Education and Employee-Development Policies

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Rev. 09/07

  1. General
  2. Types of Programs
    1. Position-Related Programs
    2. Career-Related Programs
    3. Educational Enrichment Programs
  3. Scope
  4. Employee Development Planning
    1. Annual Plan
    2. Formal Plan
  5. Sources of Training Programs
    1. On-Site Training
    2. Off-Site Training
    3. LBNL Mentoring Policy
  6. College Degrees, Certificate Programs, and College-Level Courses
    1. Tier 1
    2. Tier 2
    3. Basis for Approval of Employee Development Plans
    4. Fee Reimbursement
    5. Time Off with Pay
    6. University of California Reduced-Fee Enrollment Benefit
    7. Procedures and Forms
    8. Other Academic Programs and CEU Courses
  7. Government Licensing and/or Professional Certification
    1. Definition
    2. Continuing Education Courses
    3. License Fees
  8. Professional Research or Teaching Leave
    1. Qualifications
    2. Salary
    3. Duration of Leave
    4. Travel Expenses
    5. Vacation and Sick-Leave Credits
  9. Professional Renewal Leave


It is the policy of the Laboratory to assist and encourage employees to obtain skills, knowledge, and abilities that increase the effectiveness of work performance in their present position and improve their career opportunities within the Laboratory.

The Human Resources Department will assess Laboratory-wide employee development needs and, based on the availability of resources, sponsor appropriate, relevant training and development programs to meet such needs. Special emphasis will be placed on developmental activities designed to help supervisors, group leaders, department heads, and division directors make good-faith efforts towards meeting the Laboratory’s equal employment opportunity and affirmative action goals. The Equal Opportunity Administrator will review and evaluate effectiveness of the employee development programs in relation to the Laboratory’s equal employment opportunity and affirmative action goals, and sponsor additional special training as part of the Laboratory’s Equal Opportunity Program.


1. Position-Related Programs

    1. Definition. Position-related programs are directly related to the work assignments or conditions of the employee's current position. (See Paragraph G, below, for information on professional licensing, and certification training and associated fees.)

    2. Responsibility. In improving performance or mastering responsibilities in the present job, the supervisor takes the lead by identifying development objectives along with corresponding action plans. This is done in conjunction with the employee performance evaluation process.

    3. Eligibility. All career employees are eligible for position-related programs. Employees in noncareer appointments are eligible for position-related programs only when such training is specifically necessary for such employees/contract workers to perform their respective assignments. Guests and employees of contract labor agencies are eligible only for Laboratory-provided safety training related to their assignments at the Laboratory.

2. Career-Related Programs

    1. Definition. Career-related programs are related to the development of skills, knowledge, and other qualifications that prepare an employee for other positions within the Laboratory for which an employee (as evaluated by the supervisor, department head, and the Human Resources Head or designee) might be an effective competitor.

    2. Responsibility. In career planning and development, the employee takes the lead by self-assessing skills, values, career interests, and choices. After completion of the self-assessment, the employee discusses with the supervisor areas of interest to be developed. The supervisor is encouraged to act as the coach and advisor to the employee, helping to map out agreed-on developmental objectives along with corresponding action plans.

    3. Eligibility. All career employees are eligible for career-related programs. Employees in noncareer appointments and agency-employed contract labor workers are not eligible for career-related programs.

3. Educational Enrichment Programs

Educational enrichment programs are related to an employee's personal or career interests that are not related to Laboratory positions for which an employee might be an effective competitor. For example, a course such as music would be considered an educational enrichment program. Educational enrichment programs are the employee's responsibility and are not eligible for benefits under this policy.


  1. Attendance at all courses, seminars, and conferences of an instructional nature given by accredited universities and colleges, institutes, professional associations, and commercial training organizations is considered part of the Laboratory's education and training activities and may be part of a formal employee development plan.

  2. For administrative purposes, attendance at scientific meetings, professional society meetings, research conferences, and industrial conventions and shows is considered a work assignment and is not necessarily part of a development plan.


