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UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: UK Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 4312
Experience:  solicitor
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I am about to hand in my notice on Monday. My employer has

Customer Question

I am about to hand in my notice on Monday. My employer has paid for me to do a training course which started in January and is due to end in July. It is likely that they will deduct the cost of the course from my final salary. Firstly, there is wording in my statement of particulars that, 'The Company reserves the right in its absolute discretion to deduct from your pay any sums which you may owe the Company including, without limitation, any course fees, overpayments or loans made to you by the Company, or losses suffered by the Company as a result of your negligence or breach of Company rules.' However I have not signed any document that relate directly to this particular training course, and I have been using the skills learnt on the course as I have been learning them. They are not very organised and may/may not ask me before making the deduction from my final salary. Where do I stand?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: UK Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 years ago.

Ben Jones : Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. For now, please let me know the cost of the course ?
JACUSTOMER-zcejm6jg- : £500
JACUSTOMER-zcejm6jg- : Sorry, I'm a bit worried and have lost my manners temporarily. Hello Ben, and thank you for assisting me today.
Ben Jones : Thank you. I am just traveling at the moment and cannot view your entire response. If you can give me until about mid morning I will be able to concentrate fully. I apologise in advance but there may be a delay in getting back to you and providing my advice. Please be patient and I will respond as soon as I can. You do not have to wait here and you will receive an email when I have responded.
JACUSTOMER-zcejm6jg- : OK.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 years ago.
Thanks for your patience. Employers often 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 becoming an increasingly common practice to attempt to recover these costs from employees. The usual method is to include a repayment provision in the contract of employment whereby the training costs are deemed to constitute a loan to the employee, which becomes repayable if the employee leaves employment within a certain period after the training ends.

Employers must be cautious to ensure that the amount of costs which the agreement permits the employer to recover is a genuine pre-estimate of the damages which the employer has suffered as a result of the employee leaving prematurely. In the event that it is not, the provision for recovery of costs could be considered a penalty clause against the employee, which would be 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 amount which is to be repaid reduces according to the length of time the employee remains with the employer after the training has been completed. It is not uncommon to have a requirement for 100% of the fees to be repaid if the employee leaves within 6-12 months after the training has finished.

If the employer wants to deduct these fees from the employee’s pay, certain strict rules must be met. A provision allowing the employer to deduct monies from the employee’s salary must satisfy the following requirements:
• The employee must have agreed in writing to these deductions;
• There must be a clear statement that the deduction is to be made from the employee’s wages.

If no specific provision exists allowing the employer to deduct the training costs from the employee’s wages, any deductions would amount to unlawful deduction of wages and can be challenged in an employment tribunal within 3 months of the actual deduction taking place, or in the county court thereafter.

If the employer is not deduction the training costs from the employee's wages, they could instead try and sue them in the county court, although whether the courts agree with their claim will depend on the employer satisfying them that the repayment clause was reasonable in the circumstances.

I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating. Your question will not close and I can continue providing further advice if necessary. Thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 4 years ago.
I see from your rating that you were not entirely satisfied with the service I have provided you with. Please remember that you are rating the personal service you received, not the contents or quality of my answer. As lawyers we often have to quote the law as it is and that may not necessarily be the answer you wanted to hear - unfortunately there is little we can do about this. My main priority is to ensure that you leave our site satisfied. Therefore, please get back to me with any further questions you may have or let me know if I can clarify anything further for you and improve your rating. Thank you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
What I need to know is can they take the £500 out of my final salary even though I have not signed anything specific to that training. Do they have to ask me in writing before they take the money out? Or can they do what they like?

Does the wording of my statement of particulars mean I have agreed to the deductions in writing? Does the statement of particulars wording mean that I have been informed in writing of the deduction or.... should there have been a document specific to the training? And... do they need to inform me in writing about this deduction?

This organisation have a habit of doing what they want and relying on the apathy or lack of confidence of the employee. There is no point talking about tribunals when a huge deposit is now required before an employee can take anything to an employment tribunal. This is the first training I have received in 3 years. I have never had an appraisal, promotion or pay rise. I leave the organisation effectively less skilled than I walked in.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
Expert:  UKSolicitorJA replied 4 years ago.

I have read your question and it would appear that your employer may deduct the cost of the course from your salary i..e you have already agreed that they may do so, they do not need to seek your approval again.

Sorry if this is not what you wish to hear, but I can only advise on the law.

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