Employment law

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SilverShadow

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I have a question for all you budding Perry Masons & Rumpoles out there 😁

Is it legal that a company can deduct training course fees from your final salary, if you decide to leave the company within a certain time frame?

My company have a policy of recouping training course fees, if an employee decides to leave within 12 months of attending the course.

I'm guessing that while not illegal, it is very unethical. That said, I guess they must have some form of protecting themselves from an employee using them as a skilling-up stepping stone

Thanks in advance guys 😉
 

foxy

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I have a question for all you budding Perry Masons & Rumpoles out there 😁

Is it legal that a company can deduct training course fees from your final salary, if you decide to leave the company within a certain time frame?

My company have a policy of recouping training course fees, if an employee decides to leave within 12 months of attending the course.

I'm guessing that while not illegal, it is very unethical. That said, I guess they must have some form of protecting themselves from an employee using them as a skilling-up stepping stone

Thanks in advance guys 😉
Speaking only as a bar room barrister, and bearing in mind conditions of employment are slightly different in Australia. Logic would tell me that if I, as an employer, had paid for an employee to take a course and that employee left within a certain time frame then I would require to be reimbursed the money I had outlaid on the course. Seems only fair.
I have been taken to the Fair Work Commission tribunal for unfair dismissal of an employee, before attending I read up on some previous cases. Turns out that even if an employee was stealing, it could be argued that I am not allowed to terminate that employee. I went in without any confidence of winning and my feelings were justified. Even though the employee was on a trial basis I was not allowed to terminate the employee without substantial recompense. Just depends how things work in the UK usually we are pretty similar regarding laws, but the Fair Work was set up by a labor government with jobs for the boys. The boys being ex union officials.
 

Chippy_Tea

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Our company put you through your HGV test if you leave withing two years you have to pay the training fees back, you have to agree to this before doing the training
 

MickDundee

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When I did my accountancy training, it was pretty standard for training contracts to say that if you left before you finished your training contract (which was usually 6-9 months after your final exam) they could recoup some of your fees.

They rarely had anything about leaving as soon as your contract was finished because it was normal, for example, for them to take in 3 trainees and then only keep one of them on at the end of the training contract.

My training contract was one where I worked for the firm for a year and then started my training contract. During this “pre-training” year, the firm was taken over by a U.K. top 10 firm. Their training contracts all had a standard start date of something like 10th September, but mine had already been registered with ICAS pre merger and started in the July instead.

When I then handed in my notice to leave the day after my contract was due to end, all Hell broke loose with the managing partner. I was told by him that my formal training contract must be wrong and if I left before September I had to repay fees. HR told him he didn’t have a leg to stand on and I left in July. I’m not sure if I ended up the loser here because the job I went to was the worst place I’ve ever worked and knocked my mojo for quite a while, and even 10 years after leaving job from Hell I still get a bit of paranoia about people thinking I’m crap and a bit of imposter syndrome about now being in a management position.
 
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obscure

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I have a question for all you budding Perry Masons & Rumpoles out there 😁

Is it legal that a company can deduct training course fees from your final salary, if you decide to leave the company within a certain time frame?

My company have a policy of recouping training course fees, if an employee decides to leave within 12 months of attending the course.

I'm guessing that while not illegal, it is very unethical. That said, I guess they must have some form of protecting themselves from an employee using them as a skilling-up stepping stone

Thanks in advance guys 😉
In certain circumstances yes, but they have to be up front about it, and you have to be aware before you go on the course, generally most cases I have heard of it is as part of a specific training contract, I.e, you get a job for an accountancy firm who agrees to fund your training. It also is meant to be only for external training fees, I.e. when I was taking my accountancy exams they could potentially recover the examination fees, and fees paid to an external training company, but they couldn’t recover for the cost of days given as study leave for example. Also I’m not sure of the legality, but certainly from an ethical standpoint it should only be for transferable skills, I.e. my ACCA membership is still perfectly valid and useful if I move company, by contrast when the company provided training on their new ERP system this is company specific and not really transferable (so no way in Hell it would be ethical to try to recover the costs of it).
 
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Flat Foot

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Agreed with several of the posts above. If it's written into a contract (or an agreement you signed before undertaking the course) they can do so.

They obviously want to protect their investment, the good news is at least they're training staff. Can never stand the attitude of "what's the point of training people, you give them more skills and then they just leave". The answer should always be "what happens if you don't train them and they stay?"
 

Flat Foot

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Indeed, also heard plenty of times "they just want more money". But hiring, training, losing expertise etc is all expensive.

And of course, as you're hinting, there's also always plenty of other reasons. One place I left after many years, I mentioned a certain individual in my leaving interview.

"I'm going to be honest and say something off the record" I was told, "pretty much everyone who is leaving mentions that person".

Last time I checked in on the place said person had been promoted. Pay your money take your choice.
 

Horners

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As others have said, common in the accountancy profession. Occasionally where I have hired people who have passed their exams but are still in training contracts we have had to buy them out i.e. reimburse them for the clawback their employer will exercise on them leaving. Similarly if someone says want to do their CIOT we can get them to enter a contracual arrangement providing for clawback if they leave within a certain timeframe. If it is not in the employment contract/ side agreement then I cant imagine its legal.
 

SilverShadow

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Thanks for all the replies guys 😁

I completely understand their stance on this, and will check the contract. My original one didn't have it, but we've since had updates where it may have slipped in.

I just wasn't sure if there was a 'reasonable period' of time elapsed that was standard practice. As it was 6 months ago & by an external provider, then I'd best brace myself for impact 😜
 

the baron

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If you think of it this way is not just the training courses but generally in some ongoing training at branch by management etc but then that depends on the industry as well
 

Redwulf

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I've come across this in both Logistics and I.T. roles its normal and should be made clear as a contractual amendment prior to you taking the training and its up to you if you are happy with it.

I've also come across recruiters who will factor any training covenants into the package so you don't foot the bill for getting headhunted.
 

the baron

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Talking of hidden contractual issues, I was once offered a G managers job at a car dealership which was main dealer franchised. I passed all the interviews and was offered the job so I put my notice in after accepting the job. Now here comes the spin you are employed by the owner of the garage but as a main dealer franchise they have a lot of say in how it operates and then proceeded to spring on me that I had to pass a psychometric test analysis before they would allow me to work there. It did not matter as I passed the test but imagine if I had failed it- the owner had given me the job but afterwards the main dealer stepped in with conditions not exactly like the OP but employment law gone mad
 

Donegal john

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Fair but quite difficult to prove in a court of law on the employers part.
Even harder for the employee to prove it the other way if the employer argues differently. Would cost more to contest it than pay it. And employers know that. It’s nearly always standard across all industries regardless if it’s in a contract or not. Common and practice kicks in
 
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RichardM

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Talking of hidden contractual issues, I was once offered a G managers job at a car dealership which was main dealer franchised. I passed all the interviews and was offered the job so I put my notice in after accepting the job. Now here comes the spin you are employed by the owner of the garage but as a main dealer franchise they have a lot of say in how it operates and then proceeded to spring on me that I had to pass a psychometric test analysis before they would allow me to work there. It did not matter as I passed the test but imagine if I had failed it- the owner had given me the job but afterwards the main dealer stepped in with conditions not exactly like the OP but employment law gone mad
What's that got to do with employment law?
 

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