Can I be held to an employment contract that provides I must reimburse my employer for training costs if I don’t stay on for at least 2 years?

I joined a company which trained me for 2 months. The contract states that if I took training from them, I need to stay with them for 2 years. If I leave before 1 year I have to pay them a certain amount of money; if I leave after 1 year I pay but less. I wanted to know does the contract hold and do I have to pay if I leave the company? I heard in NJ there is nothing like this allowed.

Asked on August 28, 2011 New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The answer depends on the situation, which is why you should consult with an employment attorney, who can evaluate the agreement(s)  you signed and the specific circumstances. The short answer is, voluntarily accepted training paid by a company is something which the company can require repayment of. So, for example, say the company offered you the opportunity to be trained to get a credential or change careers or seek a promotion. If you did not have to accept the training but chose to do so, they can require you to repay if you leave before a certain time. But very often, a company may not seek repayment  of mandatory training--training which it requires staff to take--since doing so can effectively be a kickback scheme or a way to get around wage and hour laws (by reducing the effective pay) or circumvent employment agreements, etc.


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