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How much is too much



I'm looking at this from a non trainer's / managers perspective.

If you are asking an employee to sign an agreement to recoup costs for training, what costs would you legitimately be asking to recoup.

The agreement is on a scale of 2 years, which in theory I have no objections to, but the training I am undertaking is a statutory complience issue, which the company needs to fulfill. (but is also very beneficial to me)

I am a shift worker and attended 2 weeks external training, which cost £3100, with £160 travel costs. I would be happy with this liability, but I beleive the company is adding on costs for shift cover (external contractor), overtime for Sunday travel among others totalling £6900.

Is this the normal way of things? Is this acceptable?

Comments please


6 Responses

  1. How much?!

    Hi Davie

    Are you being asked to pay for the training or are they simply locking you in by making it a pay-back in the event that you leave the company?

    In the former case the training is a statutory requirement on the company so they shouldn’t be asking you to pay at all and in the latter since it is a statutory requirement it is potentially acceptable to hold you for the course fees and possibly the travel but the shift cover… way!

    Rus Slater

    (PS pretty much anythuing is legal if you agree to it, whether it is reasonable, moral or motivational is another matter!)

  2. too much?

    Hi Russ,

    Thanks for your reply.

    To let you understand a little more about my situation. I have an existing, valid qualification to work on High voltage equipment. (which I brought with me to the company) This qualification seems to be adequate for the contract I normally work on. I was then asked to provide a similar role on a separate contract, in my own time, but my qualification was not deemed adequate, so I agreed to undertake additional training.

    The training, by the way, had very little more content than the couse I attended previously, but it was spread out over 2 weeks, instead of 1 and had a higher pass criteria.

    The management team on this contract, understandably, want to ensure there is some level of commitment from me and want me to sign an agreement (after the event) to say that should I leave, for any reason, I will be required to pay back a portion of the costs. They are asking for a 2 year payback, reducing by a 1/24th every month.

    This is not the problem, I am only concerned with a fair, reasonable sum to pay back. I dont think the additional costs should be included.

    Motivation? hes not doing much good on that front,

  3. too much!

    Forgot to add…I will/should receive compensation payment, for my time, which they also want to claw back, should I leave. So theres another £2k….over a year for this though…..Too Much!!??

  4. Grateful

    I think you should think yourself lucky you have a secure job for 2 years and your employer is investing in you.

    I’ve just signed up to a similar 2 year deal and can’t believe my luck that my job is guaranteed for 2 years…many job seekers would bite my arm of to swap I’m sure!

  5. How Much?

    Hi Dave

    Tying you in to repay training and travel costs would, in my opinion, be acceptable. I would object, however,  to being held responsible for repaying other costs, such as absence cover. There has to be a bit of give and take on both sides.

    — Terry George MCIPD Training Consultant

  6. Thanks all


    Latest update.

    I initially refused to sign, only due to the overall burden on me. I have however managed to talk a little sense into them and negotiated the cost down to that of training course only plus the retainer.

    So the overall sum will be only 5k or so. (Around half)

    Thanks for the opinions gents. I used some of them in my argument, especially the point about motivation. In the end they reflected that trust is 2 way thing and were willing to write of the additional costs, which I agree is only fair.

    I partially agree with Steve, that I should be grateful they are investing in me, but I have no guarantee of 2 years work from this.

    They could have employed a sub contractor or consultant, and still can, but this would be costly. So I’m a cheap alternative, all things considered. And please take into account I am performing these duties on top of my existing work, in my own time!

    I’m a massive believer in training and so are the company. We have 1 and 2 day training sessions all the time for HSE etc, they also run a fast track project manager course (ILM). But when you need to renew statutory qualifications i.e. High Voltage or Gas Safe etc, there seem to be some individuals who resent it. But without skilled people, they could not fulfil their contracts.

    Trust, respect and honesty! That will get most if not all your staff on board.

    Thanks again guys



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