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Studying For Certification Exams On Company Time?

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the unfunded-mandates dept.

Businesses 281

An anonymous reader writes "Companies sometimes require employees to hold or obtain certifications — for example in order to achieve Cisco certified partner status. Some companies pay for employees' exams and encourage employees to study on company time. Others expect employees to obtain mandated certifications on their personal time and dime. Should companies be able to require employees to obtain a certification, but refuse to pay for it, under threat of losing their job to a certified individual? Should it be or is it even legal to demand this of employees, especially if such a certification was not required at the time of hire?"

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Oh dear (5, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886016)

They can do anything they want. If you wanna try suing them for unfair dismissal, refer to your local laws (or consult a lawyer). But if you think you're being unfairly treated stand up for yourself.

Re:Oh dear (5, Insightful)

lmnfrs (829146) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886162)

I think parent is stating reality, not his opinion.

I agree because most companies, in my experience, will do anything they want. Sometimes it's valid, sometimes you wish you weren't involved so you could laugh at the situation. If you're worried about an action that you think is unfair, you don't want to work there.

Think about it, if this place caused you to Ask Slashdot to determine its decency, it's not that decent :\

Re:Oh dear (1)

bigsteve@dstc (140392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886298)

Maybe I've been lucky, but I've never worked for a company that took that attitude. Personally, I think that approach is counter-productive because it leads to staff dissatisfaction, disloyalty and increased staff turnover rates. All of these hurt the employer in the long run.

Re:Oh dear (1, Interesting)

Canazza (1428553) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886358)

I'm studying for MS Certification (don't shun me) - the company basically said "We need a .Net developer, go do the exam, take Friday Afternoons to study, We'll give you a pay rise at the end too"

Re:Oh dear (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886396)

And you probably appreciate that and in return you're doing the certification. Everyone gets something they feel is valuable out of it. That's the way it's supposed to work.

Meanwhile, companies who expect staff to spend their own time and money on compulsory company-related activities that weren't part of the original deal are likely to find that, regardless of the legal position, the reality is high employee turnover, few staff having the qualities the company is looking for, and ultimately a less successful business. That is also the way it's supposed to work.

Re:Oh dear (4, Insightful)

penix1 (722987) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886486)

Meanwhile, companies who expect staff to spend their own time and money on compulsory company-related activities that weren't part of the original deal are likely to find that, regardless of the legal position, the reality is high employee turnover, few staff having the qualities the company is looking for, and ultimately a less successful business. That is also the way it's supposed to work.

So let's take this to the next level. How do you keep an employee from taking that training you just paid for and leaving for what the employee sees as greener pastures? How do you get a return on the huge investment you just dumped into that employee? That is the real issue on why many companies won't expend the dime on training. They can always negotiate salary and worst case scenario have to let the employee go who demands too much. It is far easier requiring a certified new hire than to go to the expense of training someone who will only leave after they are trained.

I see continuing education as an employee responsibility. It goes with wanting to better yourself in your chosen profession. If you don't care enough to keep on top of it, why should the company? After all, it is YOUR career, not theirs.

Re:Oh dear (4, Informative)

St.Creed (853824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886544)

How do you keep an employee from taking that training you just paid for and leaving for what the employee sees as greener pastures? How do you get a return on the huge investment you just dumped into that employee? That is the real issue on why many companies won't expend the dime on training.

In the Netherlands, you can add a clause to any contract basically stating that when they are going on training, they will repay 100% if they leave in one year, 66% in 2, 33% in 3 and 0% after that (or any other declining rate that will hold up in court - 100% in 10 years will not hold up). Most of the companies are part of mandatory collective bargaining agreements with a similar clause.

So one of my friend has a new and shiny MBA - and he will have to fork over a serious amount of money if he decides to leave next year. If the new hiring company wants him bad enough, they'll pay it.

I'm surprised this isn't a standard clause in the USA as well, because it solves most of the issues in this area.

Re:Oh dear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886196)

Tbh. if they require you to get certificates, they should pay for them.
About studying time, maybe they should grant you some time for it, but they can also demand that you spend some of your own time, I'd say. People are different, some learn better this way, some better that way, some are fully focussed and learn fast, some not, some need a special environment to learn effectively. I'd probably give them some time and wether they learn in the company or at home, I wouldn't care and if the time is not enough, they need to invest their spare time. Simple. But I'm no boss. ^^

Re:Oh dear (2, Interesting)

usasma (1278674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886202)

Things change - if the company feels that a certification is now necessary to do the job, then that's what they get. If you choose not to have the certification, then you'll be competing with those who do have it for a job that requires it. FYI - I have chosen not to be certified in anything. It makes the hiring process more difficult for me, but I enjoy flaunting my knowledge in the face of those who are certified :0)

Re:Oh dear (1)

johncadengo (940343) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886238)

A tautological answer. You haven't answered his question, nor given him real advice to take in order to get the answers he wants. He isn't referring to what companies can do, will do, or have done--he's asking what they should do. Referring to local laws (or consulting a lawyer about said laws) will tell you what is, but a bit more work is required to find perspective on what ought to be.

Re:Oh dear (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886310)

This isn't an "insightful" answer - some moderators need a lesson or three in reading comprehension. You've completely dodged the question. "They can do anything they want" is a useless statement, because of the ambiguity given by the subsequent statement.

Normally businesses are expected to behave within the law, so unless you make it clear that you think businesses can break the law, they cannot do anything they want. You use the cheap and easy logic of "they can get then sued for breaking the law", of course, but that's the wise ass attitude of someone more interested in playing semantic games instead of a substantial conversation.

In the context of your answer, the question would be "does the individual have the right to sue for unfair dismissal". A question which you spectacularly fail to answer, while at the same time trying to appear tough.

So you combine failing to answer the question, with moral indifference, with empty posturing. Pathetic, really.

Re:Oh dear (1)

mrclisdue (1321513) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886370)

This is the insightful post, not the gp....

cheers,

Re:Oh dear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886438)

And when you consult a lawyer, be prepared to be laughed at by a guy who has to take CLE credits on his own time, and often on his own dime.

Check your contract (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886020)

What does it say in your employment contract?

Oh, you're an at-will employee [wikipedia.org] ? Never mind.

Deppends... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886022)

..On what the expectations were at when the employee was hired. If they changed policies after an employee was hired, they should pay for it. But when someone is being hired it could go either way; and would depend on how they (the company) decided to do it. At that point if you (the employee) don't like their terms they can move on to the next applicant.

