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Studying For Certification Exams On Company Time? 281

Posted by kdawson
from the unfunded-mandates dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Companies sometimes require employees to hold or obtain certifications — for example in order to achieve Cisco certified partner status. Some companies pay for employees' exams and encourage employees to study on company time. Others expect employees to obtain mandated certifications on their personal time and dime. Should companies be able to require employees to obtain a certification, but refuse to pay for it, under threat of losing their job to a certified individual? Should it be or is it even legal to demand this of employees, especially if such a certification was not required at the time of hire?"
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Studying For Certification Exams On Company Time?

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  • Oh dear (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Sunday April 18, 2010 @04:28AM (#31886016) Homepage Journal

    They can do anything they want. If you wanna try suing them for unfair dismissal, refer to your local laws (or consult a lawyer). But if you think you're being unfairly treated stand up for yourself.

    • Re:Oh dear (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lmnfrs (829146) <lmnfrs&gmail,com> on Sunday April 18, 2010 @05:19AM (#31886162) Journal

      I think parent is stating reality, not his opinion.

      I agree because most companies, in my experience, will do anything they want. Sometimes it's valid, sometimes you wish you weren't involved so you could laugh at the situation. If you're worried about an action that you think is unfair, you don't want to work there.

      Think about it, if this place caused you to Ask Slashdot to determine its decency, it's not that decent :\

      • Maybe I've been lucky, but I've never worked for a company that took that attitude. Personally, I think that approach is counter-productive because it leads to staff dissatisfaction, disloyalty and increased staff turnover rates. All of these hurt the employer in the long run.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Canazza (1428553)

          I'm studying for MS Certification (don't shun me) - the company basically said "We need a .Net developer, go do the exam, take Friday Afternoons to study, We'll give you a pay rise at the end too"

          • Re:Oh dear (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @07:02AM (#31886396)

            And you probably appreciate that and in return you're doing the certification. Everyone gets something they feel is valuable out of it. That's the way it's supposed to work.

            Meanwhile, companies who expect staff to spend their own time and money on compulsory company-related activities that weren't part of the original deal are likely to find that, regardless of the legal position, the reality is high employee turnover, few staff having the qualities the company is looking for, and ultimately a less successful business. That is also the way it's supposed to work.

            • Re:Oh dear (Score:5, Insightful)

              by penix1 (722987) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @07:33AM (#31886486) Homepage

              Meanwhile, companies who expect staff to spend their own time and money on compulsory company-related activities that weren't part of the original deal are likely to find that, regardless of the legal position, the reality is high employee turnover, few staff having the qualities the company is looking for, and ultimately a less successful business. That is also the way it's supposed to work.

              So let's take this to the next level. How do you keep an employee from taking that training you just paid for and leaving for what the employee sees as greener pastures? How do you get a return on the huge investment you just dumped into that employee? That is the real issue on why many companies won't expend the dime on training. They can always negotiate salary and worst case scenario have to let the employee go who demands too much. It is far easier requiring a certified new hire than to go to the expense of training someone who will only leave after they are trained.

              I see continuing education as an employee responsibility. It goes with wanting to better yourself in your chosen profession. If you don't care enough to keep on top of it, why should the company? After all, it is YOUR career, not theirs.

              • Re:Oh dear (Score:5, Informative)

                by St.Creed (853824) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @07:47AM (#31886544)

                How do you keep an employee from taking that training you just paid for and leaving for what the employee sees as greener pastures? How do you get a return on the huge investment you just dumped into that employee? That is the real issue on why many companies won't expend the dime on training.

                In the Netherlands, you can add a clause to any contract basically stating that when they are going on training, they will repay 100% if they leave in one year, 66% in 2, 33% in 3 and 0% after that (or any other declining rate that will hold up in court - 100% in 10 years will not hold up). Most of the companies are part of mandatory collective bargaining agreements with a similar clause.

                So one of my friend has a new and shiny MBA - and he will have to fork over a serious amount of money if he decides to leave next year. If the new hiring company wants him bad enough, they'll pay it.

