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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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I am in a contract that covers Technical college and repayment agreement. The company I w

Resolved Question:

I am in a contract that covers Technical college and repayment agreement.
The company I work training to do the job and they have tied me in to work years.
The amount if I leave in the 1st year of employment is 15K.
The 2 year is reduced to 7.5 K.
Is this legal
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones : , my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. What is your concern about this why do you think it may not be legal?
Customer:

The training that I have been given is to do the job the company needs to provide this as part of my job?

Customer:

My concern is the work involved is away from home if within the next two years my circumstances change , my spouse is in poor health would I need to pay the money back.

Ben Jones :

Apologies slight delay, I experienced some temporary connection issues earlier on. All seems to be resolved now so I can continue with my advice.

I understand that the training is job you need to do but that is what usually happens – an employer would not provide and pay which is not relevant to your job so when such clauses exist it would generally be linked to the actual job you do.

As far as the law stands, employers can spend a considerable amount of money on training their employees, only to see them leave shortly afterwards. In order to ensure that the employer can provide an employee with training and that the employee does not take advantage of the situation by leaving soon afterwards, it is common practice to have a repayment provision in the contract of employment. Under it the training costs are deemed to constitute a loan to the employee, which becomes repayable if they leave their employment within a certain period after the training completes.

Whilst it is legal to have such clauses, employers must be cautious to ensure that the amount of costs they are trying to recover is a genuine pre-estimate of the damages which they have suffered as a result of the employee leaving early. In the event that it is not, such clauses could be considered a penalty against the employee, which would make it legally unenforceable. Therefore, if the employer has derived some benefit from the employee undertaking the training course during the fixed repayment period (e.g. where an employer has been able to charge customers more employee’s services by virtue of that training or qualification) then the amounts which may be recovered from the employee should be reduced to reflect that benefit.

The contract should also contain a sliding scale of repayment whereby the repayment amount reduces according to the length of time the employee remains with the employer after the training has been completed. , 100% of the fees to be repaid if the employee leaves within 0-12 months after the training has finished, 50% if they leave 12-24 months after, 25% if they leave 24 - 36 months after.

There are a couple of ways employer to try and recover these fees - by deducting them direct from the employee's wages or, if the employee has already left and paid up fully - by taking them to court.

Any deductions from the employee's wages can only lawfully take place if there was a clear written agreement by the employee allowing the employer to do this, such as a contractual clause or a separate agreement which they signed. In the absence of such an agreement the deduction will be unlawful and can be recovered.

If the matter goes to court, it would be employer to show that the repayment clause was reasonably drafted and that the costs they are trying to recover are reasonable in the circumstances.

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you

Customer:

Yes thanks information it is helpful and good to know

Customer:

Ben

Customer:

Rating information is Excellent Service thanks

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