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Debt from jobs can be a risk to workers

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CFPB report exposes dangers and impacts

A report by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau highlights the potential risks that employer-driven debt poses to workers. This type of debt can encompass various financial products, including equipment and supply purchases required by employers.

One concerning aspect of employer-driven debt is the inclusion of “training repayment provisions,” or TRAPs, which can hinder worker mobility, especially when seeking higher wages. TRAPs require workers to reimburse the cost of their training if they leave their jobs before fulfilling a contractual commitment period.

Initiated in June 2022, the report underscores how employer-driven debt can suppress wages and bind workers to undesirable jobs. CFPB Director Rohit Chopra emphasized that federal law protects consumers, even while they are on duty at work.

A significant source of harm arises from the connection between employer-driven debts and a worker’s employment, with the debt controlled by a separate lending entity rather than the employer itself.

The report also raises additional concerns, including the potential for workers to be rushed through the loan sign-up process and the possibility of employers or issuers unilaterally changing the terms and conditions of financial products without worker consent or awareness.

Furthermore, employer-driven debt can hinder career advancement and higher wages, as workers may face substantial payments upon separation in certain cases. Overall, the report highlights the need for awareness and protection against such practices to safeguard workers’ financial well-being.


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