If you decide to leave your employer, can they charge you for your training? Read on to find out more.
Your employer can sometimes require you to repay the cost of training or a training course you received during your employment. Essentially, your employer may use one, or a combination of both, of the methods below to try and recover the costs of training from you. Your employer could:-
- Try deducting the training costs from your (final) wages; and/or
- Present you with an invoice for the training.
Depending on the terms of your employment and the arrangements agreed when you started your training, you may be able to challenge your employer and stop them taking the action above.
Can My Employer Deduct Training Costs From My Wages?
An employer can only lawfully deduct the training costs from your wages if:
- There is a clause in your contract of employment allowing your employer to make a deduction for repayment of training costs; or
- You have previously consented (in writing) to this deduction.
If either of the above conditions are not met, your employer is not entitled to deduct money from your wages. Even if you have a relevant clause in your contract of employment, it should contain the following information which you should have received prior to beginning your training:
- What are the costs and exactly how have they been calculated?
- How much is to be repaid?
- What is the timescale for repayment?
- Is there a sliding scale dependant on how soon after commencing the course you leave?
- How are you expected to re-pay the sums?
- Are you required to repay course costs if the course is conducted internally by your employer?
If the clause does not include the above information, any attempt by your employer to deduct money from your wages may be unlawful.
Also, even with the above clauses, your employer should notify you in advance of what amounts they intend to deduct from your salary and how they have been calculated. Failure to do so may also make any attempt to deduct money from your wages unlawful.
My Employer Is Trying To Unlawfully Deduct Money From My Wages – What Should I Do?
If your employer intends to deduct money from your wages for your training course, and you think it is unlawful, it is important that you object to the deduction. We recommend you object in writing and in the form of a Formal Grievance. For more information about grievances, please see https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/need-to-send-a-grievance-or-complaint-to-your-employer/.
If your employer still insists on making the deduction, you may have a claim in the Employment Tribunal for Unlawful Deduction of Wages. Please see below.
Unlawful Deduction From Wages
As the name suggests, a claim for unlawful deduction from wages is a claim to the Employment Tribunal to recover any pay or salary which your employer has withheld and which you consider should have been paid to you.
You must start the Employment Tribunal claim process for Unlawful Deduction of Wages within three months (less one day) of the date the deduction was made from your wages. The Employment Tribunal process starts with submitting your claim via ACAS Early Conciliation. More information about ACAS Early Conciliation can be found here – https://lincslaw.co.uk/blog/acas-early-conciliation-what-is-it-all-about/.
If I Receive An Invoice From My Employer, Do I Have To Pay It?
Again, it is important to check your contract of employment. Generally, you will be required to pay for your training costs if there is a clause in your contract of employment requiring you to do so or you have signed a specific document with your employer regarding your training. As above, the clause needs to be sufficiently detailed, and you must have agreed prior to starting your training.
However, even if there is a repayment clause in your contract, it may be unenforceable. A court or Employment Tribunal are unlikely to enforce a clause if, for example, the clause:
- Acts as a penalty clause (i.e., it is disproportionate and is drafted in a way that punishes you for leaving the organisation); and/or
- Acts as a restraint of trade (i.e., the repayment clause is used to discourage you from leaving the organisation).
If you are issued with an invoice and do not pay, your employer may start court proceedings. This will usually take the form of a debt action. If you do not agree you owe the costs, you will need to defend the proceedings and explain why you disagree the monies are owed.
Lincs Law Employment Solicitors Can Help You
If your employer is trying to make you pay for your training fees, we would be delighted to help you. Please ring for a free, no obligation, discussion about your matter on 01522 440512. For more information about Lincs Law Solicitors including what we do and how we do it, please visit our website at www.lincslaw.co.uk.
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