As the marketplace continues to push businesses to reevaluate their expenses and trim costs, employee benefits programs may be one of the first targets of cutbacks. Curbing certain benefits may make a difference to the bottom line for a quarter or two, but cutting tuition and training reimbursement programs may be a myopic move when the long-term benefits of these programs to both employees and company are considered.

Whether your enterprise is already footing the bill for these expenses or it’s a proposal pending before the board, you probably already recognize the benefits of investing in employees. To help you organize your program, we’re offering our training and tuition reimbursement policy as an example—complete with guidelines, employee obligations, reimbursement guidelines, and a sample application form.

Defining obligations
It’s a fact of IT life: The rapid change in the tech sector can leave employees scrambling to keep up with new technologies. If staff members don’t get regular training, companies can suffer from a disadvantaged workforce unable to meet new industry demands.

However, many employers are aware that there’s a risk in investing in employee training: Staff members may leave the company after their training or coursework is complete. To set expectations for both parties, employee and company obligations should be spelled out clearly in the reimbursement policy.

If your company ties reimbursement to the employee’s performance in a college or university course, the criteria should be documented in the policy. Moreover, if you intend to offer employee bonuses based on the type of degree or certification earned, this too should be included in the policy.

Approval first, school second
Reimbursement requests should be made well in advance of the beginning of the course for a manager’s endorsement and human resources’ approval. To streamline the process, we’ve included a sample request form that you can tailor to meet your organization’s needs.

The form requires employees to provide the requisite personal information, such as title, date of hire, and department. Information about the prospective training seminar or college course is also required, along with costs of tuition, textbooks, and supplies.

Managers must write a brief description outlining whether the course is directly job-related and how it will improve an employee’s performance in his or her job. In most circumstances, job-related tuition reimbursements are not subject to withholding tax, but employees may be taxed on other allocations. We’ve included checkboxes for HR (or another approving department) to mark an employee’s eligibility and whether the reimbursement income is deemed taxable for the employee.

What are you waiting for?

Download our training/tuition reimbursement policy and form and then let us know what you think by posting a comment below.

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