  the solution he mentioned which has a great chance of being effective. The key question is who wants the developemnt to happen. If it’s the company they should pay up and not have a claw back. If it’s the employee the answer is more complex and a solution like Rus’s is probably the best way to go.

    Sometimes there is a benefit in being known as a good developer of people in the market regarding recruitment. Some years ago a good friend of mine worked for BBC TV in Manchester where he received a first class training as a cameraman, the BBC had a reputatin of being the best at traiing. Once he completed his  trainign and was qualified he left for Granada who increased his salary significanlty. Even though this happened the BBC still maintined their high quality training regime as they felt they got a lot from their enthusiastic and motivated trainees whilst they weew tihthem and the often re-appeared later in in their career wiht muchg greater skill and experience to offer. 




  3. claw back

    A company I worked for in the past used the following agreement:

    • Leave within six months – pay back 100%
    • Leave within six months to one year – pay back 50%
    • Leave within one to two years – pay back 25%
    • Leave after two or more years – pay back nothing

    There wasn’t much take up of training and development opportunities other than those individuals were legally obliged to do.

    The organisation I’m now with has no policy on claw back and is for the most part very generous with training opportunities for staff.  Where staff are looking for a large amount of funding, for college fees etc then they have to produce a business case stating the benefits to the organisation, which has to be approved by senior management, but still there is no claw back clause.  Our belief is that staff who feel they are being invested in without being made to feel tied to the organisation feel more loyal and motivated.


  4. Clawback on educational sponsorship

    Hi Nicola,


    As with Stuart my previous organisation had a similiar teered clawback against the cost of external qualifications, though it was refered to as educational sponsorship.

    Internal development, such as NVQ programs were free for different sections of the business – Contact Centers, Retail Stores etc, as well other internally delivered learning development. If anyone wished to complete an external qualification that isnt a pre-requisite for their role (I completed my CIPD Certificate in Training Practice which was paid for by the company) they would have to complete a request form giving business reasons and then it would either be authorised or declined.

    Prior to beginning the course you would sign a contract agreeing to the clawback.

    Isnt it only fair that if a company is going to pay out many £1000’s for an employee to undertake external study that they should protect their investment. I wouldnt have been able to afford to complete my CIPD course if I was paying for it.

    Of course, I was then made redundant (as was alot of the L&D department) during my CIPD studies. I left, with a qualification paid for by the company which gave me a much better chance searching for a new role in a difficult employment climate.

    So sort of a win/win for me.

  5. Clawback

    Thanks to alll for your info and comments – really really useful – thank you!

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Nicola Cockayne

L&D Adviser

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