Re:Deppends... (5, Insightful)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886048)

So indentured servitude is OK so long as it's mentioned in advance?

Re:Deppends... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886122)

In America it is

Re:Depends... Sure it does! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886130)

If you're lucky you know it in advance. Otherwise, oh sigh, you just work it out or lose your job. It all depends under which law you happen to work.

I'ts not easy for a employee either. They might get in to a business and get acquired in some business which manufacturer or customer requires maintaining employed certified staff of certain amount. They may have some time to comply which often not too long before losing vendor status or the like. Thus if you don't comply they are forced to hire another certified person to be able to comply upwards the channel.

Fairest deal I've heard was employee/consultants which were able to use 1 day a week in this kind of situation to work on certificate. All incurring costs were paid by contracting/employing company. But required that contractor/employed signed letter of commitment to get certificate done in certain time and that if he/she leaves before 3 years, he/she is willing to reimburse company back remaining share left by month he/she leaves the company on his/her own will.

First I thought that would bind you too much to company, but thinking again it's still better to get the certificate done and if there is need to leave and change company ask new hiring company to pay it up as part of the costs like relocation etc.

Not a bad deal at all, quite fair for both/all parties me thinks. I'm trying this with my current company with my upcoming certificates, we'll see then.

Re:Deppends... (3, Interesting)

bkpark (1253468) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886134)

So indentured servitude is OK so long as it's mentioned in advance?

Sure, except for the very narrow types of indentured servitude prohibited, at least in U.S., by U.S. Constitution.

If you say "indentured servitude is not acceptable" for a very broad definition of "indentured servitude", you invalidate quite a lot of contracts, such as the noncompete clauses, nondisclosure agreements, etc. that are meant to reduce the unknowns of running a business. Without those contracts and the world being full of unscrupulous individuals as it is, good luck running a free market economy.

Re:Deppends... (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886280)

LOL @ noncompetes.

They can do what they like with those, they have no meaning.

Re:Deppends... (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886330)

This is nothing to do with non-competes and you know it. It's about making people work for nothing[1], which is as close to indentured servitude as makes any difference.

[1] or evn less, if the training costs exceed the salary.

Do non-competes/NDAs really help anyway? (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886412)

I think I understand what you're saying, but perhaps your examples are unfortunate. I have seen little evidence that either non-competes or NDAs do bring any commercial benefits to a business.

Broad non-competes aren't enforceable in many jurisdictions anyway.

As for NDAs, they're rather like patents: the original idea might have been reasonable, but in practice they are mostly just a legal tool that the big guys use to hammer the little guys. Try getting any serious VC or angel investor to sign up to one before you pitch your idea and see how far you get. Meanwhile, look at how any business that has had a "meteoric rise" conducted itself. To pick some from the software business, did Google or Facebook rely on NDAs, for example? Probably not, because as those investors I mentioned know, there are plenty of good ideas in the world, but what really counts is having the will and the ability to execute them well. And if you have a good idea and you're executing it well, it's unlikely that a few details leaking out is going to pose a serious threat, because by the time anyone else understands their significance and acts on them, you've already moved on to the next stage anyway.

Time to bail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886028)

Because the company obviously doesn't value the employee's training and career development.

It's called competition (-1, Flamebait)

dragisha (788) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886030)

Everybody brags of freedom this freedom that... And forgets how employers also have some rights, for example to have the best employees their money can buy....

Thus said - of course they can give opportunity to each employee to keep their job, or advance in it, and of course to lose it to better suited individual if they fail to catch up. Wouldn't it be unfair to everybody else if they can't get some job, even if they are better choice for employer - just because someone got there first?

Opportunity to study at company time, or to have paid exams are just perks of some job... Many people, and I mean MANY, just don't get perk like that.

Maybe some people just need to move to some socialist country for change? :)

Re:It's called competition (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886106)

What next, you have to bring your own desk? Stoppages from your paycheck for rent & electricity?

Re:It's called competition (4, Informative)

NNKK (218503) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886194)

What next, you have to bring your own desk?

Actually, yes. Generally speaking, employers in the US may require workers to purchase their own equipment without reimbursement. The expenses are tax deductible for the workers, but that's about it.

Although rare in IT, there are a lot of jobs out there where this is, to one degree or another, routine. Employees that have to wear uniforms are a good example. Jobs that involve a lot of driving often require use of the employee's own car, and don't always provide reimbursement.

Re:It's called competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886290)

From a European perspective, that sounds very strange. I don't think an employer can require anything like that legally where I live (The Netherlands).

Re:It's called competition (1)

NNKK (218503) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886336)

It can sound strange to anyone who isn't familiar with it, but it has some practical logic to it. If you have to buy your own equipment, you have greater incentive to protect and avoid damaging it. And to be fair to the employer, many of these jobs do not attract the world's most mature and responsible people.

At better employers, you may get a small, fixed allowance, perhaps for one or two uniforms every couple of years, for example. They may also offer reimbursement for replacement of items damaged in on-the-job accidents that weren't reasonably avoidable.

Employment vs. freelancing (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886494)

The thing I don't understand is why people continue to be employees once you start crossing those lines.

Employment is a two-way relationship. The employer takes on the risks while the employee gets a fixed income, the employer provides the work environment and carries the other costs, but in return the employer gets to keep any profits beyond the agreed fixed payments.

In industries like manufacturing, transportation or services (of the electricity/gas/water/etc. kind) there is no way any one person could do things on their own. Here, an employment relationship as part of a larger organisation has the additional advantage of being practical, where co-ordinating hundreds or thousands of freelance workers with individual commercial arrangements might be too much of an administrative burden.

However, in creative or knowledge-based industries such as programming, sales, marketing or training, that is no barrier. It is relatively easy for one person, or a small group of people, to set out on their own and provide the same services that they could as employees of someone else's business. For larger projects, there are few overheads in dividing up the project and assigning each part to an individual or small team; this is, after all, what would probably happen in a large company doing everything in-house anyway.

In these industries, the workers gain relatively little benefit from an employer's physical resources and scale, yet they will still wind up leaving most of the money they generate for the employer. The only reason for such people to accept an employment relationship in these industries is the risk trade-off: an employer takes on the risk and all the general costs of running the show, but in return the employee only takes a fixed salary even if the business makes a lot of profit.

In the US, AIUI, there is relatively little employee protection in some states anyway because of "at will" employment and limited legal rights for employees. So the only thing left is providing a ready-made work environment and covering the associated costs and administrative burdens.

