Training Repayment Agreement Provisions draw scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers

The Consumer Federation of America calls TRAPs a “form of shadow student debt” that literally traps workers in jobs, even if wages are low and conditions are poor.

The shady practice of providing training for employees and then charging the employees for the cost of that training if they quit the job has got to stop!

Training Repayment Agreement Provisions, or TRAPs, as they are aptly called, have grown in recent years to the point that nearly 10% of American workers surveyed in 2020 by the Cornell Survey Research Institute, said they were covered by a training repayment agreement.

It’s called Training Repayment Agreement Provisions (TRAPs), a practice that’s under scrutiny from federal and state agencies, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), per Reuters.

In a nutshell, TRAPs require workers to reimburse their employer for training if they leave their job — or, in some cases, are laid off — before a set time. TRAPs started in the late 70’s but only applied to a few high-income professions, like pilots. Now TRAPs are common in many jobs, even blue collar jobs, lower paying hourly positions and some sales jobs.

In Washington state one now infamous salon tried to sue an esthetician for $1.9k in training fees, even though the experienced employee did not need or want this very basic training. While a California resident recently filed a lawsuit against PetSmart because the big box retailer expected groomers to repay more than five grand each if they dared leave Petsmart.