Tuition Payback Agreements - Protect Your Employee Investment

Tuition Payback Agreements - Protect Your Employee Investment Image

By Olivia Wann, RDA, JD

Let’s face it, many practices are struggling with the staffing shortage. Those who are employed are likely working doubly hard, handling the duties of two people.  It may be difficult to recruit RDHs and RDAs right now; particularly those who have added skills.  

The risk of paying for an employee’s courses such as costs associated for the Expanded Function Dental Assistant (EFDA), plus the associated costs, plus travel and hourly pay, is that the assistant could quit following successful completion of the course quits and joins another practice. Now the money you invested in this individual is benefiting another practice, not yours.

I encourage employers to consider a tuition reimbursement or payback program. A properly drafted agreement will send out the message of how serious and valuable your investment is in someone’s education. Plus, it provides you the opportunity to recoup your investment if the employee resigns.  

The agreement should be reasonable, not an extensive period of time. For example, the employee may be asked to provide 1 – 3 years of employment, depending on the type of course. If the employee leaves prior to satisfaction of the employment period, they must re-pay the costs or a portion of the costs. The agreement should detail that the employee’s final paycheck may be withheld and applied to these costs.   

Address other issues such as: what if the employee does not successfully complete the course? What happens if the employee is involuntarily terminated?

Now more than ever, employees must feel engaged and truly a part of your practice to maintain retention. Having a tuition benefit may help you attract the right people who simply need a chance to improve their knowledge and skill set.

We are happy to offer a new course starting in January, From Acceptable to Exceptional –How to Raise Your Team’s Performance and Keep Them Engaged. We offer the program as a 90-minute course designed to inspire your team.

We are also offering an HR package that includes HR consulting, development of a handbook geared for practices, support in dealing with HR issues, job descriptions, personnel forms, training for the office manager plus the new team course to motivate your team and discuss your HR policies. To schedule your 2023 course, please contact our office. (931) 232-4529.   

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