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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46794
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I am paying tuition fees for an employee to improve her qualifications

Resolved Question:

I am paying tuition fees for an employee to improve her qualifications which will benefit the business. by doing this i would like to change her contract to say that she must work for a minimum 5 years before she can terminate her contract or then has to repay the amount in full. The cost of the tuition is quite a high investment and I would like to protect my investment best as possible. If the employee was too terminate their contract within 5 years could i enforce the contracted terms to seek reimbursement of funds? Would the contract be binding legally?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

How much are the fees?

Customer:

Hi Benabout £15,000

Customer:

she is currently an orthodontic nurse and her qualifications would be train as an orthodontic therapist

Ben Jones :

ok let me get my response ready please

Ben Jones :

It is highly unlikely that you would be able to justify tying her in for 5 years and demanding full repayment of the fees within that period but I will explain the law in relation to this below.


 


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 for an 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. For example, 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.


 


So be realistic and consider the benefit you would obtain from the training you sponsor, allowing for a gradual reduction of the total amount owed over time.

Customer:

thank you for the response, a sliding scale over a shorter period would seem more fair. As far as the employee is concerned,if they were to leave within the repayment period would there be a chance they could terminate the contract and pay nothing if it were to go to court?

Ben Jones :

the risk would always exist, you my wish to consider drafting a clear clause that allows you o deduct any money owed at the time of leaving from their wages so then you can at least go and take it without having to sue them, but it has to b clear and they need to be aware of it and sign it

Customer:

ok thanks, makes sense

Ben Jones :

You are most welcome. Please take a second to leave a positive rating for the advice I have provided as that is an important part of our process. Thank you and feel free to bookmark my profile for future help:



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Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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