How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ben Jones Your Own Question
Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 48536
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
29905560
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
Ben Jones is online now

I have been working for a company since 2009 and have

Customer Question

i have been working for a company since 2009 and have recently decided on a change in career, I am due to leave next week and have been sent a letter stating that the company intends to deduct money from my final salary to cover training attended over the last 2 yrs.
I questioned this and they sate they can do this since it’s in the recent edition of the employee handbook. They also state it’s been policy since 1996Having look at my contract singed in 2009 and the employee handbook from then i can find no reference of this policy, and I have never heard of it until now. It is in the handbook dated 2016 and I believe it’s a recent policy as the company has seen an increase in the number of new starters who join for a year and leave. However, I am hardly a new starter.Training has always been something I have been sent on and never asked to attend its always been stated to me that I am “on training” and the company has never given me the choice if it’s something I want or not, in fact al lot of training was completed at weekends and without pay.Regardless of this I wonder how do I stand for refusing to allow this deduction of salary is my contract and the then handbook make no reference to this policy. Would I be correct in thinking that in order to enforce this they would have to amend my contract and get my agreement to this?I can confirm that I have never agreed to pay for training attended should I leave, also the hand book states on page one that its non-contractual so I assume that this means the policies within it not to replace the terms already in my contract.Any help would be gratefully received
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 months ago.

Were you made aware of this handbook change at any point?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
No the new handbook was dated Jan 2016 and was emailed out in April of 2016, there was no accompanying information it was just sent via email to everyone
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
There were no indications that any changes were made that would result in having to pay for training we were forced to attend
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 months ago.

Thank you. I would say the employer is on shaky grounds if they try and deduct the money from your pay. Whilst training costs can be recoverable, this must be done fairly and reasonably. First of all for deductions to be made then under law, an employer can only make deductions from, or withhold an employee’s wages in the following circumstances:

· If it is legally allowed (e.g. to deduct tax)

· If it is to recover an earlier overpayment of wages made by the employer

· If the contract specifically allows for the deductions to be made

· If the employee has given their explicit written consent

If this is just something contained in a non-contractual handbook and you were not informed about the changes or even worse - it was introduced after the training was given, then it is very unlikely that the employer can make such deductions from your pay. If they do, they are most likely going to be unlawful and you can challenge them over it, or even consider a claim for recovering them.

Please take a quick second to leave a positive rating for the service so far by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above. I can continue answering follow up questions and in particular can also discuss the ways you can take this further if they go ahead with the deductions. There is no extra cost for this - leaving your rating now will not close the question and means we can still continue this discussion. Thank you

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thank you for your response , I very much appreciate it. I have challenged the decision and I currently await a reply, one thing that has occurred to me is that they haven’t even told me what training they want to charge me for and they haven’t given me so much as a breakdown of how they come to the amount they want to claim back. Would I be entitled to request this? I would think they should be willing to provide at the very least a breakdown of the cost and how they work out the amount they claim is owed. I would have no objection if it were training I had asked to attend but it isn’t. I have never asked for any additional training. I’m also not sure why they state 2 yrs , I get the feeling it’s because they are trying to force people into a situation where they can’t afford to move on to a different employer. They already insisted I give 12 weeks notice which again was never agreed in writing , I did however agree as the timescale suited my needs and the needs f my new employer . I guess loyalty and flexibility is not rewarded in my case.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 months ago.

Yes you can certainly ask for details of the training they want to charge you for together with a breakdown of costs. You should not just rely on their word for this so do push them for this additional information

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thanks I will push for this today, where do I stand if they just go ahead and Thame the money regardless? Do I have options to recover it ?. Thanks in advance
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 months ago.

If they do so then yes, you can take steps to try and recover it. This would be done via the employment tribunal where you will be issuing a claim for unlawful deduction of wages.

As mentioned earlier, if you could please take a quick second to leave a positive rating for the service so far by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above. I can continue answering follow up questions and in particular can also discuss the ways you can take this further if they go ahead with the deductions. There is no extra cost for this - leaving your rating now will not close the question and means we can still continue this discussion. Thank you

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
Thanks for some reason it won’t let me rate your reply without closing the question. I understand that taking the matter to tribunal would in itself be a costly process would I be able to use the small claims court to try and claim back the deduction? . The amount they are claiming I owe is just under £200 which I know isn’t a lot but if their not entitled to claim it from me then I don’t see why I should let them have £2 let alone £200
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 months ago.

The question will not close, don't worry, you can ignore that message as we can still continue our conversation on here, thanks

Ben Jones and other Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 months ago.

Thanks. You could indeed try to use the small claims court instead as you would be claiming breach of contract anyway.

If a party wishes to pursue another for a debt arising out of a dispute between them, they can do so by making a claim in the civil courts. As legal action should ideally be used as a last resort, there are certain steps that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve lawyers or the courts. These can be summarised below and it is recommended the following procedure is followed to try and progress this matter further:

1. Reminder letter – if no informal reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the other party to voluntarily settle this matter.

2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but have been ignored, the other party must be sent a formal ‘letter before action’ asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time, usually 7 to 14 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to pursue them for the debt in question. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action.

3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. Once the claim form is completed a copy will be sent to the other side and they will have a limited time to defend it. Once they are aware that legal proceedings have commenced it may also force them to reconsider their position and perhaps prompt them to contact you to try and resolve this.

As a final tip, it is always advisable to keep copies of any correspondence sent and received as the courts would like to refer to it if it ever gets that far.

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
That’s very useful to know thank you so much , I hope to get some sort of reply from them tomorrow, would you mind me making further contact with you once I have their reply ?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 months ago.

No worries, but please post a new question if you want to correspond further, many thanks