                I'm surprised this isn't a standard clause in the USA as well, because it solves most of the issues in this area.

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by drinkypoo (153816)

                  I'm surprised this isn't a standard clause in the USA as well, because it solves most of the issues in this area.

                  It creates whole new classes of problem, where an employee is motivated to do poor work in order to get fired so that they don't have to pay for their training. And since they can be dismissed for a whole host of reasons, then there is ample opportunity for a court battle over who foots the bill.

                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by mikechant (729173)

                    It creates whole new classes of problem, where an employee is motivated to do poor work in order to get fired so that they don't have to pay for their training.

                    I'd find it difficult to believe that this is a real problem except in a tiny number of cases, since an employee taking this course of action would end up with some of the following:
                    a) A possible lawsuit from a company which has a lot more money than them ("they deliberately performed poorly to get fired and avoid the training payback").
                    b) A bad refe

                    • by drinkypoo (153816)

                      You're expecting people to behave rationally. Also, the pain of working for some employer who is dicking you around might outweigh the above motivations to remain, so it might actually be a logical choice to leave.

                  • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                    by ktappe (747125)

                    I'm surprised this isn't a standard clause in the USA as well, because it solves most of the issues in this area.

                    It creates whole new classes of problem, where an employee is motivated to do poor work in order to get fired so that they don't have to pay for their training. And since they can be dismissed for a whole host of reasons, then there is ample opportunity for a court battle over who foots the bill.

                    I believe you're engaging in a straw man argument. Just because you envision a problem could happen, I challenge you to cite an example where it did happen or stats showing that it routinely happens. Don't shoot down good ideas with hypotheticals unless you have real data. 'kthanxby

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by cob666 (656740)

                  In the Netherlands, you can add a clause to any contract basically stating that when they are going on training, they will repay 100% if they leave in one year, 66% in 2, 33% in 3 and 0% after that (or any other declining rate that will hold up in court - 100% in 10 years will not hold up).

                  I'm surprised this isn't a standard clause in the USA as well, because it solves most of the issues in this area.

                  This actually is how it's done at some places. I'm a contractor and have worked at some rather large companies in the Boston and Hartford areas. Based on conversations I've had with employees and on discussions related to being hired as an FTW at companies that DO pay for you to learn, for credit type classes you are reimbursed full tuition if the degree is job related but only if you keep a certain GPA. Part of the reimbursement contract stipulates that you will pay the company back is you leave the com

                  • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                    by Glonoinha (587375)

                    I hired on with a company in the Boston area a few years ago, and a significant benefit was full tuition to pursue my Masters in CS at one of the Boston Universities part time (after work, weekends, etc.) Same GPA stipulation you mentioned.

                    Anyways, it took me four years but I graduated - shiny new MS/CS in hand. Two months later the project I was working on finished and I found out I was being laid off (with about 100 other people that wave.) My only question - "About that $30,000 you guys invested in my

                • by Kneo24 (688412)
                  It's actually pretty standard here in the states too, but I'm sure each company does some variation to it. I know mine does.
                • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

                  by Llamahand (1275482)
                  I used to work for a public school system that had a very similar training repayment program. I was required to take X amount of training hours, and could elect to pay for them myself or have the district pay. If I paid, then I could quit at any time with no financial repercussions (aside from loss of a job...) but if if the district paid, I had to agree to work for them for at least 3 years. If I quit any time before the 3 years were up, I had to pay 100% of the training costs.

                  The really messed up pa
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by dcollins (135727)

                  "Most of the companies are part of mandatory collective bargaining agreements with a similar clause... I'm surprised this isn't a standard clause in the USA as well, because it solves most of the issues in this area."

                  In other words, unions make this possible. The USA has been victim to concerted anti-union propaganda for about 40 years, and most people are down on collective bargaining agreements. Hugely more so, IT workers. So, they're hung out to dry in ways like this.

                  • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                    by Lehk228 (705449)
                    but non-union IT work is great, you get as many hours as you want, as long as you want 80 or 90 a week.You even get a management job title* and you can look forward to maybe coming back as a consultant after your company shitcans you and replaces you with overseas outsourcing or an H1B making "would you like fries with that" wages who in turn gets to look forward to deportation if his master^H^H^H^H^H^H employer is dissatisfied with him in any way.