Once employees start having to sort out their own equipment anyway... Well, why would they still be employees instead of going freelance, forming their own business (perhaps with a few others with complementary skills) where they will directly take a share of the profits, or signing up as contractors (and with contractors' rates) instead of as employees?

Re:It's called competition (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886368)

Can't say I've come across it in the UK either, except for self employed and freelancers.

Re:It's called competition (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886418)

Chef's and high end cooks are generally expected to bring their own knives. I'm fairly sure that is the case in Europe as well.

This is pretty common of mechanics as well. Often the set of tools they carry acts as a sort of resume.

Re:It's called competition (3, Funny)

JonJ (907502) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886384)

What next, you have to bring your own desk? Stoppages from your paycheck for rent & electricity?

Stop giving these people ideas, please.

Re:It's called competition (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886430)

Ever heard of working from home? Basically it means you provide your own office, including your desk, of course. And of course, you're also using your own electricity. And pay the rent yourself.

Re:It's called competition (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886516)

Right. Because that's exactly the same. And of course there are no advantages to me from woorking at home at all.

Re:It's called competition (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886144)

Thus said - of course they can give opportunity to each employee to keep their job, or advance in it, and of course to lose it to better suited individual if they fail to catch up. Wouldn't it be unfair to everybody else if they can't get some job, even if they are better choice for employer - just because someone got there first?

There are job opportunities coming up for new jobs, or jobs that people have left every day. It's not necessary to have the jobs other people are already doing also available. You must be pretty young if you think that's a good idea. People need to have some degree of stability in their jobs, to be able to get a mortgage, to have a family.

Maybe some people just need to move to some socialist country for change? :)

If you mean one that protects employee rights, and has a decent public healthcare system, e.g. anywhere in Europe, that sounds like a good idea.

Re:It's called competition (1)

NNKK (218503) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886316)

People need to have some degree of stability in their jobs, to be able to get a mortgage, to have a family.

Employers already have economic incentive to provide some stability. Experience counts for a lot more in job security than pieces of paper do, and they're not going to cut an existing employee just because someone with more pieces of paper comes along unless the employee is already performing poorly (in which case it's perfectly justified), or there's something else entirely going on under the hood (whether it's discrimination, misconduct on the part of the employee, etc.).

If you truly encounter an employer who is hiring and firing solely based on how many pieces of paper each person has, you've found a business that no sane person would want to work for, and which is unlikely to be in business much longer anyway.

Re:It's called competition (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886518)

There is a much simpler argument for not replacing people all the time, too: hiring is expensive. The total administrative cost of recruiting a single member of staff can easily be the equivalent of paying that staffer's salary for a year, once you include the costs for HR, legal, time lost by senior staff reading CVs and conducting interviews, agency/referral fees, the administrative burden of filing whatever employment/tax paperwork are required in your jurisdiction, inefficiency for maybe several months before the new guy gets up to full speed...

No sane employer would voluntarily have high staff turnover. It's just bad business.

Re:It's called competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886524)

If you mean one that protects employee rights, and has a decent public healthcare system, e.g. anywhere in Europe, that sounds like a good idea.

Ah, yes, ones that make it impossible for companies to fire incompetent workers (who won't keep up with certifications or other industry standards), and where healthcare has to be rationed across the board. Sounds AWESOME!

Does it matter? (4, Informative)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886032)

You either get payed $X and get to bill $Y certs to the business, or you get payed $X + $Y and get to handle paying for $Y certs yourself. If $X isn't high enough for you, don't work there.

Re:Does it matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886078)

Or you get $X - $Y and you are still expected to pay $Y yourself

Re:Does it matter? (1)

shooteur (1559845) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886164)

This is generally the way it is with Roles/Certs in Australia. Even if it's on the company policy to reimburse for certifications, local group managers will usually have other ideas, and make it difficult for you so it might take 2 years for someone to hit out their CCNA. Also, any sort of training for certs, they do pay for usually goes to people that do not require it, or aren't interested in obtaining it. My current work place recently put a number of people in QA stat reporting roles, on CCNA course training, while people in groups involved with Cisco gear, hanging out for it were denied. The training money comes from the same bucket also in this case. I did my whole Cisco certs from CCNA - CCIE off my own back, after getting the run around from a previous employer changing their mind whether they would assist or not. It's not uncommon for others in the networking industry to be in the same boat.

Re:Does it matter? (1)

Merakis (959028) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886212)

That's bullshit.

Re:Does it matter? (0)

johncadengo (940343) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886272)

You either get payed $X and get to bill $Y certs to the business, or you get payed $X + $Y and get to handle paying for $Y certs yourself. If $X isn't high enough for you, don't work there.

This makes sense, if your only moral concern is money, and if your personal integrity is found in financial security.

Re:Does it matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886328)

You either get payed $X and get to bill $Y certs to the business, or you get payed $X + $Y and get to handle paying for $Y certs yourself. If $X isn't high enough for you, don't work there.

This makes sense, if your only moral concern is money, and if your personal integrity is found in financial security.

That's a foolish response to a sensible statement. To summarise the first sentence: "Somebody is going to pay for the certification, ultimately the hiring company as your pay must be higher than the cost of certification for you to pay it."

The second: "If $X isn't high enough for you, don't work there" should be self explanatory.

So your post amounts to saying that if people make a cost/benefit analysis on purchasing certification training and refuse to take jobs with insufficient pay that their "only moral concern is money" and their "personal integrity is found in financial security".

That's a stupid thing to say. You should be ashamed.

Depends... (5, Insightful)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886038)

on the contract you have.

In a fire-at-will situation you're pretty much screwed anyway, so that's not really relevant. In other situations however, an employer basically agrees to a contract stipulating that in exchange for an employee with qualifications X and labor Y said company will pay out Z in compensation. If the company then decides that X is no longer sufficient, that is basically a one-sided change to a contract. So at least in most european countries, the company can not *force* an employee to improve his skillset on his own time and dime, unless that has been stipulated beforehand. On the other hand, unless the contract is for an undetermined time period (which pretty much makes it a pain in the ass to fire someone) the company is under no obligation to prolong the contract once it runs out.

Speaking from personal experience, if my employer tells me to bend over, be their bitch and spend my own time and money to improve my skillset if we didn't agree beforehand that would be part of the deal, I'm fully within my rights to give them the finger. On the other hand it is within my own interest to improve my skills, so if some sort of deal can be struck where both parties make an investment, it's a different story.

