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.
  • Go back-and-forth until satisfied
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Ben Jones Your Own Question
Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 77875
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
29905560
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
Ben Jones is online now

I entered an agreement with my employer to repay 3 courses

Customer Question

Hi, I entered an agreement with my employer to repay 3 courses if I leave within 4 years with 50% payable after 2 years. These as courses which I am required to have in order to do my job but only completed the courses 2 years after I started doing the job but the contract became in affect when I had completed the courses. And before I had completed the courses I was on a lower wage due to not having completed them but once completed got £1k pay rise for each course my question is how could I pay back less as I believe it is unfair that they got 2 years cheaper labour out of my because I hadn’t completed the courses and should I have to pay back the tax if they have alsready claimed it back as a business exspance
JA: Have you discussed this with a manager or HR? Or with a lawyer?
Customer: I believe if I speak to my manager or HR regarding the issue it my cause problems for myself if I do not wish to leave yet and no not with a lawyer as of yet
JA: What is your employment status? Are you an employee, freelancer, consultant or contractor? Do you belong to a union?
Customer: Employee
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: No I don’t belong to a union yet
Submitted: 17 days ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 17 days ago.
Hello, I’m Ben, an employment solicitor, and it’s my pleasure to assist you. I may ask for some information first to determine the legal position.
Customer: replied 17 days ago.
that’s fine what sort of information would you need?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 17 days ago.

I understand your query relates to course fees you are contractually required to pay back. Please upload a copy of your contract on here so that I may take a look

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
Unfortunately I do not have a copy of the agreement with me
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 17 days ago.

OK no problem. Are you able to upload it on here later?

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
would be tomorrow
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 17 days ago.

OK that's fine. In the meantime, please also tell me how long exactly you have worked there for

Customer: replied 17 days ago.
I have worked there now for 3/12 years
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 17 days ago.

OK great. Leave it with me for now. If you could please get back to me with the contract that will be useful. I will receive a notification when you upload it on here. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 17 days ago.

Many thanks for your patience, it is appreciated. I am now pleased to be able to provide further assistance with your query. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the issues brought up by this. It must be a frustrating situation to be going through.

It is entirely normal to start the repayment timeline from when the training is complete so to use an argument that you were on cheaper wages before finishing is unlikely to get you very far.

As to the general legal position, Employers often spend money on providing training for their workers, only for them to leave before the employer has derived sufficient benefits from that investment. The workers then go and use the knowledge and skills from such training in another job, at their original employer’s expense. To protect their interests, employers can introduce a repayment provision in their contract of employment. Under such a clause the training costs are considered a loan to the employee, which becomes repayable if they leave their employment within a certain period of time after the training completes.

Whilst it is legal to have such clauses in place, 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 clause, which would make them legally unenforceable.

Ideally, 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. This is not a legal requirement but can make the clause more reasonable and easier to enforce.

When it comes to tax, if you know for certain that the employer has managed to recover some of the total costs of the course, they should not charge you for these as they will then be making a profit for something they had already recovered.

There are a couple of ways for the employer to try and recover these fees - by deducting them directly from the employee's wages or, if the employee has already left and been 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 written agreement. In the absence of such an agreement the deduction will likely be unlawful and can be recovered.

If the matter goes to court, it would be for the employer to show that the repayment clause was fair and that the costs they are trying to recover are reasonable in the circumstances and not extravagant. It is important to remember that the employer has the legal right to make a claim if they feel they have a case to pursue but that only a court can make a decision on the final outcome by examining the finer details of the situation.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 17 days ago.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 16 days ago.

I trust that everything has now been dealt with to your satisfaction and your original question has been resolved. If you have any further queries about it, please do not hesitate to get back to me on here. In the meantime, I wish you all the best.