                    *management job titles comes with lots of uncompensated ov
                • by Myopic (18616)

                  It is a standard clause in the USA as well. The GP doens't know what he's talking about.

                  At my last job, I was in exactly that situation. I was trained with the understanding that my training costs would be pro-rated for the next four quarters of a year.

                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  by will_die (586523)
                  The US companies I have worked for that give unlimited amounts of money for training have required that you give them 3 years or 3 times the length of training, so a 2 year degree would require you giving them 6 years from the start of the degree. Those would be at a pro rated decrease.
                  However most of the companies I have been with just set a limit, usually $3000-$4000 a year and don't require any time pay back.
              • Re:Oh dear (Score:4, Insightful)

                by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @07:51AM (#31886556)

                How do you keep an employee from taking that training you just paid for and leaving for what the employee sees as greener pastures?

                Over here (in the UK), it seems common to agree that if an employee leaves within, say, six months of taking company-funded training, then they pay back a proportion of the cost depending on how early they leave. It doesn't lock anyone into anything but guarantees that a company either gets some return on its investment or gets its money back.

                It is far easier requiring a certified new hire than to go to the expense of training someone who will only leave after they are trained.

                Well, I don't accept your premise, but even if I did, why would someone suddenly want to leave just because they completed one training course? If an employer has that little appeal to their staff, they have bigger problems than just whether to run a training course or not...

                • Well, I don't accept your premise, but even if I did, why would someone suddenly want to leave just because they completed one training course?

                  Because training can be expensive? From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

                  In addition, according to a survey by Cisco the average cost to prepare for CCIE certification is $9,050 as of April 2006, spent mostly on practice equipment and self study material.

                  So, the question you have to ask is: "Would someone work at a crappy place for 6 months if it would get them $10k in training?" I'm

                  • But the training is only worth anything, from a purely financial perspective, if it tranlates into a higher income. If you provide training for someone but don't then bump their salary to match their new skills afterwards, sure, they might leave for someone who will, and that's why you have a clause in the contract to protect your investment. For a $10k training course, obviously a period of more than six months is reasonable before the employee can leave without giving anything back.

                    Of course, you'd have t

              • Re:Oh dear (Score:4, Insightful)

                by NormalVisual (565491) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @09:05AM (#31886828)
                How do you keep an employee from taking that training you just paid for and leaving for what the employee sees as greener pastures?

                By keeping your own pastures sufficiently green, of course. Nowadays there seem to be quite a few employers that still don't understand that at-will employment is a two-edged sword. They're quite happy to cut people loose at the drop of a hat when the quarterlies take a dip, but will then turn around and whine when people leave because they've been putting in 50-60 hour weeks for six months straight and the company won't hire more people, or haven't gotten a cost-of-living adjustment in their salary for 5 years, or other similar problem that leads the workers to believe the company doesn't value them. It's not difficult to keep employees, but you do have to be willing to do it instead of displaying the attitude of "don't let the door hit you on the way out" as a large number of companies do today. Loyalty isn't an entitlement - it has to be earned.

                Most people don't just change jobs on a whim, but if you come out and demand that your employees spend a few thousand dollars just to keep their current job without offering some kind of incentive to do so, don't be surprised if they walk.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by usasma (1278674)
      Things change - if the company feels that a certification is now necessary to do the job, then that's what they get. If you choose not to have the certification, then you'll be competing with those who do have it for a job that requires it. FYI - I have chosen not to be certified in anything. It makes the hiring process more difficult for me, but I enjoy flaunting my knowledge in the face of those who are certified :0)
    • A tautological answer. You haven't answered his question, nor given him real advice to take in order to get the answers he wants. He isn't referring to what companies can do, will do, or have done--he's asking what they should do. Referring to local laws (or consulting a lawyer about said laws) will tell you what is, but a bit more work is required to find perspective on what ought to be.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This isn't an "insightful" answer - some moderators need a lesson or three in reading comprehension. You've completely dodged the question. "They can do anything they want" is a useless statement, because of the ambiguity given by the subsequent statement.

