Repaying Your Employer When You Quit? The Rise of TRAPs

Employers are increasing employee retention with this one little trick in hiring documents. Stoked Wallet looks into TRAPS (Training Repayment Agreement Provisions)

Employing people is expensive. Even just getting them in the door is reaching new highs, with the average cost of employee acquisition hovering near $5000, among other costs. The average employee will reach competent productivity in their position after 3 months, which is sometimes the not even the length of time it takes someone to quit and take a higher paying position. Since the 2008 layoffs there has been a steady decline in employee loyalty to a company since the proven way to get a raise quickest is hopping jobs and the stigma for this has decreased dramatically since the early 2000s.

Some employers have devised a plan to strike back at workers hurting their bottom line by quitting early and leaving with training specialization called a TRAP (Training Repayment Agreement Provision). This is huge in healthcare and trucking and some are reporting it for dog groomers at Pet Smart and stylists at certain hair salons. Employees have reported being hit with $2,000 and $5,000 bills for their training by quitting before a certain timeframe, because of a contract they signed at the beginning of their employment. This just goes to show even when HR is trying to shuttle your through contracts and get signatures quickly actually read what you are agreeing to sign.

“Regulators are reactive not proactive” – Anton Kreil

You might be thinking is this legal? The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launched a probe into this practice, but has not delivered news on their deliberation after public comments. So far courts have mostly upheld TRAPs when the employer has taken action on them except in cases where the employee had training prior to the job (i.e. already a licensed hair stylist). Will this expand to every industry? Can we possibly get further from ever reaching heaven on Earth? In China, often referred to as “repressed and not free” on the freedom indices, the employer cannot charge more than the training actually cost. Looking at you hair salon charging $20,000 for an employee who quits cutting hair early and offered no license or training.

Me when I get charged $20,000 by an employer who gave me literally nothing

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