What happens if I owe my employer education loans if I leave early, however they are now closing?

The company I work for paid for my master’s degree and I signed a document saying that if I

leave voluntarily within 36 months of graduation, I must repay them within 30 days of leaving. Well, my company was recently acquired by another and is closing down all operations in the US. The company has informed me that I will not have a job as of 6 months from now. If I leave to pursue another opportunity before then, would I have to pay them back even though they have in writing given me notice of my termination?

Asked on June 9, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes: it doesn't matter that that you know you will be terminated on, say, December 9, 2016--until December 9, 2016 you are employed, and if you leave early (that is, you quit or resign), it will a voluntary termination of employment and you will have to repay the loans. You need to stay until *the employer* terminates your employment; you can't voluntarily leave, even for very understandable reasons under these circumstances, without triggering the repayment requirement. That doesn't mean you can't accept an offer ahead of time--just have the start date be after the termination date, and say nothing to your current employer about leaving or your next job.


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