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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 44365
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I have been with an employer for 9 years. In 2011 they

Customer Question

I have been with an employer for 9 years. In 2011 they agreed to pay for a 4 year professional course for me. It should have ended in 2015 but die to work pressures, I ended up being off soick for 3 months and had to postpone an exam, the course ended this year. I plan to resign this month, I did sign an agreement but not for the full study amount. It was for 10% of the amount. Do you think I would need to pay back the entire amount upon leaving? My contract doesnt state anything regarding repayment of training fees.
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Uk
JA: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?
Customer: Full time
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No thanks
Submitted: 7 days ago.
Category: UK Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 days ago.

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

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 days ago.

Was there a requirement to work an agreed period following completion of the course, as part of the employers funding?

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 days ago.

Or were there any conditions at all, attached to the employer's agreement to pay for the course?

Customer: replied 7 days ago.

There was a graded scale of repayment i.e 100% after 12 months, 75% after 24 etc.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 days ago.

OK, thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not responded to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 days ago.

Many thanks for your patience. 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 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 and so on.

If you had only signed to repay 10% of the costs then that is all they can pursue you for. Basically, they can only take this further in accordance with whatever agreement there was in place. So if the only document requiring you to pay anything back was the repayment agreement and that was only for 0% then they cannot pursue you for the full amount but this 10% at most.

I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars - this is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you still need me to clarify anything else, please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 5 days ago.

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. If this has answered your question please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars from the top of the page. I spend a lot of time and effort answering individual queries and I am not credited for my time until you leave your rating. If you still need further help please get back to me on here and I will assist as best as I can. Many thanks.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 days ago.
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