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Query #1

Any of you bond staff if they go for training courses.  Normally what's the practice for other companies.  My company send staff for training courses that costs from $100-$1000 but do not bond the staff. Is this the normal practice? Under what circumstances should we bond a staff that'll not make the company appear too calculative?


1. I make it a policy NOT to bond staff on any course that benefits the company as much as the individual. I make it a point to my managers that it is their job to make sure the individuals are properly deployed and their interest is maintained. It is our philosophy that a the fault for a staff that quits is in large part the fault of the manager.

2. We do bond our staff who attended training courses sponsored by the company. However, the need for a bond period (ranging from 1-3 years) shall depends on the relative training cost and the length of service of the employee. The longer an employee works with the company and the lower the relative training cost, the shorter will be the bond or in some cases there is no requirement for a bond.

We only ask an employee to refund the course fee if he/she breaks the bond. The amount of the course fee to be refunded shall be pro-rated in proportion to the months served.

3. Yes, we only bond our staff if training courses cost more than $2000 and bond starts from 6 months.

4. In my company, we divide into training courses into 2 categories.

Cat 1 are the seminars, workshop, briefings which can range from a couple of hours to a few days.  There is no bond in this category.

Cat 2 are for the pursue of diploma and degree courses. There is however a 1 year bond. This is irregardless whether its a 1 year diploma course or a 3 year degree course. The company, however do not sponsor the full course fee but at US$3,500 per year for registration, course and exam fee.  This is claimable upon submission of results.  One can submit the claim as and when they finished a
module and are able to produce the result of the module.

5. We only bond our employees for a year for Advanced Diploma and Degree courses. Rest of our certificate course etc no bond applicable.

6. Our employees supported on the Educational Assistance Program will be required to serve a period of bond only if their course fees are
above S$10,000 as per the following scheme:

S$10,000 to S$20,000 - 1 year bond
S$20,001 to S$30,000 - 2 years bond
S$30,001 to S$40,000 - 3 years bond
For seminars/workshops, no bonding required.

Resignation Before Completion of Studies
When an employee resigns, without having completed his/her studies, the employee will have to refund to the company the total amount reimbursed up to that point. This refund must be made before the end of the employee's notice period.

Resignation After Completion of Studies
When an employee resigns, after having completed his/her studies, and is still serving the bond - the employee will have to refund the pro-rated total fees incurred by the company for the uncompleted period of bond

Termination Of Employment By Employer
When an employee  has his/her employment terminated by the Employer, the employee will not have to pay back anything. This will apply both: before the employee completes the course; or after the employee completes the course and is serving the bond.

7. I totally agree that training is part of business investment that both managers and employees must not take for granted.  Job-based training is business requirement, therefore, we do not bond. Businesses should be able to plough back such investment in short term.  Personal development like diploma or degree, we bond them for max of 1 year. Personal development grant is only disbursed if we are sure that they have a career path with the company, therefore extended bond is not required. Minimum of one year's bond is required to control such application and to help employees have some time to prepare for career extension. Investment of such nature takes longer for business to recover.

8. We have an Education Sponsorship Programme whereby all confirmed employees with more than one year of service are eligible to apply. The course must be related to the employee's job and reimbursement covers the course fee, book allowance, registration, membership and examination fees. The employee will be expected to serve a bond upon successful completion of the course.

So far the average bond is about 3 years as most of the sponsored courses are Degree courses which amount to $20K. All other short term training courses are not bonded.

Query #2

You mentioned that there is no bonding required for seminars/workshop. But what if this seminar/workshop fees cost more than the usual diploma or advance diploma course?  E.g.. A 3-days seminar may cost S$3,000 whilst a 1.5 year HRM diploma course may cost S$1,500 after subsidy.  Could you please explain how to handle such situation in terms of bonding?

Amy Tan


Bonding is a policy issue. You need to be very clear as to *why* you bond a staff for training & educational support. Most organisations bond staff who undertake a company sponsorship for
certificated programmes regardless of $$$ spent. Most often then not, these programmes are perceived to be "transferable knowledge & skills" and makes one more mobile. Thus the organisation may want to put in measures to ensure staff stay for a *reasonable* period of time after programme completion.

On the other hand, these days seminars and conferences may cost as much as some cert/dip programmes. So do you also institute bonding for these? You need to think very carefully. Quite a few staff will think twice about attending if there is a bond attached. On the other hand the workshop/conference may be job specific thus benefiting the company if staff attends.

I address this problem in my company using two very clear criteria:

1. Bonding kicks in if the programme is of a Dip cert and above.
2. If the amount for training exceeds $10,000 (excluding salary) we bond.

David Dhevarajulu

Query #3

I would appreciate if anyone can share with me a sample letter on: Refund all sponsored course fees when an employees resign before completion of studies

Angela Tarn


The refund stated in our letter to the trainee goes like this: " (a) It is further agreed that should the trainee resign from the service of the Company during the scholarship, the trainee and/or the sureties shall be liable to pay the company the actual amount of course fees and any other monies granted to him plus 10% compounded interest per annum (b) if the trainee should resign from the service of the company during the bonded period, the trainee and/or the sureties shall pay the company liquidated damages pro-rated against the time remaining from the date of cessation of
service to the very last day of the bonded period."

Liquidated damages refers to the course fees, book allowance plus 10% compounded interest per annum.

Patricia Leong

Query #4

I am setting up policy on educational sponsorship e.g. diploma/degree courses.  What is the are the policies if company pay for employee.  The following question that would seek your advice.

1. Is payment made to institute or employee upon registration of education course (full lump sum or partial)

2. How should the co. reimburse to the employee, base on passing result, is there a guideline.

As I have been questioned why should the employee pay for their course first since the company is sponsoring and as the company does not want to restrict on passing result, it should not be putting much pressure on employee.

Katherine Koh


1. Common practice in sponsoring the employees are either:-

a) Company to pay the course fee/s and requires the employee/s to be bonded for a period of time subject to the cost of the education. Or

b) Employee/s to pay the course fee/s first and upon passing of the modules or whole course before the company will reimburse the employee/s.

Employee/s requires to submit the original receipt and copy of result slip (require to verify with the original result slip) before reimbursement. Likewise if your employee/s do query on suggestion 2, then you will have to consider what if they didn't pass their modules or whole course. Is the company willing to fork out another amount for their supplementary paper??

Chng Poh Hoon

2. In my ex co., employee who seeks for educational sponsorship from the co. is required to make his/her own registrations and payment to the respective Institutes. Reimbursement will be made upon completion of each semester/module. The employee is required to submit the original receipts and a copy of the result slip for verification before reimbursement. The co. will not make reimbursement if the employee fails any one of the subjects in the semester. And the co. will only subsidized 75% of the full course fees i.e. inclusive of the examination fees for the first attempt, registration fees and laboratory tests if any. The employee will be bonded upon successful completion of the whole course.  In the event that the course is SDF supported, the co. will fully sponsored the employee for the whole course. If that is the case, the employee does not have to make any payment for the course and will be bonded.

Even if it is the decision of the management to send the employee for further studies due future career plans, the company will pay for the whole course fees and the employee will be bonded upon successful completion of the whole course.

Yvonne Soo

Query #5

Since we are discussing about this topic, I'm also in the mist of writing a similar policy. Would appreciate that you share with me the bond period for Certificate and Diploma programs and how does your company determine the bond period, i.e. based on the total course fees or years of service with the company or a combination of both?

Yvonne Soo


Should be a combination of both and the bond period determined by 1-2 years depends on your nature of business/policy.

Chng Poh Hoon

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