Recession-Proofing Your Tuition Reimbursement Benefits

Updated: May 13, 2009

When the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) reached an agreement with Chrysler in late April, as part of the company's mandated restructuring process, tuition rebates were one of several employee benefits that were eliminated. Officials said that in the grand scheme of things, the employees backed the sacrifices. "CAW members supported their union right through this process ... That has allowed us to bargain the very best agreement possible, imposing the minimum possible sacrifice on our members and their families, despite the incredibly tough times," said CAW President Ken Lewenza.

If your company is looking for places to cut back, should tuition reimbursement be on your list, too? Some experts say that although employees do sometimes take advantage of it, it's likely to have little impact on the staff as a whole and a greater impact on the company. "[A benefits] survey I produced actually had education benefits (tuition reimbursement) as one of the listed items we had employees address. Quite honestly, we found that few employees took advantage of the plan," says Linda Konstan of Sensible Human Resources Consulting.

If 10 percent of your 100 employees use the benefit of up to $3,000 a year, the company could realize a savings of $30,000. More employees = more savings.

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