Recoup training fees from a departing employee

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An employee has the right to bring their employment to an end at any time by resigning with the appropriate notice.

Author: Polly Davies
Published:
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Our members often provide training for employees, and it is common to want to see some return on that investment in training through retaining the skills of the newly trained employee. 

An employee has the right to bring their employment to an end at any time by resigning with the appropriate notice and so provide an incentive for the employee to remain in the job and to protect against difficulties with unlawful deductions from wages on termination, you should enter into an express agreement with the employee to recoup any training costs.

If you wish to recoup training fees from a departing employee, a training fees agreement before training begins should be implemented.  They can vary according to the length and cost of the training but the amount to be paid back reduces in increments the longer the employee remains with the company. 

For example, if the course cost £2,000, the employee’s liability would reduce to £1,500 six months after the completion of the training, and so on. The agreement could also work on the basis of monthly reductions.  The employee and employer can agree the appropriate terms and they should be well drafted.  Ambiguous arrangements may not be upheld by an employment tribunal in your favour.

Employees have the right not to suffer unlawful deductions from wages, so you should also include a clause in the training agreement which allows deductions from wages.  This will give you the right to make a lawful deduction from the employee’s final salary in respect of any outstanding training fees if they leave.  You cannot obtain authorisation for the deduction after the event, however so clear terms must be in place before the training commences.  

Polly Davies

Legal Advisor

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