Companies will often loudly proclaim that in order to comply with new regulation or to be able to compete all employees will be forced to do X. That regulation or those market forces are irrelevant to me as an employee. The only party I have made a contract with is the company itself. On the other hand sticking to one's guns while the company goes down in flames might not be the best career choice either ;-)

Re:Depends... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886062)

I agree, and it my case, it's quite simple, my company can not ask anything from me in non-company time. On my own time, i could as well be on Mars or dead as long as my company is concerned. Not that I do not choose to do stuff sometimes, or even communicate...But they can not rely on it, no more that it would be wise to rely on messages from space or from beyond ;-)
But I work for a small company, and would be extremely difficult to replace. Sometimes it's not the employee who's the bitch ;-)

Re:Depends... (2, Informative)

value_added (719364) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886366)

Well, contracts aside, it's still the case that large corporations offer continuing education or tuition reimbursement as a matter of policy, and while I'd hope that the value of investing in an employee should be self-evident to any employer, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that such notions fall victim to cost-cutting measures taken during tough economic times.

Jobs in the IT field aren't considered professions (at least in the traditional sense), but it may offer some perspective to consider how other professions handle things. Consider lawyers, as a ferinstance. From the American Bar Assocation website [abanet.org] :

46 U.S. jurisdictions require lawyers to take mandatory or minimum continuing legal education (MCLE) courses in order to practice law within that particular jurisdiction.

So lawyers are required to "maintain their certifications". And by extension, law firms maintain their "certified status". How about the costs for the education? Well, unsurprisingly (or not), most of the better firms offer reimbursements [law.com] , and then some.

All in all, I'd suggest it comes to how generous or otherwise enlightened an employer is at a given point in time. Should your employer reimburse you, or otherwise make accomodations? If the company's "certified status" depends on it, the answer is an obvious "Yes". If not, then I'm afraid your own needs or wishes will be considered discretionary.

Re:Depends... (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886434)

On the other hand sticking to one's guns while the company goes down in flames might not be the best career choice either ;-)

If the company would go bankrupt by paying for a Cisco certification, you'd better be polishing your resume anyway. If companies were rational, I would say that this is a bluff. The cost of going through a termination process, hiring process and lost productivity getting that person up to speed is huge and you never know what you'll get so firing an otherwise highly productive employee is insane. Still, under these circumstances companies often end up doing irrational things. And if there is a round of layoffs yoy can run into a downsizing policy that says non-certified people are let go first, so it's not entirely without rational risk either.

Personally I would politely decline, saying that with my other personal commitments I don't have the opportunity to do this on my time and dime. Don't discuss it, your personal life is none of their business just state it. Basically tell them that you'd love to continue working there, but that it's either on the job training, waive the requirement or they're indirectly asking you to start sending out resumes because your days with that company are numbered. Make it clear that the last is absolutely not what you want, but you're not seeing many other options.

The last one will make them show their true colors. If they really need you to get the certification, they'll pay for it. If they just tried to make you pay for it, they'll waive it and agree times are tough on everyone, please stay. If you are going to get laid off, you might get an early hint to find another job. Or you can simply be fired either right there or later, but in either case I doubt your career with that company would have been a long one. At the very least, I'd want it to be on their dime paying for course material and exams and that I could read it at work during spare moments.

Some self study would be an acceptable investment in my own career though, even our company will expect that for larger certifications - they're not mandatory in that sense though, but you'll never go from junior to senior developer or developer to architect without passing some. That I think is fairly reasonable, of course there's many job skills don't have clear certifications or where certifications don't make you qualified but overall it works out nice, as far as I know though all exams are paid for by the company.

P.S. I know that for certain huge investments, like funding/cofunding an MBA or something like that you have to commit yourself to working for the company for X months or pay them back. That I think is quite reasonable, otherwise people could get their degree and immediately apply somewhere else. I know for example that airline pilots are often this way, the airlines pay the pilot education and then you're bound to that company a while. I doubt a network certification falls into that category, maybe in the US though since the resignation period is just two weeks.

who's time? for money? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886040)

what a misnomer? about as literally correct as 'open source 'community'', or, as is the case here, 'stuff that matters'.

you have the right to remain silent.

greed, fear & ego (in any order) are unprecedented evile's primary weapons. those, along with deception & coercion, helps most of us remain (unwittingly?) dependent on its' life0cidal hired goons' agenda. most of our dwindling resources are being squandered on the 'wars', & continuation of the billionerrors stock markup FraUD/pyramid schemes. nobody ever mentions the real long term costs of those debacles in both life & any notion of prosperity for us, or our children. not to mention the abuse of the consciences of those of us who still have one. see you on the other side of it. the lights are coming up all over now. the fairytail is winding down now. let your conscience be our guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. we now have some choices. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on your brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

The current rate of extinction is around 10 to 100 times the usual background level, and has been elevated above the background level since the Pleistocene. The current extinction rate is more rapid than in any other extinction event in earth history, and 50% of species could be extinct by the end of this century. While the role of humans is unclear in the longer-term extinction pattern, it is clear that factors such as deforestation, habitat destruction, hunting, the introduction of non-native species, pollution and climate change have reduced biodiversity profoundly.' (wiki)

"I think the bottom line is, what kind of a world do you want to leave for your children," Andrew Smith, a professor in the Arizona State University School of Life Sciences, said in a telephone interview. "How impoverished we would be if we lost 25 percent of the world's mammals," said Smith, one of more than 100 co-authors of the report. "Within our lifetime hundreds of species could be lost as a result of our own actions, a frightening sign of what is happening to the ecosystems where they live," added Julia Marton-Lefevre, IUCN director general. "We must now set clear targets for the future to reverse this trend to ensure that our enduring legacy is not to wipe out many of our closest relatives."

"The wealth of the universe is for me. Every thing is explicable and practical for me .... I am defeated all the time; yet to victory I am born." --emerson

no need to confuse 'religion' with being a spiritual being. our soul purpose here is to care for one another. failing that, we're simply passing through (excess baggage) being distracted/consumed by the guaranteed to fail illusionary trappings of man'kind'. & recently (about a 3000 years ago) it was determined that hoarding & excess by a few, resulted in negative consequences for all.

consult with/trust in your creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

Before or after hiring? (1)

KarlIsNotMyName (1529477) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886044)

If they require that for any applicants as part of their qualifications, obviously you'll have to get it done before even starting to work there (or just don't apply if the requirements seem unreasonable for what the job is).

