No reimbursement of the cost of training after a conventional termination

To ensure the loyalty of an employee for whom the company has financed costly training, certain contracts contain a so-called “training waiver” clause.

Reminder of the principle:

The training forfeiture clause provides that the employee leaving the company before a date set by the parties must reimburse their employer for the costs incurred by their training.

It meets specific validity conditions and in particular:

(in the initial contract or amendments) before the training

Exclusively paid training
by the employer, and more costly than required by law or collective agreement

Proportional reimbursement amount
at the costs incurred by the employer, and exposed to the employee

Time limitation
in general the training forfeiture clause is valid between 2 and 5 years

How to activate the training forfeiture clause?

In a recent judgment of the Social Chamber of the Court of Cassation, it recalls that the forfeiture-training clause can only be implemented in the event of departure at the initiative of the employee.

It had already been ruled that an employee who left the company due to acts committed by the employer could not have the forfeiture training clause applied.

In this case, an employee requested a conventional termination of her employment contract. Her employer, considering that the employee had initiated the termination, had requested reimbursement for the training in accordance with the forfeiture clause.

The Court of Cassation recalls that, in accordance with article L.1237-11 of the Labor Code, conventional termination is exclusive of dismissal or resignation and cannot therefore be imposed by either party.

As the contractual termination is not attributable to either party, a forfeiture clause cannot be applied in this departure case. It is therefore recommended to foresee the fate of the forfeiture clause as part of the negotiation of the conventional termination.