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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Employment Law
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Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Hi there I am thinking of moving to another town this means

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Hi there
I am thinking of moving to another town this means I would need to quit my job, the employers has paid for my courses and on my payslip there is 500 hoovering each month, I was told that this will be deducted if I leave. I remember signing some deceleration over year ago that I will stay for 2yrs after course finishes, I'm not sure if it was relating to the course I was doing at that time or if it was general deceleration. I also took already my holiday allowance for this year. I guess the question is if I decide to move is my workplace allowed to deduct for courses costs and taken holidays, if they do there will be almost nothing left from my wage. This is a huge worry as I'm single working mum with two girls to look after, also want to move closer to mu friends so they can support me as I struggle at the moment. What are my rights, ???

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.
Before proceeding please note that as I am a practising solicitor, I am often in and out of meetings, travelling between clients or even at court when I pick your question up. This may even occur at weekends. Therefore, 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. For now please let me know how long you have worked there.

Customer: Over 4 yrs
Customer: Hi Ben I'm Marta I have been there for over 4 yrs
Ben Jones :

Hello Marta, thank you 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.

Customer: The courses I'm taking is Acca , I'm part qualified now and the knowledge and skills I poses because of my training became much more what is necessary for my post. The study support was not something included in my wage package or contract this is something I negotiated as I am a good employee and was already studying it when joined this company. I just sign someting over a year ago.I feel at times that no room for progression at the workplace contradicts with study support as if they don't want to take the benefit of me being part qualified now or have no opportunities to offer me until I'm fully qualified, I just feel locked and unhappy at work and also because of my personal circumstances I want to move away and leave company. Another thing I feel is unreasonable asking one to stay for two years after course completion as the job is now inadequate to my qualification. If I was going to move on I was going to write a letter to my manager explaining that any substantial deduction would put me and my daughter in very difficult situation, also to ask her to consider that I'm not leaving to change employments but moving away, what do you think?
Ben Jones :

There is of course nothing stopping you from making such a request and in effect you have nothing to lose by doing so. the worst that could happen is that you end up having to pay these as you would have been required in the first place - anything else would be a welcome bonus

Customer: Ok I understand it is basically their call, many thanks Ben
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