1. Annual Plan

Every employee's annual performance evaluation must include development goals and a plan for attaining those goals during the coming year.

2. Formal Plan

  1. Every career employee is eligible to request a formal development plan. A formal development plan is developed by the employee and his/her supervisor and should be realistic and state job or career goals that are attainable within the Laboratory's job classification structure. Plans should be structured so that completion of the development program should result in greater employee capability. Formal plans often include a time frame longer than one year.

  2. When an employee takes three or more Laboratory-supported courses or training programs in a fiscal year, the development plan must be formalized by using the Employee Development Plan form. At a minimum, the plan should include developmental objectives and corresponding action plans for improving or mastering performance in the current position, qualifying for other Laboratory positions, or obtaining a specific degree or certificate of value to the Laboratory's mission (see Paragraph (F)(1), below).


1. On-Site Training

  1. Intradepartmental Training. A division director or department head is responsible for arranging specialized training with a department or division. Assistance or advice in any phase of a desired program may be obtained from the Training Administrator in the Human Resources Department.

  2. Interdepartmental Training. Various organizational units within the Laboratory, including the Environment, Health, and Safety Division; the Computing Sciences Directorate; and the Human Resources Department, are responsible for developing and/or providing training programs to Laboratory employees in their areas of expertise and that are required by law, or will enhance employee performance. Procedures for attending interdepartmental training may be found on the Employee Self-Service Web site.

  3. Apprenticeship Training Programs and Internships. The Workforce Diversity Office is responsible for administering apprenticeship training programs, other special skills training, and internships.

2. Off-Site Training

  1. With the approval of his or her supervisor and department head or division director, an employee may attend off-site training (e.g., outside seminars and workshops) that will be of direct benefit to the employee's assignment. The division director or department head will approve attendance at off-site training only when the benefits to the Laboratory will, in his or her judgment, more than offset the costs involved, when the required skill or knowledge is not readily available through Laboratory training resources, and when the employee's time away from the Laboratory will not adversely impact current work demands.

  2. The division will pay course fees, travel, and all other expenses as necessary.

  3. See HR Employee Development and Training for procedures for requesting off-site training.

3. LBNL Mentoring Policy

LBNL Managers should engage in informal mentoring of promising and ambitious employees who want to take an initiative in improving their professional skills and experiences.  

The objective of the mentoring process is to:

The role of the mentor is to:

The role of the employee is to:


Note:  Additional information and clarification of the policies below may be found here. Employees should often review the information contained therein, as it may change without notice.

Career employees who have passed probation may take college-level, certificate, and continuing education courses as described below. Satisfactory job performance is a prerequisite for participation in these Tier 1 and Tier 2 programs.

1. Tier 1

College-level courses leading to an academic degree (A.A., B.S., M.B.A., M.S., Ph.D., etc.) or a certificate (Project Management, Biotechnology Business and Marketing, Java Programming, etc.).

Degree courses must be offered by an accredited college or university. Certificate courses must be offered by an accredited college or university, university extension program, or recognized professional society. Continuing education units (CEUs) may be reimbursed under Tier 1 when they are part of an approved degree or certificate program. These may be either position- or career-related programs (see paragraphs 2.04(B)(1)–(2)).

2. Tier 2

Career-related academic programs not leading to an academic degree or a certificate. Courses must be offered by an accredited college or university. Continuing education units (CEUs) may be reimbursed under Tier 2 only when offered by a university or college continuing-education program.

3. Employee Development Plans

  1. Tier 1
  2. The employee must have an Employee Development Plan approved by his or her supervisor, division director or Associate Laboratory Director for Operations, and the Human Resources Head or designee.

  3. Tier 2

    The employee must have an Employee Development Plan approved by his or her supervisor, division director or Associate Laboratory Director for Operations, and the Human Resources Head or designee, if taking three or more classes in a fiscal year.

