Does my salary count as a training expense to the company?

UPDATED: May 30, 2012

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Does my salary count as a training expense to the company?

I recently gave notice to my company that I’ll be leaving. When I took the job I signed an agreement that I would reimburse the company for training expenses if I leave within 24 months of that training. I have only been with the company for 8 months and am leaving, they are now saying that my salary was part of the expense of training me and that I have to pay it back for time that I spent in training. is this legal? Can they make me pay back the salary I received? They didn’t have to pay anything for the class

Asked on May 30, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Generally no--salary is NOT a training expense, and furthermore, a company is obligated to pay you for all time worked, even if that "work" is being trained. For both these reasons, you should not have to repay the salary.

While it may be possible to create an agreement which would obligate an employee to repay salary if he/she left under certain circumstances, the agreement would have to be very clear and specific as to that. In the absence of such an express obligation to specifically repay salary, no court would conclude that salary is "training expense" or require its repayment under these conditions.

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