      Normally businesses are expected to behave within the law, so unless you make it clear that you think businesses can break the law, they cannot do anything they want. You use the cheap and easy logic of "they can get then sued for breaking the law", of cou

  • Does it matter? (Score:5, Informative)

    by PhrostyMcByte (589271) <phrosty@gmail.com> on Sunday April 18, 2010 @04:33AM (#31886032) Homepage
    You either get payed $X and get to bill $Y certs to the business, or you get payed $X + $Y and get to handle paying for $Y certs yourself. If $X isn't high enough for you, don't work there.
  • Depends... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jedi Alec (258881) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @04:34AM (#31886038)

    on the contract you have.

    In a fire-at-will situation you're pretty much screwed anyway, so that's not really relevant. In other situations however, an employer basically agrees to a contract stipulating that in exchange for an employee with qualifications X and labor Y said company will pay out Z in compensation. If the company then decides that X is no longer sufficient, that is basically a one-sided change to a contract. So at least in most european countries, the company can not *force* an employee to improve his skillset on his own time and dime, unless that has been stipulated beforehand. On the other hand, unless the contract is for an undetermined time period (which pretty much makes it a pain in the ass to fire someone) the company is under no obligation to prolong the contract once it runs out.

    Speaking from personal experience, if my employer tells me to bend over, be their bitch and spend my own time and money to improve my skillset if we didn't agree beforehand that would be part of the deal, I'm fully within my rights to give them the finger. On the other hand it is within my own interest to improve my skills, so if some sort of deal can be struck where both parties make an investment, it's a different story.

    Companies will often loudly proclaim that in order to comply with new regulation or to be able to compete all employees will be forced to do X. That regulation or those market forces are irrelevant to me as an employee. The only party I have made a contract with is the company itself. On the other hand sticking to one's guns while the company goes down in flames might not be the best career choice either ;-)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by value_added (719364)

      Well, contracts aside, it's still the case that large corporations offer continuing education or tuition reimbursement as a matter of policy, and while I'd hope that the value of investing in an employee should be self-evident to any employer, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that such notions fall victim to cost-cutting measures taken during tough economic times.

      Jobs in the IT field aren't considered professions (at least in the traditional sense), but it may offer some perspective to consider how other pr

    • by Kjella (173770)

      On the other hand sticking to one's guns while the company goes down in flames might not be the best career choice either ;-)

      If the company would go bankrupt by paying for a Cisco certification, you'd better be polishing your resume anyway. If companies were rational, I would say that this is a bluff. The cost of going through a termination process, hiring process and lost productivity getting that person up to speed is huge and you never know what you'll get so firing an otherwise highly productive employee is insane. Still, under these circumstances companies often end up doing irrational things. And if there is a round of layo

  • by AnonymousClown (1788472) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @04:44AM (#31886064)
    It depends on the company and what you'd put up with regarding compensation and study time. Although, getting a Microsoft Certification does in fact make you eligible for disability - keep that in mind if you get fired. I even think you can get a handicapped license plate in many states.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by guruevi (827432)

      I would never hire anyone with an MS** certification as they are particularly braindead and responsible for some of the most stupid decisions in any IT organization and responsible for the bad name that most IT departments have when it comes down to costs and ROI.

      I run my IT department with maybe 10% of my yearly budget spent on software licensing (most of which is MATLAB and Microsoft Office). There are other departments with very similar end-user requirements where compulsory Microsoft and Oracle software

  • in our company... (Score:3, Informative)

    by underqualified (1318035) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @04:47AM (#31886076)
    i work for a japanese company(clue: starts with an "N" and ends with an "EC"), and they expect us to pass the jlpt exams. we're asked to study on our own time, but the company pays for the exam fees and offers free nihongo lessons. there are certain other certifications that we should get in order to be promoted. though they are having a hard time implementing it due to the high resignation rate.
  • Greener pastures (Score:4, Insightful)

    by physicsphairy (720718) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @04:52AM (#31886084) Homepage

    "Should it be or is it even legal to demand this of employees, especially if such a certification was not required at the time of hire?"