  4. Basis for Approval of Employee Development Plans

    The following will be taken into consideration when reviewing employee development plans:

    1. Relevance to the Laboratory’s mission

    2. Mutual benefit to the employee’s career and the long-term interests of the Laboratory

    3. Length of the employee’s employment

    4. Employee’s past performance and potential

    5. A reasonable expectation that the employee will remain in the employ of the Laboratory for a sufficient period of time to provide a fair return for the training costs

    6. The proposed curriculum and timetable for completion are realistic

    7. The department/division’s work needs can be met during any employee absences due to attending class or other absences related to his/her program.

An employee who is denied approval of an Employee Development Plan based on paragraphs (F)(3)(c)(i)–(vi) above may request review of the denial by the Head of Human Resources, who will consult with the division director as appropriate. Employees who are denied based on paragraph (F)(3)(c)(vii) above may not request a review by the Head of Human Resources but may resubmit their plan at a later date when the department's or division's work needs may have changed. Denial of an Employee Development Plan based on paragraphs (F)(3)(c)(i)–(vi) above is not subject to review under the grievance or administrative policies (see RPM §2.05(C) or (D)). The employee must exhibit satisfactory progress towards attainment of the degree or certificate for continued eligibility under Tier 1, with the understanding that unanticipated department/division work needs may affect that progress.

4. Fee Reimbursement

  1. Employees must complete the Tuition Reimbursement Request form, and obtain the necessary approvals before registering for classes.  Classes taken without prior approval will not be reimbursed.

  2. Employees may be reimbursed for tuition/education fees, flat course fees, such as charges for UC Extension courses, and laboratory fees when the employee submits proof of successful course completion and receipts for payment of fees to the Training Administrator in the Human Resources Department.  Nonresident tuition or other fees not listed are not reimbursable. Successful completion is receipt of at least a “C” for undergraduate work or a “B” for graduate work in accordance with the system of grading used by the institution when the “A–F” system is used.  Grades of C– (for undergraduate study) or B– (for graduate study) do not qualify for reimbursement.  If there is a choice between receiving a letter grade or a “Pass/Fail” evaluation, the employee must take the letter grade.

    1. Tier 1 reimbursement is 100% of reimbursable costs.

    2. Tier 2 reimbursement is two-thirds of reimbursable costs.

  3. Reimbursement is also allowed when an employee is forced to withdraw from a course because of work requirements, provided he/she submits evidence from the instructor that his/her work in the course was satisfactory at the time of forced withdrawal.

  4. When necessary, the Head of Human Resources or the Training Administrator may advance payment of the costs, provided the employee agrees to return the payment if the he/she iis unable to provide evidence of satisfactory completion.

  5. Employees who are eligible for the University of California Reduced-Fee Enrollment Benefit as described in Paragraph F(6) must take advantage of that benefit.

  6. Employees who terminate their employment voluntarily before the end of the quarter or semester are not eligible for reimbursement of fees, and must repay any advance provided under Paragraph F(4)(d), above.  An employee who is involuntarily laid off and was notified of the layoff after the beginning of the class will either be reimbursed for tuition/course fees paid in advance or are not obligated to repay any advance payment of the costs received. 

5. Time Off with Pay

Time off with pay may be granted when the employee's absence will not adversely affect progress of work, in accordance with the following provisions:

  1. The employee must remain in career status during the entire quarter or semester.

  2. The course or courses must be listed on the Tuition Reimbursement Request and approved before registration for each academic quarter or semester.

  3. Time off to attend and register for approved courses may be allowed only when such courses cannot reasonably be taken outside the employee's scheduled working hours.

  4. Time off with pay may not exceed six hours per week, including time for travel and registration. Time off with pay is not allowed for study, library, or faculty consultation time. Additional time required must be accounted for by an adjusted work schedule or by use of vacation credit.

  5. Time off to take Web-based courses is not allowed.

6. University of California Reduced-Fee Enrollment Benefit

  1. Any career employee who has passed probation and who is employed at least 50% time can apply to take courses at a two-thirds reduction of the full-time University of California Registration and Education fee on undergraduate- or graduate-level courses in a regular degree-granting program. The course load may not exceed nine units or three regular session University courses per term, whichever provides the greater benefit to the employee.

