Training fees and docking wages

Discussion in 'Legal' started by clefairy_5, Aug 25, 2009.

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  1. clefairy_5

    clefairy_5 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    5 1
    Hi, I could really do with some advice.

    I am due to finish my current job this Friday coming. At the start of my employment I started a course, which my employer paid for. I was pressured into signing a contract to say that if I left within a certain amount of time, I would have to pay back the course fees. The wording in my contract says:

    "The company will reimburse (title of course) fees of £1500.00. These must be repaid if the employee should:

    1. Leave the employment of the company prior to achieving the qualification, or for a period of 6 months after completing the course
    2. Fail to complete the course for which the fees have been paid

    The sum repayable will be reduced pro rata by 1/18th for each month from the date of this contract."

    Yesterday afternoon I checked my bank account and I had only received part of my wages. I asked my manager about this and he said, "I've docked your wages, taking the remaining money owed from the course." I mentioned to him this was illegal and he has now pressured me into paying back the remaining balance over 4 months. So from this months pay he has docked 1/4, then he wants 3 cheques to cover the remaining money. In my contract there is no mention of paying back the money before I left or within a certain time frame. What can I do about my wages being docked and can he inforce the 4 month rule?

    I also know the company I work for copied and pasted their employment contract from a website, I've been doing some research on employment contracts and found: "Employment contracts not only provide important protection for employer’s in defining the working relationship and obligations between employer and employee, but a minimum written statement of terms and conditions of employment is a legal requirement on employers."

    My employment contract however does not mention anything about a Pension: "As a minimum an employer must indicate whether a contracting out certificate is in force. If it is details of the alternative pension scheme should be given."

    or about Collective Agreements: "Details of all collective agreements which directly affect the terms and conditions of employment should be given. If there are no collective agreements in force this fact still needs to be stated."

    Does this then make the employment contract void?

    Any help on this subject would be much appreciated.

    Posted: Aug 25, 2009 By: clefairy_5 Member since: Oct 15, 2007
  2. profitxchange

    profitxchange UKBF Ace Free Member

    1,704 192
    Whilst I am not an hr expert I have some experience of the points you mention.

    Deduction for training is a very popular element of a contract of employment. It is not unusual for a company to reconcile any outstanding monies owed from the last pay cheque. So I do not think you have much of a case on this one.

    Re the legalities of your contract - the contract is not null and void. the employer merely failed to fulfil his obligations - which I understand you get fixed by going to a tribunal - but that just fixes the contract it does not make it void.

    I would contact ACAS -by phone and talk it thru with them to get an official answer.
    Posted: Aug 25, 2009 By: profitxchange Member since: Apr 16, 2005
  3. Zeno

    Zeno UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    Are you concerned regarding the repayment of the fees or the method by which it is being done?
    Posted: Aug 25, 2009 By: Zeno Member since: Jun 12, 2008
  4. Employment Law Clinic

    Employment Law Clinic UKBF Big Shot Full Member - Verified Business

    3,255 1,537

    While your employer might have been careless in choosing their resources to copy a Statement of Particulars, as Profitixchange has stated, the contract is not void. You could complain to a tribunal, but this would only rule & create the terms for the pension & the collective agreements (along with any other clauses missing) - you wouldn't be awarded any damages for the employer's failure.

    The deductions from wages are illegal - these are only allowable in cases where you have approved the deductions, having given prior written consent. This doesn't mean that the cost for the training isn't recoverable, only that the employer had no right to deduct the money directly from your wages.

    No doubt ACAS will tell you to raise a grievance. As you've effectively done this informally, the next step would be to put this in writing. If the matter isn't resolved to your satisfaction, you can then make a complaint to an employment tribunal.

    However, for £375 or less that you are going to be liable to the company for eventually, you will need to think about whether the difficulties of an employment tribunal is worthwhile. The employer has acted illegally, but the resolution in law isn't quick or easy, and it will only be for money they expect from you ultimately.

    Karl Limpert
    Posted: Aug 25, 2009 By: Employment Law Clinic Member since: Aug 10, 2009
  5. clefairy_5

    clefairy_5 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    5 1
    Thanks for all the advice.

    Zeno - I'm not concerned about repaying the money, its the method by which it is being done that has really annoyed me. I wish my employer had spoken to me about it, rather than just deducting the money from my wages!

    Employment Law Clinic - "The employer has acted illegally, but the resolution in law isn't quick or easy, and it will only be for money they expect from you ultimately." For the amount of money I owe, it probably isn't worth the time and money. Looks like I'll just have to cough up.

    Thanks again! :)
    Posted: Aug 25, 2009 By: clefairy_5 Member since: Oct 15, 2007
  6. Neilh

    Neilh UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    79 6

    Does your employment contract state anything along the lines of the company taking any monies owed to them from you final pay...? Some employers include it as standard.

    Posted: Aug 25, 2009 By: Neilh Member since: Feb 16, 2006
  7. sjbeale

    sjbeale UKBF Ace Full Member

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    By signing the contract you have given consent that you will pay back some of the training funds for leaving early. This is standard practice with employers and protects their interests if employees such as yourself leave early and the company does not benefit from the training they have paid for.
    Posted: Aug 25, 2009 By: sjbeale Member since: Jul 8, 2005
  8. toddle2u

    toddle2u UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    223 47
    Here here!
    Posted: Aug 25, 2009 By: toddle2u Member since: Aug 6, 2009
  9. yorkshirejames

    yorkshirejames UKBF Ace Free Member

    2,573 352
    Posted: Aug 27, 2009 By: yorkshirejames Member since: Mar 2, 2006
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