Kate Rigby, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Boston office, was quoted in HR Dive, in “Feds Eye Employee Training Repayment Agreements,” by Ginger Christ.

Following is an excerpt:

… Lawmakers and regulators have in recent years pushed back against employers that aim to recoup training costs from workers. California in 2020 expanded its labor laws to require acute care hospitals to cover training costs for employees and job applicants. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in June requested public comment on the practice, and Sen. Sherrod Brown’s, D-Ohio, office told HR Dive that he is considering legislation on these training repayment agreement provisions — or TRAPs — and is working with the CFPB “to ensure that consumers are protected from predatory consumer products like TRAPs.” …

Kate Rigby, an attorney at law firm Epstein Becker Green, said the agreements are a form of backup for employers in a tight labor market. The companies that try to recoup training costs generally are ones with programs that require a lot of investment, she said.

“Employers are typically using these, especially now, because there is so much movement. Training new employees creates a lot of extra cost for employers,” Rigby said.

It’s a best practice to let employees know about training — and associated costs and time commitments — at the time of hire or before training begins, Rigby said. And costs that employees are responsible for should be tied directly to the cost of the training, she said.

Because laws vary by jurisdiction, it’s important to know what they are where a company operates, Rigby said. Many jurisdictions will allow an employer to recoup training costs if the training is portable and something a worker can use elsewhere in their career, she said.

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