  2. The employee must satisfy the University of California residency requirements; otherwise, the employee is subject to the full nonresident fee. A waiver of the nonresident fee will not be given.

  3. The employee must apply for admission by contacting the appropriate UC Office of Admissions to obtain appropriate forms and information for entrance.

  4. Eligible employees attending the University of California must use the reduced fee benefit. Employees must inform the Training Administrator of their intent to attend the University before each quarter or semester.

  5. See the Human Resources Forms Web page for procedures for obtaining the fee reduction.

  6. The reduced fee is also available for non-job-related courses, but no other benefits of this policy apply, and time off with pay may not be granted to attend these classes.

7. Procedures and Forms

See HR Employee Development & Training for procedures and forms for Tiers 1 and 2 college degrees, certificate programs, and college-level courses.

8. Other Academic Programs and CEU Courses

Position-related academic programs and CEU courses not leading to an academic degree or a certificate are considered off-site training (see Paragraphs F(1)–(2)).


1. Definition

For the purposes of this section, government licenses and/or professional certifications are those licenses and certifications required by the employee to hold his or her current position as documented in the position description.

2. Continuing Education Courses

Continuing education unit (CEU) courses required for the maintenance of a professional license or certification as noted above are considered position-related courses. The course must be approved by the licensing or certifying agency. The request for course fee reimbursement is the same as for all other position-related training (see HR Employee Development & Training for forms and procedures).

3. License Fees

Fees for license or certification renewals as defined in Paragraph (G)(1) above are an allowable expenditure. The request is made in writing to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer and must include:


To promote the continuing professional growth and competence of senior administrative professional (job titles identified as "professional" in the Human Resources Information System) and scientific staff members, the Laboratory Director may grant professional research or teaching leave to a limited number of employees. Approval and recommendation from the division director must be obtained before submitting the request to the Laboratory Director. Approval for such leave will be based on evidence that the Laboratory will benefit from the proposed work and that the candidate will continue employment at Berkeley Lab or another DOE-funded employer for a reasonable period following the leave. The leave may be spent at appropriate institutions either within or outside the United States.

1. Qualifications

The candidate must have outstanding professional ability and propose a firm plan of study, teaching, or research that is clearly relevant to the interests of the Laboratory and within the individual's competence. The candidate must also have been continuously employed by the Laboratory for four years or more. University of California faculty members are eligible to participate in this program if their Laboratory appointment is at 50% or more time during the academic year.

2. Salary

Salary payments made by the Laboratory to an employee for professional research or teaching leave may not exceed the following schedule:

Years of service or years since last professional research or teaching leave

Up to 6 months

6–12 months

4 0.89 salary 0.44 salary
4-1/2 Regular salary 0.50 salary
5 Regular salary 0.56 salary
5-1/2 Regular salary 0.61 salary
6 Regular salary 0.67 salary
7 Regular salary 0.78 salary
8 Regular salary 0.89 salary
9 Regular salary Regular salary

In the case of a University faculty member with a less than 50% campus appointment, professional research or teaching leave payments may be approved to the extent necessary to offset sabbatical privileges for which the faculty member is ineligible.

3. Duration of Leave

The period of leave will not exceed 12 months.

4. Travel Expenses

Travel expenses will not be reimbursed by the Laboratory.

5. Vacation and Sick-Leave Credits

Vacation and sick-leave credits will not accrue to the employee during the leave.


The Laboratory Director may grant professional renewal leave to a limited number of Laboratory managers or scientific personnel who have made outstanding contributions in furtherance of Laboratory objectives. The purpose of professional renewal leave is to provide these individuals an opportunity to attach themselves to external organizations and/or programs for the purpose of professional revitalization and development. These temporary external assignments will be approved based on technical and programmatic relevance, to ensure mutual benefit to both the Laboratory and the employee. The following general provisions apply:

Printed . The official or current version is located in the online LBNL Requirements and Policies Manual.
Printed or electronically transmitted copies are not official. Users are responsible for working with the latest approved revision.

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