    The legality is probably contingent on whatever paper you signed when you took the job. In most states mandatory drug testing is legal, so I'm guessing knowledge testing isn't going to be something you could make many successful objections to.

    But if the company is forcing you to foot the bill for things they think add to your work value, you might want to skedaddle anyway. I mean, at that point, what do you think the chances are of you ever getting a raise? Find someone less stingy to work for and build a career that will actually carry some rewards.

    However, one argument I can think of for why you should personally pay for the certification is that it's something you get to take with you when you leave the company.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by bloodhawk (813939)
      I wish the government agencies would adopt a you pay for your certification and training attitude or at least a you must work for us for X amount of years after training or you have to pay for it. I contract in to a few IT departments and I watch public servants abuse the hell out of the system, they take positions in IT and then use it as a means for free access to expensive training. In one department I have watched no less than a dozen people take a job, get trained and immediately leave to become a cont
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Indeed, I've once heard a person explaining that with EMBAs for example, people taking the course will very often leave their company upon completing the course, as with their shiny new paper they could find better offers elsewhere.

      So get the shiniest piece of paper you can get your hands on, then set sail for brighter pastures.

    • by Blue23 (197186)

      I'm in the US, and in NJ which is a state with at-will employment (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/At-will_employment). If you don't have a contract, I can easily see a company saying "we're changing this position to require XX certification. You're in the spot so we'll give you first crack but you need in in 3 months." And I think it would be legal.

      I think it would be foolish for the company. But I don't think illegal.

  • Where in the world? (Score:5, Informative)

    by slim (1652) <john@hartnup3.14.net minus pi> on Sunday April 18, 2010 @04:53AM (#31886088) Homepage

    When you ask legal questions, it's polite to mention which country you're in.

    In the UK, and probably the rest of the EU, I suspect this would not be reasonable grounds for dismissal.

    In the US, well, nothing would surprise me. Labour laws seem incredibly weak from the employee side.

    • by haystor (102186) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @05:15AM (#31886142)

      Depends on which state. In an "at will" state, they could dismiss you, but it wouldn't be "for cause". That is, the former employee would be able to file for unemployment, since it is a change in the position the employee was hired into.

      • Hmph. In practice, employers can darn near get away with murder, or seem to. Typically, they hoke up some pretext. An unverifiable, subjective one like "not a team player". Or they watch for the least little slip like "came to work late" even if it was by 30 seconds. They can always find something if they look hard enough. Yes, if you've kept meticulous documentation, you could probably sue, and some recommend keeping careful documentation just for that contingency. If you have skills that are in de

    • by jabithew (1340853)

      I'm working the UK and have a psuedo-relevant experience myself. I'm an Engineer and it is explicitly stated in my contract that I must work towards chartership (IChemE). The company pays for professional membership for all of its employees, but we're expected to study and work on it in our own time.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rxmd (205533)

      When you ask legal questions, it's polite to mention which country you're in.

      If on Slashdot someone fails to mention what country they're in, you can be almost certain that they're in the US.

    • It really depends where you set your bar on your judgement.

      Many think that in Europe all those extra rules and regulation makes it very difficult to run a business in that area of the world, so companies will move to other areas where they have more flexibility in their policies. Thus moving more work to other countries also making it harder for someone to start a company in the area. and before you go well things are "SO MUCH BETTER IN THE EU" I would like to bring up Grease. Who almost went bankrupt, as

    • In the US, well, nothing would surprise me. Labour laws seem incredibly weak from the employee side.

      You are correct on that observation. Over the past 30 years (plus change) the US has veered increasingly conservative in all practices that can in any way be remotely tied to a dollar (which is pretty well everything). This means that the labor unions have lost most of the membership - and power - that they enjoyed decades ago. You may have heard that Toyota recently closed their only UAW-staffed vehicle assembly plant in this country, in spite of its stellar performance.

      We have been fed BS about "lab

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Blakey Rat (99501)

      In the US, well, nothing would surprise me. Labour laws seem incredibly weak from the employee side.

