If I am mandated to take annual training courses as a condition of employment, can my employer make me pay back their cost if I leave?

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If I am mandated to take annual training courses as a condition of employment, can my employer make me pay back their cost if I leave?

We are required to take state mandated courses as a requirement of employment. My employer has asked us to sign a promissory note agreeing to pay back the cost of the training if we leave within the year. The courses are required annually, so essentially we would become indentured servants. Is this legal??

Asked on September 22, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, the employer can require this:

1) The employer can set the terms and conditions of employment, which includes the training, credentials, certifications, etc. required to have the job. So therefore, your employer can require you to take this state-mandated course as a condition of employment.

2) An employer does not need to pay for the training, education, etc. an employee needs to be qualified for a job--for example, if a computer degree or certification in a particular program, or a real estate license, etc., is needed, the employer does not need to pay for it.

3) If the employer chooses to pay for it, they can put conditions on getting that payment--such as repayment if the employee leaves. If you don't want to do this, you can seek other employment rather than take the course and agee to the terms.


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