I am interested in taking a course (pay for it myself), and my employer is insisting to pay the course for me. However, I would be bound for a period of time to work for the company after finishing the training course or else reimburse the course payment (which is reasonable after all the employer would be investing in me). Even if I would not have been bound to stay with the company for a period of time, I would still have preferred to pay it myself.

How can I refuse the employer's offer, without leaving a bad impression?

  • 5
    Worse case is you reimburse. What is the problem here? – paparazzo Jun 22 '17 at 20:14
  • @Paparazzi the problem is you could pay for it out of pocket now, when you can afford it, or the employer is offering you a bitter-sweet deal that pays for it now, but if you decide to leave, then you're finding yourself paying back what could be a large sum of money, at the worst possible time - when you're leaving your job. Most people in the US, for example, have critically few savings together to handle job changes, so this really impacts whether or not he will consider other opportunities for the contract period. Prorated reimbursements I think are acceptable / fine though. – schizoid04 Jun 22 '17 at 20:22
  • 8
    If you can afford it now - put the money into a savings account to build interest and then if you do leave before the bound period you can repay and have made some money, too. If you're still around at the end of the bound period, you get a nice bit of money to splurge on something, plus the interest. – HorusKol Jun 22 '17 at 22:54
  • "Thank you for the offer. I'll take it under consideration and get back to you once the instructors give me details for billing." Then, don't ever mention the subject again. – Steve-O Jun 23 '17 at 3:51

Insisting on refusing the company's offer to pay for a course in these circumstances essentially screams that you aren't planning on being there for the two year period. Even if that is true I wouldn't recommend doing that as it will most likely adversely affect your relationship with the employer in the meantime and I really can't see any benefit to you paying for it now. I see that you say you would have preferred to pay for it yourself even if the 2 year rule didn't apply but I confess I'm struggling to see why - you may have personal reasons that aren't obvious to me (and that's fine, I'm not judging) but I think unless those reasons are made very clear and present a convincing alternative then 90% of people are going to assume it's down to you planning on leaving and perception may as well be reality in this sort of situation.

HorusKol's advice in their earlier comment was spot on in my opinion. Take the money for the cost of the course and put it in a separate savings account and ignore it until you either need to pay for the course or the two years have expired.


Let your employer know that the skills you're hoping to gain from this class are for your own personal edification, and will not be applied in any way on the job. You can let your employer know that you would thus not feel comfortable having the company pay for it (this is often a requirement managers must show a course meets before they can get approval to pay for it).

Keep in mind that this is only true if you do, in fact, plan on not applying these skills to any project related to your current employer. You can, of course, still use that excuse, but may risk some awkwardness if the employer discovers otherwise.

  • 2
    Hi Thanks for your reply. The course is academic and is related to my current work... – oxyrend Jun 22 '17 at 20:10
  • @oxyrend If it is directly related to your current work, what exactly is your objection? Looks like Paparazzi just asked this same question in a comment up above, so I'll move this conversation up to there. – deckeresq Jun 22 '17 at 20:15
  • @schizoid04 It appears the question could use some clarification (i.e. when he intends to leave, how long the company would expect him to stay...). Otherwise, we're mostly just speculating – deckeresq Jun 22 '17 at 20:38
  • @deckeresq Those details are important and would make answering the question easier, and allow for more accurate answers. – schizoid04 Jun 22 '17 at 20:40
  • Yes I am can afford to pay for the course. If I accept their offer, I would be bound to work for 2 years after finishing the course... – oxyrend Jun 22 '17 at 20:48

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.