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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 77858
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I have a question around my training agreement. It states

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Good morning. I have a question around my training agreement. It states payment must be made in full before my termination date. However this is unrealistic. What action should I take?
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: Lancashire, England
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have given my notice and discussions have been held between the managers and directors without my involevement.
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.
Hello, I’m Ben, a solicitor, and it’s my pleasure to assist you. I may ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

I understand your training agreements has a clause in it that requires you to pay back the training fees in full prior to terminating your employment. Please tell me why this is unrealistic?

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I can upload the document if this helps
Customer: replied 13 days ago.
I do not have the £8k to pay it back.

Thank you, ***** ***** all aspects of the training and assessment been completed?

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Would the business not have offset the training against the tax owed
Customer: replied 13 days ago.

OK I understand and thank you for providing this information. Please do not worry and leave it with me for now. I will get back to you with my full reply on here; usually the same day. The system will notify you when this happens. Many thanks.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Thank you.

No problem at all. I will get back to you at the earliest opportunity. Many thanks

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.

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. Just as an example, it could be something along the lines of: 100% of the fees to be repaid if the employee leaves within 0-12 months after the training has finished, 50% if they leave 12-18 months after, 25% if they leave 18 - 24 months after. This is not a legal requirement but can make the clause more reasonable and easier to enforce.

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 (assuming they do not pay the balance voluntarily).

If you cannot pay the balance in full and they threaten court action, remind them that the claim will take months to complete and in any event, it does not guarantee immediate and full payment as if you cannot afford to do that you can still ask the court to order a repayment plan. That is why it is best to negotiate such repayments between you and the employer.

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.

Customer: replied 12 days ago.
Than you Ben. Yes that response is just what I needed.

You are most welcome. If you have any further questions about this, please do not hesitate to get back to me and I will be happy to help. All the best.

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