But if it is something they decide to require from you after you already work there (which is what this article seems to be about), then the only time they can require you to do anything in, is your work hours.

Next question... (0, Troll)

cbart387 (1192883) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886052)

Should companies be able to require employees to obtain a certification, but refuse to pay for it, under threat of losing their job to a certified individual? Should it be or is it even legal to demand this of employees, especially if such a certification was not required at the time of hire?"

Yes and yes. Next question? Seriously though, I don't think this is even an area you can legally enforce. I would think that the only time you could enforce this is if IT is singled out as having to doing this on their time & dime and other departments get to study for exams on company time. The company you described doesn't sound like a great place to work, but that's capitalism...

Microsoft Certifications (5, Funny)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886064)

It depends on the company and what you'd put up with regarding compensation and study time. Although, getting a Microsoft Certification does in fact make you eligible for disability - keep that in mind if you get fired. I even think you can get a handicapped license plate in many states.

in our company... (4, Informative)

underqualified (1318035) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886076)

i work for a japanese company(clue: starts with an "N" and ends with an "EC"), and they expect us to pass the jlpt exams. we're asked to study on our own time, but the company pays for the exam fees and offers free nihongo lessons. there are certain other certifications that we should get in order to be promoted. though they are having a hard time implementing it due to the high resignation rate.

Greener pastures (3, Insightful)

physicsphairy (720718) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886084)

"Should it be or is it even legal to demand this of employees, especially if such a certification was not required at the time of hire?"

The legality is probably contingent on whatever paper you signed when you took the job. In most states mandatory drug testing is legal, so I'm guessing knowledge testing isn't going to be something you could make many successful objections to.

But if the company is forcing you to foot the bill for things they think add to your work value, you might want to skedaddle anyway. I mean, at that point, what do you think the chances are of you ever getting a raise? Find someone less stingy to work for and build a career that will actually carry some rewards.

However, one argument I can think of for why you should personally pay for the certification is that it's something you get to take with you when you leave the company.

Re:Greener pastures (2, Interesting)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886388)

I wish the government agencies would adopt a you pay for your certification and training attitude or at least a you must work for us for X amount of years after training or you have to pay for it. I contract in to a few IT departments and I watch public servants abuse the hell out of the system, they take positions in IT and then use it as a means for free access to expensive training. In one department I have watched no less than a dozen people take a job, get trained and immediately leave to become a contractor. At the moment there is a new person that everyone knows is only there to take all the training and then intends to leave mid year for another city, yet their is nothing they can do about it, she is taking literally 10's of thousands of dollars of training with no intention of ever using it for the department.

Re:Greener pastures (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886440)

Indeed, I've once heard a person explaining that with EMBAs for example, people taking the course will very often leave their company upon completing the course, as with their shiny new paper they could find better offers elsewhere.

So get the shiniest piece of paper you can get your hands on, then set sail for brighter pastures.

Where in the world? (4, Informative)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886088)

When you ask legal questions, it's polite to mention which country you're in.

In the UK, and probably the rest of the EU, I suspect this would not be reasonable grounds for dismissal.

In the US, well, nothing would surprise me. Labour laws seem incredibly weak from the employee side.

Re:Where in the world? (4, Interesting)

haystor (102186) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886142)

Depends on which state. In an "at will" state, they could dismiss you, but it wouldn't be "for cause". That is, the former employee would be able to file for unemployment, since it is a change in the position the employee was hired into.

Re:Where in the world? (1)

jabithew (1340853) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886148)

I'm working the UK and have a psuedo-relevant experience myself. I'm an Engineer and it is explicitly stated in my contract that I must work towards chartership (IChemE). The company pays for professional membership for all of its employees, but we're expected to study and work on it in our own time.

Re:Where in the world? (1)

mjwalshe (1680392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886306)

Well I think that professional chartered status is verry different in Engineering you go into that at Uni knowing that that is the end goal and there is the expectaion that the employer helps with your "professional" development and if they didnt they would be in trouble.

Even if its technicaly legal it doesnt help with retention as employes are likely to get the certs then jump ship to a better employer also if a recruiter or competitor found out the company name they would be asking for their staff to be headhunted. It also can get a very bad name for the employer a couple of companies tried very agresive offloading of training costs to employees in the UK and the tech press cruicifed them and they to this day are considdered of that "XXXX" company to work for.

Re:Where in the world? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886168)

Yeah, if a company did this to a non contract employee here in australia, the employment regulator would be extracting seven figure fines out the company, more likely. God help the company if the employee was unionized too.

Re:Where in the world? (2, Insightful)

rxmd (205533) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886230)

When you ask legal questions, it's polite to mention which country you're in.

If on Slashdot someone fails to mention what country they're in, you can be almost certain that they're in the US.

Re:Where in the world? (-1, Troll)

PakProtector (115173) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886318)

If on Slashdot someone fails to mention what country they're in, you can be almost certain that they're in the US.

Seriously. If someone in Barcelona asks how much an apple costs, you don't ask them in what country.

Similarly, if someone on a US-centric website based out of the US asks a question related to a locality without specifying that locality, anyone with an IQ greater than that of a lawyer should be able to understand that they're referencing the United States.

Apologies about the above statement to NewYorkCountryLawyer and the other human, as opposed to shark and/or mosquito, members of the profession.

Re:Where in the world? (2, Insightful)

brainiac ghost1991 (853936) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886394)

But the laws vary significantly from state to state :)

Re:Where in the world? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886414)

Is it a US-centric web site? It seems to me that the membership is pretty cosmopolitan.

Re:Where in the world? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886390)

This is because it's the only (real) country in the world.

It should be taken as written in the same way the sentence "You are wrong." should be taken with "... because you are a fucking moron".

Re:Where in the world? (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886404)

It really depends where you set your bar on your judgement.

Many think that in Europe all those extra rules and regulation makes it very difficult to run a business in that area of the world, so companies will move to other areas where they have more flexibility in their policies. Thus moving more work to other countries also making it harder for someone to start a company in the area. and before you go well things are "SO MUCH BETTER IN THE EU" I would like to bring up Grease. Who almost went bankrupt, as well a lot of other problems to large scale strikes. So when Labor is in the wrong they still win.

The United States has more flexible laws. The problem is our stupid education system that is not allowing people to think of the job market correctly. For you to succeed you need to think of yourself as your own company that you need to operate. So what services do you perform that puts you ahead of other people. If you can't stand out then you are not going to get a well paid job. If you feel that company is not giving you what you need to deserve. Then find and other job and quit your current one, is it easy no, does it take time and effort yes, but if you equate that into the equation you must choose is it worth it to change jobs.