      The US is composed of 50 States, each of which has their own labor laws. The United States isn't a single country, it's a collection of States. That's... United.

      Saying, "I'm in the US" is not even close to sufficient-- I would wager the labor law differences between California and Texas are more substantial than the labor law differences between the UK and France. (To give a related EU example.)

  • That's on you (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gr8fulnded (254977)

    They already paid for your time in class and the expense FOR the class. Their obligation is done. You should be doing it for yourself. Don't expect it to all be handed to you.

  • > "Should companies be able to require employees..."

    Yes. It's called at will employment. They can set any requirements they want. You can work there or not.

    It might be instructive to engage in a little etymology (origin of words, not study of bugs, which starts eNty...)

    A 'professional' is someone who professes to BE something, as opposed to an employee, worker or similar, who simply does something. A professional would seek training for their own betterment, company assistance aside. Even in cases where

  • by BadDoggie (145310) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @06:30AM (#31886322) Homepage Journal
    A company can require a cert as a condition of employment but if they require maintenance, they must foot the bill for time to learn/study and for the (passed) testing (no paybacks for the failed attempts). It's a matter of "reasonableness", "human rights", working hours laws and social justice, the latter being very important here.

    Unless there's something in the contract explicitly putting all the burden on the guy needing certs (nearly impossible and unenforceable), the company pays to maintain. If you think that's bullshit, remember that the company itself profits from that maintenance and a n experienced worker.

  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @06:40AM (#31886350)
    Companies need to recognise that mandating any sort of accreditation makes you more qualified (hence the requirement) not only for their benefit, but for other employers, too. If they don't recognise this, then walk. We all do things on our own time to keep up with technology and stay aware of new trends and directions. Partly for our own self esteem, but also as we tacitly know that it's necessary - if not for the current job, then for the next one in our careers.

    Depending (as others have said) on how well your government requires companies to treat their serfs, you may have some protection or you may have to lodge your disapproval with the usual two word response: "I quit". However, bear in mind that the reason for walking out (that your employer was asking you to become better qualified) will get a dim reception from any interviewers. Better to make the effort, get the certification and then start looking for something better. Now that you have another string to your bow.

  • My father was an MD in government service. He had to stay current, and all of his study was done on his own time on his own dime, so we are not alone.
    That said, in the IT industry, if you are not continually working to expand your skillset/knowledgebase, you will very quickly find yourself unemployable. If your employer wants to provide guidance in what to study, that's not a bad thing - there are so many possible areas of study that some guidance is useful. Now, if their guidance would required you to s
    • by rubycodez (864176)

      MDs get colossal pay compared to most IT worker/professionals. Your comparison is not relevant. Companies who don't cover 100% of required I.T. training are screwing their employees over. A company must cover 100% of any new requirement that would cost me money. Especially for something as meaningless as the paper certifications, which have never helped me do my job and are only so the employer can achieve a designated "partner level" and get "back end money" from the vendors like HP, Cisco, Oracle/Sun

  • then you owe them when you leave (maybe). Since I wouldn't want to work for a company that is as stingy as you describe, I'd be looking to get my cert and use it to find a better job. That being the case, I'd gladly pay for it myself, and thank them for 'forcing' me to better myself/leave.

    • by petes_PoV (912422)
      A few companies have tried to get leavers to reimburse them for any/all training the company has paid for. AFAIR not one has suceeded and the bad press has not exactly helped them recruit replacement staff.

      Bad idea. Very bad. Possibly the worst one ever.

  • Most responses have answered the "is it even legal" part quite well. The "should it be" is basically the same though. If you agreed to something when signing up, well you agreed to it. Your pay should reflect your personal costs and time, if it doesn't, well perhaps now should review your decision.

    It gets more complicated if it was not part of the contract you agreed to. Realistically, this is just what happens and you're left with the choice of accepting it, moving on or going to a tribunal or whatever

  • IANL, but it seems to me that you'd have a pretty good case for constructive dismissal, if you wanted to push that hard. I can't see that it would be anything but counterproductive, but it would be there. The employer wants to materially change the job you hold and isn't prepared to provide the tools that would let you upgrade to the new standard.

