Ask LH: Can I Get My Boss To Pay For My Education?

Convince Your Boss to Give You a Sabbatical by Learning New Skills

Dear Lifehacker, I had a hard time studying when I was younger, I lacked commitment and wanted to get straight into the workforce. I have a full-time job at a media company, and while I have a good technical knowledge, I am noticing a lot of gaps and I think a lack of formal qualification is a factor. After discussing it with my other half, she suggested that I try to convince my boss to pay, or help to pay, for a formal qualification. How can I convince my boss to help me out with study? And are there any tax breaks I can take advantage of? Thanks, Keen Learner

Image from tintedlensphoto

Dear KL,

Many workplaces will invest in employee education as part of an overall package, because they see the benefits to the business in having smarter employees, whether that's a matter of generally improving employee skill bases or having employees with specific industry qualifications to allow them to undertake particular avenues of work.

One way (which we've covered before) to convince your boss to chip in would be to point out where a qualification you could gain could address a skills need that your work currently has.

Applying simple persuasion techniques could carry you a long way to getting your boss onside for your own educational ends, although it's wise to always swing discussions back around how they'll help the business. Many employers are wary of paying to help workers gain qualifications that could see them trawl the wider job market in the future.

As for the issue of personal tax breaks, as long as your education is directly related to your current employment and are not intended to secure you a new job or open up a "new income-earning activity", you can claim tax relief for expenses you personally accrue as part of your studies; the ATO refers to them as "self education expenses" and can include the cost of textbooks, student fees and depreciation.

Any Lifehacker readers managed to convince the powers that be to pay for their further education once in a job?

Cheers Lifehacker

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Comments

    The organisation I works for has a policy that the business will pay for approved training / education BUT if the employee leaves within two years of completing the course, they have to pay back half the cost. Great way to retain staff. Downside for staff is the course needs to be approved by HR as part of the annual training budget.

    Might be worth having a discussion with your boss along the lines of:

    1. Will pay back 50% (100%?) if you leave in the next two years
    2. Include discussion on how the course would benefit you, the business and those you work with
    3. Discuss your value to the business in the long term and how you would like to see your role develop

    Every business I've worked for loves you to do training but is loathe to pay - and even more stingy when it comes to any pay increases to go with the skills increase. Commonly after an employee completes a course they have to go back out to the market to get the job and pay rise they're really looking for.

    my work pays for 50% of my uni fees or further education fees, on top of paid in-house or work related training that is required to maintain skills.

    Working in education you would think this would be a no brainer to offer training either free or discounted to staff. Sadly I've worked at institutions that don't do this, and then ask the question why their own staff are training with a competitor offering it cheaper than their own standard price.
    I once had it promised to me (in writing thankfully) before I even started with one institution that they'd put me through a particular course which was essential to my role. After hitting my head against a brick wall for 2 years to get them to honor it, I eventually paid for it out of my own pocket. I made damn sure however when they were doing mass redundancies that I was reimbursed on leaving.

    My current employer not only offers this, but expects it. They even encourage me to sit in on classes I'm not training in to allow me to understand the course content and give feedback.

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