Now back onto topic a bit more. Sometimes if you get the education on your own time and money it gives you more freedom. As you can get better trained for an other job and leave at your own free will. Other companies after they give you training they will make sure you stay with the company for a few years or if you quit you will need to reimburse the training costs.

Some companies use this training as a cheap way to lay off people. Put in this requirement if they don't like it they will leave if they do they will go ahead and continue.
 

Re:Where in the world? (0, Offtopic)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886444)

You know, before you rip into a continents policies, maybe you should atleast spell the countries name right? And if you knew anything about the greek financial crisis at all, you'd know that it has squat to do with labour laws and everything to do with a government that racked up a huge deficit, swept it under the matress and lied about it until it exploded in their face.

Re:Where in the world? (0, Offtopic)

ultranova (717540) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886530)

Many think that in Europe all those extra rules and regulation makes it very difficult to run a business in that area of the world, so companies will move to other areas where they have more flexibility in their policies.

Yes, it's very convenient to be able to abuse workers till they've burned out or dead, at which point you can always get more from the masses of the unemployed. It's what capitalists did during Industrial Revolution, and led to the birth of Communism. It's also what's going on in the current Offshoring Revolution; I wonder what'll we get this time?

At Will Employment (1)

NiteRiderXP (750309) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886092)

If you have ever heard the term "At Will Employment" it means that either you or your employer may terminate your employment at the company without informing the severed party of the reason.

As long as your employer fires you and does not tell you why, you probably won't have much recourse. Even if they tell you, unless it legally classified as discrimination (e.g race, religion, sex, disabilities...), there is not much you can do.

Companies that do not want to pay nor use company time for employee training have their reasons. These companies are usually afraid that you will finish the training and leave to greener pastures, leaving them with a bill to foot. Some companies will pay, but may make you sign a contract stipulating that you work for them for a certain time period after training.

There are some nasty employers out there, you may be working for one of them. It's usually easier to find a job while you still have one, maybe its time to seek a new job.

Re:At Will Employment (1)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886266)

I know this is a US story but if I could just give a perspective from a New Zealand point of view. The absolute governing principle in Employment Law here is that the Employer must act fairly and in Good Faith. I am not saying the comment is incorrect, but from an NZ perspective:

"As long as your employer fires you and does not tell you why, you probably won't have much recourse"

...Bad faith. The courts would reinstate the employee in an emergency sitting...probably 5 days from application...and leave open Grievance damages for the employee.

"Companies that do not want to pay nor use company time for employee training have their reasons."

The company needs to give those reasons, make them aware at time of hiring and justify at time of dismissal. A response of "They felt like it" would yield maximum punitive damages to the employee.

" These companies are usually afraid that you will finish the training and leave to greener pastures"

The company has gone into the relationship with this distrusting attitude? Bad faith at best, harrasment at worst. An employment court(with full powers of a normal court) would award Grievance damages.

"Some companies will pay, but may make you sign a contract stipulating that you work for them for a certain time period after training."

That was stipulated at first interview, or its moving goalposts. Thats unfair, punitive and would guarantee grievance damages in court.

Less involvement with the courts is better (1)

davide marney (231845) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886464)

My state, Virginia, has an at-will policy, and it works very well. Both employers and employees can come and go with minimal entanglement in the court system. This works to the benefit of both sides. If my employer makes what seems to me to be an improper requirement for employment (such as paying for my own certs), then I'm free to pick up and find greener pastures elsewhere. I don't have to worry about my employer suing me for breech of contract. Likewise, if my employer decides to restructure the company and that means my position is no longer needed, they don't have to worry about a lawsuit from me.

In the beneficent absence of involvement by the courts, employers rely on their reputation to attract good people. Local magazines publish annual ratings of the best places to work. Gain a reputation as a lousy employer that lays people off and throws them on the street with two weeks notice, and you'll be bottom-feeding in no time.

Re:At Will Employment (1)

will_die (586523) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886400)

What you say about at will is correct however most people are covered under an employee handbook which the courts have decided is a legal contract. So if the case firing do happen and the employee handbooks were not followed it comes down to breaking of a contract and the penalties that come from that.

Synopsis of corporate self-certification reqs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886100)

"RTFM or GTFO"

Everyone (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886136)

get in here [slashdot.org]

Ask yourself... (1)

CorvisRex (1266594) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886140)

Well, firstly, very little is fair... Many employers will try to get away with as much as possible. The less they spend, the more they make.
If they require this after they have hired you, and won't pay for it, you have to ask your self a couple of questions.

1.Can you take this off of your taxes? If so, then well, you are not really paying for it so it is not so bad.
2. Will this cert make you more valuable, that is, with this cert can you expect a larger salary? If so, will the employer pay you more?

Often times, things like this is the employer trying to get a senior level person while still paying them only a junior salary...
It might not be FAIR, but, well, that business.
Ask your self if it is worth it? If the money is still good, and the boss is kosher, then do it...
If it is just your boss trying to take advantage of you, and you think that you can find better else where, this might be a time to start looking for somewhere else to work, somewhere that will treat you better.
It's less about whether its fair, and more what you are willing to put up with for the job.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886152)

If a company is requiring a certification then they should not have an issue with you studying on the clock. After all the certification directly relates to your job. The company should also be willing to reimburse you for said certification. If not.. go get the certification on your own time and dime and then use the new certification to land a better job.

Good Question (2, Insightful)

delta98 (619010) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886166)

If I'm a mechanic in the state of Pennsylvania and I want to keep my state inspection licence, it's on me. My employer only needs my services as long as I can provide them legally - sometimes competence dosent' matter . It is not incumbent upon them to keep up with my skills and certifications. I'm not a mechanic but you get the idea. It would be nice if the required were paid for but I don't see that happening soon. I'd like a working relationship where I can have some financial help along with the support but realistically it isn't going to be expected. In the US at the current time it's a roll of the dice unless this was hammered out during the onboarding process or you can get a program started.Make your argument worth investing on the company's part and they will at least give it a listen. Good Luck!

certs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886170)

I am in the camp of certification doesn't benefit anybody but the company who offers it. There is nothing on their tests or plaques that will make you a better technician.

