There is no legal requirement to provide tuition reimbursement for your employees. However, reimbursement will show that you care about your employees’ career progression. Obtaining a higher education can be quite expensive. Therefore, many workers refrain from enhancing their skills because of financial strains. Offering your employees’ a tuition reimbursement program shows that their future and progression in their career is important to you and to your company. By helping them thrive, you help to also increase the productivity and value of your workforce.
Make sure you have a sound Tuition Reimbursement policy included in your employee handbook. If you chose to provide such a benefit, your employee handbook should clearly state what criteria employees must have in order to be eligible for tuition reimbursement. State the requirements for applying for tuition reimbursement as well as how much the company can reimburse. Addressing the key requirements (e.g., degree earned, length of education) and criteria for this policy can help both parties avoid any type of miscommunication or misunderstandings.
Make sure you apply the policy consistently to all employees alike. Should you decide to offer such a benefit, make sure that you don’t discriminate; provide all employees the same opportunity to apply for tuition reimbursement. Ensure that all employees are eligible to receive financial assistance for their educational expenses, so long as they meet your established criteria according to your written policy.
Make sure your policy benefits both the employee and the Company; not just the employee. Helping to pay someone’s tuition is an expensive investment so make sure that your company benefits in some way. Whether you’re looking to promote a promising staff member after they have completed their degree or want an employee to develop more advanced job-related skills, make sure that this decision will add value to your company as well as to your employee.
Make sure the employee receives a “passing grade” before reimbursing the employee. Clearly define the terms of the tuition reimbursement policy and hold your employees accountable for receiving a passing grade in their courses. You essentially want this employee to represent your company and therefore it’s important to manage their progress and see how they’re excelling in the program.
Remember – your employees are your largest expense and your most valuable assets.