Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the Service Contract Education and Training Trust Fund (“SCETT Fund”)?

The Service Contract Education and Training Trust Fund (“SCETT Fund”) is a non-profit, joint labor-management, multiemployer education and training trust fund sponsored by the Laborers’ International Union of North America (“LIUNA”) and employers in the service contract industry who are signatory to a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) with LIUNA or a LIUNA affiliated Local Union.  Since its creation in 1978, the SCETT Fund’s primary purpose has been to foster the education and career training of employees in the service contract industry.

The SCETT Fund is governed by a Board of Trustees on which labor and management are equally represented, and is administered by a staff led by the Executive Director and Administrator.  Funding for the SCETT Fund comes from employer contributions required by the CBAs and investment income.

The SCETT Fund is regulated under various federal laws including the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) and the Labor Management Relations (“Taft-Hartley”) Act.  It is a bona fide fringe benefit under the Service Contract Act and implementing regulations.

 

How does the SCETT Fund benefit service contract employees?

Service contract employees are the primary reason for the SCETT Fund’s existence.  The sponsors and Trustees of the SCETT Fund saw that many employees in the industry lacked opportunities for higher education.  They also saw a widespread lack of serious job and career training in the industry that left employees vulnerable to injury and illness, deprived them of employment opportunities, and lowered their morale.  Not a lot of attention was being given to the job hazards involved in the operation and maintenance of equipment, the handling of chemicals and cleansing agents, the sterilization of medical equipment and hospital rooms, the handling of food products, the identification of hazardous materials, job-specific safety and health rules, etc.

The SCETT Fund works to increase the employability, productivity, skills and knowledge of employees and to protect their safety and health on the job.

As required work in the service contract industry becomes more sophisticated and demanding, and a higher level of knowledge and skill becomes necessary, quality education and training will be even more important.

Recently, the Board of Trustees expanded the educational and career training  benefits offered to employees. Employees may now receive benefits for all or a portion of expenses relating to different types of educational expenses– e.g., English as a Second Language (“ESL”) courses, literacy courses, General Equivalency Diploma (“GED”) courses, career continuing education programs, college and university courses. These training and educational benefits will help employees to retain and gain employment, help to make employees more efficient and safe workers, and provide incentives for employees to rise up the career ladder.

The Board is working with employment training experts to develop even better, updated training programs and methods.

 

Do employees have to pay for the training and education benefits provided by the SCETT Fund?

No. Under the Union’s CBAs with service contract employers, the employers agree to make contributions to the SCETT Fund based on employee hours.  These contributions, plus investment income, provide the money needed to operate the SCETT Fund and provide educational and training benefits.

 

What are the educational benefits that are offered by the SCETT Fund?

The SCETT Fund offers employees two types of educational benefits — one is a continuing education benefit and the other is a college education benefit.

The continuing education benefit provides up to $1,500.00 annually to eligible employees to cover tuition, fees, and books for students enrolled in career development courses that are either pre-approved by the SCETT Fund or that the SCETT Fund will approve.  Pre-approved courses include:

a.  International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA) Self-Study: Certified Executive Housekeeper Course, Registered Executive Housekeeper Course, and Frontline Program

b.  Building Service Contractors Association International (BSCAI) Self-Study: Registered Building Service Manager Course,  Certified Building Service Manager Course

c.  ServSafe Starters Employee Food Safety Training

d.  ServSafe Food Protection Manager Course (Online or Self-Study)

The SCETT Fund will also approve a particular course of study for an eligible employee if the SCETT Fund, in its sole and absolute discretion, determines that the course and the course provider are legitimate and otherwise appropriate for career development, including English as a Second Language (“ESL”) courses, General Equivalency Diploma (“GED”) courses, trade schools, certification programs or other continuing education programs.

The college education benefit provides up to $1,000.00 per semester up to two semesters annually to eligible employees to cover tuition, fees, and books for students in accredited post-secondary institutions such as community colleges, junior colleges, four-year colleges and universities.

More information about the educational benefits and the terms and conditions of those benefits can be found in the SCETT Fund’s Educational Benefits booklet (available on the Members page of this website).

 

Who is eligible to receive SCETT Fund educational benefits?

There are different eligibility rules for the continuing education benefits and the college education benefits.

To be eligible for continuing education benefits, an employee must have had contributions made by the employer on his/her behalf to the SCETT Fund for at least 1,500 hours immediately preceding the employee’s application for benefits.

To be eligible for college education benefits, an employee must have had contributions made by the employer on his/her behalf to the SCETT Fund for at least 1,800 hours immediately preceding the employee’s application for benefits.

In order to be eligible for SCETT Fund’s educational benefits, it is necessary that an application for those benefits be submitted to the SCETT Fund’s administrator.

More information about the eligibility rules can be found in the SCETT Fund’s Educational Benefits booklet (available on the Members page of this website).

 

How do I file an application for educational benefits?

An application for educational benefits may be obtained by calling the SCETT Fund’s Administrator at the following toll-free number:

 1-877-724-5060

Upon receipt of your completed application, the Administrator will determine whether you are eligible for education benefits. If your application is approved, the SCETT Fund pays the actual and reasonable expenses for tuition, fees, and books up to the maximum amount by submitting to the Administrator adequate proof of admission and enrollment in a qualified institution, and the amount of tuition, fees and/or books. Once the Administrator has reviewed the proof you have provided and has determined that it is adequate and the expenses are reasonable, normally you will receive a check from the SCETT Fund within sixty days.

If an application is denied, there is an appeals procedure that is described in the SCETT Fund’s Educational Benefits booklet (available on the Members page of this website).

Benefits are payable only to or for an eligible employee and only after approval of his or her completed application by the SCETT Fund. No benefit may be assigned, transferred, garnished, attached, pledged, alienated, or otherwise impaired by the employee or any third party. Notwithstanding this restriction, the SCETT Fund reserves the right and absolute discretion to decide on the timing of benefit payments and to make payments on behalf of an eligible employee directly to the organization sponsoring the course or an educational institution in which the employee enrolled. The SCETT Fund may, in its discretion, pay benefits on behalf of an eligible employee in advance of his or her enrollment in a course or educational institution or may defer benefit payments until after the eligible employee has enrolled or has completed the course or semester.

 

How does the SCETT Fund benefit service contractors?

A better trained and educated workforce is more productive, efficient, skillful, and knowledgeable as well as  safer, healthier, and happier.  Service contractors gain a competitive advantage when their employees take advantage of the educational and training benefits offered by the SCETT Fund.

As required work in the service contract industry becomes more sophisticated and demanding, and a higher level of knowledge and skill becomes necessary, quality education and training will be even more important.

The SCETT Fund works in cooperation with signatory service contractors to provide high quality job training with high quality training materials.  The Board is working with employment training experts to develop even better, updated training programs and methods, including “training the trainer” programs and specialized training assistance.  Through the SCETT Fund’s recent affiliation with the joint labor-management LIUNA Education and Training Fund–a nationally recognized leader in job training–the SCETT Fund has access to training program development experts, including university faculty, and a national network of worker training centers.

 

How does the SCETT Fund benefit the government agencies contracting with service contractors?

As the ultimate consumers of the labor of the service contract employees, the contracting agencies benefit from a workforce that is more productive, efficient, skillful, and knowledgeable as well as safer, healthier, and happier.

The Federal Government has promoted a national policy in favor of job and career training to raise workforce skills and productivity to meet the challenges of the 21st Century workplace.  The SCETT Fund is helping to implement that policy.