Now, having said that, keeping current and constantly learning new things is what makes the individual more marketable. And in some cases I can see how the certifications force people to keep current. As for whether the company should pay for it or expect the individual to do so is entirely up to them. Obviously those employers who require them, and don't pay for them, feel certifications are important and if you don't get yours they can find somebody else who has one.

Just like companies we have free will. If your employer expects you to maintain certs, doesn't pay for them, and expects you to have them, fire the employer and find one who either doesn't require them or will at least compensate you for them accordingly. Whining about your employer making you have these is not productive.

Re:certs (1)

jenn_13 (1123793) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886402)

This is so true. I think companies that require these certifications do it for two reasons. Either they get some kind of special status for having employees with the certifications (e.g. "Microsoft Partner"), or they're too lazy to truly evaluate how well employees are keeping current, and the piece of paper is a shortcut for this. I think that a company that truly cares about the employees' skills more than a piece of paper could find better ways to evaluate. The certification just means that you can remember a lot of information and regurgitate it, not that you have a deep understanding of it, or the creativity to use it to solve problems in the best way. As someone who has never actually run a business, I humbly suggest that companies who want to encourage their employees to keep current start setting aside a certain amount of time each week for developers to take turns presenting something new they've learned to the rest of the team. Each developer would only have to prepare something once a month or so (give or take, depending on team size), and most people, I expect, wouldn't have a problem with spending a few hours to a day of their personal time studying/researching for something like this, especially if they get to choose the topics themselves. Plus, from the effort of one individual, and an hour of listening to the presenter and discussing, the whole team learns something new each week.

Re:certs (1)

delta98 (619010) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886520)

Some company's do in fact encourage small seminars during a break or actually set aside some time for employes from different areas of discipline to sit and learn from others. It only works for the benefit to all and opens up channels for the human creative process as you mentioned to work. Great comments.

A valid case, but (1)

SmoothBreaker (1786522) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886184)

IMHO, if te company required it at time of hire, and the employee DIDN'T have it, then its a coin toss. If the company now requires it, as opposed to the time of hire, then i would expect that they would allow for studying, insofar as is didn't interfere with regular duties. Personally, i would subsidize the cert cost, if not pay for it outright. A better statement/question is if the company can eliminate you based on new requirements. If the position's requirements were redefined, then the whole game changes, but i still fell that they should help if not take care of their own.

well, that depends... (1)

mayberry42 (1604077) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886186)

Do you want to keep your job? Don't forget that in this economy (especially), there are going to be countless skilled professionals, already out of work, more than willing to put the extra effort for that position. So if you want your job, then show them that you're better than the competition and that you're worth keeping. Otherwise, dont blame the company for wanting to choose someone who has shown more diligence, hard work and skill over you.

at least all of the foliage came out (in 2 days) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886214)

the geese still seem lost. i guess the 'explanation' of the 'weather' anomalies doesn't sink in as fast for them. they don't seem to mind the cloud spraying planes going over constantly now. big grey dome for 3 days now. 'rain' that doesn't get anybody wet, etc....

no 'stuff that matters' 'scientific' assessment of this clip yet either. nobody here seems to grasp it, & are more than satisfied with the nws blurb.

http://www.aos.wisc.edu/fireball/

talk about using 'flash' as a presentation medium?

as always, never a better time to consult with/trust in your creators..... see you there?

That's on you (1, Insightful)

gr8fulnded (254977) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886226)

They already paid for your time in class and the expense FOR the class. Their obligation is done. You should be doing it for yourself. Don't expect it to all be handed to you.

Certifications are evil anyway. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886236)

Everyone should have equal access to education, therefore only publicly funded (and gratis) education programs should be legal to require employees to obtain.
Company should give the time to follow classes, while employees should do homework on their own time.

Make SURE you claim ALL the costs as deductables (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886274)

If a company is that cheap, they'll almost certainly be claiming for the same training costs as an operating expense.
Keep every receipt.

The tax man has a lot more ways of making them hurt than you do.

Raise? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886276)

Will you get a raise, since you are now MORE qualified after certification?

I worked at a company many years ago who paid 20 employees to become certified Oracle DBAs. They paid the $20K in classes and the salary while those folks went to class for a few weeks. At the end of the class, another company made almost all of them offers for a $20K pay increase - about 50% at the time. Almost all of them took the offer and left the company.

Many certifications will help you be more marketable in your field. It is only the starter certs (A+-whatever) that don't mean all that much, unless you want to work for a help desk.

Certificates are a way for employers to know you've had some training in a field - usually when they aren't qualified to determine your knowledge level. I've been designing IT solutions for customers for 20+ years. Developing software, selecting networking, selecting and sizing servers - some costing over $5M each. I've been designing around virtualization for over 10 years on almost every platform. There is no single cert that backs up my qualifications. Also, I don't have any certs, ZERO. No Cisco, no VMware, no Linux, no Oracle, no Microsoft-anything, not even a Netware cert. That doesn't mean I don't have the knowledge of a MASTER in each of these things, just that my current employers never thought it was worth the time and money to bother. Now that I'm doing independent consulting, I believe that having CISSP, VMware, Cisco, PMP and perhaps an ITIL cert would be helpful and allow my clients to more easily hire me. The certs where you need someone else to vouch for you are the most difficult for a small operator like me to gain. I have seen Enterprise Architect certs too - they seem to be a good-ol-boy club .... as I look from the outside. Perhaps looking from the inside would provide a different perspective.

"Required" Reading (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886288)

> "Should companies be able to require employees..."

Yes. It's called at will employment. They can set any requirements they want. You can work there or not.

It might be instructive to engage in a little etymology (origin of words, not study of bugs, which starts eNty...)

A 'professional' is someone who professes to BE something, as opposed to an employee, worker or similar, who simply does something. A professional would seek training for their own betterment, company assistance aside. Even in cases where such training is not required, companies are usually also made up of professionals who respond to like behavior and reimburse, credit or promote those who act professionally. When they don't, other companies often will.

A major failing of many companies is in forcing other kinds of workers to go to training. Not being professional, they can sit for days to fulfill that obligation but fail to learn anything useful. But they keep sending these people anyway. Optimism, perhaps.

Decide if you want to be something or just do something and act accordingly. A professional wouldn't have asked such a question, so the question may be moot. But then, anyone can change. Optimism, perhaps.

If not, hey, the professionals always need drones, droids and gofers. Just not always the same ones in the same jobs.

