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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: UK Employment Law
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I have recently tendered my resignation and my employer is

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I have recently tendered my resignation and my employer is looking to reclaim training cost incurred during my employment. MY argument is that although I undertook 1/4 of the training I did not sign the training agreement they refer to. further more there is nothing about recovery of training costs in my contract or any e-mails from me alluding to me agreeing to the agreement they point to in order to enforce this. Where do i stand, do they have any rights to claim the monies owed from my final salary.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

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.


It is important for employers 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.


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.


Thanks Ben,


so basically, the fact I didn't sign any agreement and there is nothing in my base contract restricts them from taking the monies from my final salary. What about the argument that says I have knowingly started the training in the knowledge that my company wants me to sign the agreement.

Ben Jones :

to deduct money from your salary would require your agreement in writing. The other argument they have raised can imply that you had agreed to the terms of the agreement for training and it could enable them to make a separate claim to pursue the money that way, but that will not allow them to deduct it from your salary


Thanks Ben, that great - appreciate your help

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