    On the other hand, as stated elsewhere, an employee would probably be much better off simply obtaining the certification and using the opportunity to look for

  • by multipartmixed (163409) on Sunday April 18, 2010 @08:11AM (#31886604) Homepage

    My next-door neighbour is a Master Electrician on staff at the local university (a very progressive employer). He is expected to keep his certification up to date, purchase new code books, etc., to keep ticket his valid. Additionally, he is responsible for the fire alarms and has to re-certify every 3 years (and this year was a MAJOR change). The university pays for his fire alarm certification test, but he is expected to study on his own time (and he spent, by my estimate, 20 hours a week for 3 weeks doing so).

    A lot of non-executive computer guys -- network administrators, system operators, repair technicians -- seem to think they are different from the other trades because they work on computers. That's BS! That's like claiming patentability of X because you added "on the internet".

  • If it is truly mandatory, I think the company should pay for at least a part of it.

    If it is specific to your current job and employer, but is otherwise not useful to you the company should pay.

    If it is general training that is more personal development, the company can consider paying, but they could fairly go either way.

    The real question is if you're short term commodity staff, or a long term member of core staff. If they consider you part of their team, they should invest in you. If they consider you a r

  • Any reasonable employer supports education for its employees, within reason. There are, of course, abuses possible on both sides: employers who won't pay or offer any time on the job for studying, and employers who are generous and then get taken advantage of.

    Basically you want - and should expect - is the middle ground. Both employer and employee benefit from a certification; both should chip in. My previous employer had a really nice policy here for MS certifications: they paid the exam fees and offered

    • by swb (14022)

      I wonder if anyone (say, in business school) has "done the math" to find out what the actual cost/benefit is of employer-paid training is and what the cost is of being too generous.

      A CIO I used to work for said the solution he came up with at a previous employer sounded expensive (which made it tough to sell) but actually solved the problem of too much and not enough employee education.

      He said previously they had problems with mandatory education requirements. Employees picked training with classes taught

  • sounds like working off the clock and other jobs try to pull the same stuff as well.

    I have even see a job application I am prepared to work off the clock from time to time to increase my skills. and that was for a ice cream store.

    Some places try to get out paying for time / gas if they say want you to go to other job site for a few days and this is not you main base.

    Other want you to work from home / do paper work at home as well.

    • by Nadaka (224565)

      Not quite. Studying and taking a cert leaves the employee with resources that are useful even after he moves to another employer.

      A lot of places also require the employee to buy their own suit/uniform.

      In these cases, I find it much harder to fault the employer for not footing the bill.

      For your other examples, something there sounds pretty fishy though.

  • Some companies bill direct time, rather than general overhead for your position. They can't have you on unbillable hours due to contract structure. In those companies, there may be times where you have to suck it up and read on your own time.

    It helps if you remember that certifications are self-improvement. I understand the frustration of having to acquire something for your position outside of work hours, but it is something that will help you as a professional with or without the company. When you get you

  • remember that and deduct them on your taxes.

    if the company requires it, deduct it.

  • Does your company have a number of training hours required? I'm guessing no. My employer requires 40 hours of training. Some of this is mandatory all-hands training like ethics courses and administrative task training. The remainder of the time is spent on role-specific training. If you are doing .NET development, you take courses on .NET. The technical lead on a team is supposed to have input on your skills and which courses you should be taking.

    Most of the time, I end up having to put down book read

  • It really depends on how you handle it. It's actually fairly easy to get them to pay for it, if you stick to your guns and force them to see the logic. They are charging you money to keep your job. They aren't getting the money, but to you, they are not only forcing you to work for free on your own time getting the certification, but they are actually charging you for it. You lose that cash because of them. It wasn't what you agreed to, you agreed to a certain amount of work (measured in time, projects,

  • In these days it often has little to do with ethics or morality, but everything to do with bargaining power and leverage.

    If a company can bully their workers into getting certified on their own time by threatening to turn their jobs over to already certified folks, then that is just what they will do.

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