Here in Germany it's sensible (3, Interesting)

BadDoggie (145310) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886322)

A company can require a cert as a condition of employment but if they require maintenance, they must foot the bill for time to learn/study and for the (passed) testing (no paybacks for the failed attempts). It's a matter of "reasonableness", "human rights", working hours laws and social justice, the latter being very important here.

Unless there's something in the contract explicitly putting all the burden on the guy needing certs (nearly impossible and unenforceable), the company pays to maintain. If you think that's bullshit, remember that the company itself profits from that maintenance and a n experienced worker.

Re:Here in Germany it's sensible (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886416)

OTOH, what if the company e.g. hired him as Java developer, but now need a .NET developer? They could just hire a new .NET developer and fire him since they don't need him as Java developer any more. Now if they offer him that he can get the .NET developer position provided he does the work needed to learn .NET on his own time, this is actually an advantage for him. Of course, it also tells a message: "Yes, you're not bad (we give you the chance to stay), but you're also not too valuable for us either (we don't invest into you staying)."

Makes you more employable (3, Interesting)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886350)

Companies need to recognise that mandating any sort of accreditation makes you more qualified (hence the requirement) not only for their benefit, but for other employers, too. If they don't recognise this, then walk. We all do things on our own time to keep up with technology and stay aware of new trends and directions. Partly for our own self esteem, but also as we tacitly know that it's necessary - if not for the current job, then for the next one in our careers.

Depending (as others have said) on how well your government requires companies to treat their serfs, you may have some protection or you may have to lodge your disapproval with the usual two word response: "I quit". However, bear in mind that the reason for walking out (that your employer was asking you to become better qualified) will get a dim reception from any interviewers. Better to make the effort, get the certification and then start looking for something better. Now that you have another string to your bow.

Ask for reimbursement (1)

silicone_chemist (975884) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886406)

Have you asked to have the fees covered? When my company began asking me to handle areas of the business that I wasn't prepared for I requested a graduate degree so I could gain the skill set. They agreed to pay for tuition. I would pay for books and attend class in the evening. I could study whenever so long as I got my duties done. I would not sever employment or get fired for negligence for 2 years after receiving a reimbursement check or I would pay back 100% from 0 - 1 years or 50% from 1 - 2 years. Also, reimbursement was based on performance; 100% for an A, 80% for a B, and 50% for a C. My company was concerned I would take my new skill set and shop around for new employment so the agreement give them some protection and a chance to recoup their investment.

Skills upkeep (1)

anyaristow (1448609) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886422)

If you have a job that pays a living wage and your only beef is they require you to keep up your skills on your own time, consider yourself lucky. Suck it up and do your studying. Your certification will travel with you, should you choose to leave.

On the other hand, if they also have you working 50 hours plus on-call time 24/7 then they don't have a healthy sense of work/life balance and maybe they need to be told you're already giving them as much time as you're willing.

Consider other professions (1)

FrozenGeek (1219968) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886424)

My father was an MD in government service. He had to stay current, and all of his study was done on his own time on his own dime, so we are not alone.
That said, in the IT industry, if you are not continually working to expand your skillset/knowledgebase, you will very quickly find yourself unemployable. If your employer wants to provide guidance in what to study, that's not a bad thing - there are so many possible areas of study that some guidance is useful. Now, if their guidance would required you to spend a lot more of your own money than would other areas of interest to you, they probably ought to pony up some part of the cost of studying that area. You might consider discussing it with your manager ("my budget for study is X. The cost of your suggestion is X + C. Could you cover C?").
Any good manager is willing to consider a win-win situation. If you don't have a good manager (or a good employer), study what will make you marketable in the direction that you want to move, and then MOVE.

Do you do other work "off the clock"? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886436)

For salaried people whose job really is 24/7 or who work on commissions, like company officers, commissioned salespeople, and some creative types, it's a moot point since your compensation was set with "off hour work" in mind. The same goes for any job where you routinely work well over 40 hours and routinely do much of your work outside office hours. Yes, this includes many computer professionals.

For everyone else, it should be paid time.

The bottom line:

If off-clock labor or unpaid certification study was common practice when you accepted the job and you knew it or should have known it, you have no complaints. If it's a new thing or your company is changing the rules mid-stream you have a valid gripe.

If they subsidize your cert... (1)

rindeee (530084) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886446)

then you owe them when you leave (maybe). Since I wouldn't want to work for a company that is as stingy as you describe, I'd be looking to get my cert and use it to find a better job. That being the case, I'd gladly pay for it myself, and thank them for 'forcing' me to better myself/leave.

Re:If they subsidize your cert... (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886492)

A few companies have tried to get leavers to reimburse them for any/all training the company has paid for. AFAIR not one has suceeded and the bad press has not exactly helped them recruit replacement staff.

Bad idea. Very bad. Possibly the worst one ever.

yes it should. if... (1)

DaveGod (703167) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886478)

Most responses have answered the "is it even legal" part quite well. The "should it be" is basically the same though. If you agreed to something when signing up, well you agreed to it. Your pay should reflect your personal costs and time, if it doesn't, well perhaps now should review your decision.

It gets more complicated if it was not part of the contract you agreed to. Realistically, this is just what happens and you're left with the choice of accepting it, moving on or going to a tribunal or whatever (very risky to your career). If you're lucky you may be in a position to negotiate or help develop proposals whereby staff and management can reach an amicable agreement.

However, in all cases I would expect there to be appropriate compensation for the extra demands being placed upon you and also to reflect your increasing qualifications. I don't necessarily mean wholly financial compensation; it would probably be some combination of the certification being part of the employer's ongoing training programme (i.e. paid for and performed mainly during company time) and you paying and studying in your own time but getting an increased salary. Keep in mind that certainly if an employer paid everything and provided all the time, I would certainly count it part of the remuneration package.

What you really need to watch out for however is when the employer is bringing you up to a level that would normally require promotion, but simultaneously raising the bar for promotion. You're doing more, higher level work but getting paid the same. Employers can be very bad for exerting pressure on staff to make it appear that they need to do more just to maintain their current position when in fact they are continually increasing their responsibilities without recognition.

Depends how hard you want to push (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886500)

IANL, but it seems to me that you'd have a pretty good case for constructive dismissal, if you wanted to push that hard. I can't see that it would be anything but counterproductive, but it would be there. The employer wants to materially change the job you hold and isn't prepared to provide the tools that would let you upgrade to the new standard.

On the other hand, as stated elsewhere, an employee would probably be much better off simply obtaining the certification and using the opportunity to look for a new job while there's still a steady paycheck coming in.

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