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Seb Anthony

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Learning Agreements

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In many of the organisations that I have worked in over the years they have supported staff to gain external qualifications. Some have asked the learner to sign a learning agreement which sets out the terms within which the qualification is taken. Is it legal for an employer in their learning contract to state that if your leave the organisation within a certain number of years you must pay pay back the fees etc? If so how do you go about attempting to recover those fees from someone who has left?
craig mitchell

3 Responses

  1. Training Agreements
    It’s important that when you get employees to sign the agreement you get their permission to deduct such sums from their final salary payment; if you don’t do this and deduct anyway you are in danger of being pursued for unlawful deduction of wages. We always ensure that any outstanding loans or agreements are dealt with in the final salary payment as in that way there is no difficulty in recovering the sums from an employee who has already left. If you would like a copy of a training agreement, I can provide one. We have never known an employee refuse to sign one and if they did, this would potentially impact on whether they would receive training which incurred a cost.

  2. ‘Claw back’ clauses are often used
    ‘Claw back’ clauses are often used, particularly when the cost of investment is significant. A sliding scale of reimbursement of costs if the employee leaves the organisation is not uncommon e.g 100% during first year of study, 75% during second, 50% during third etc. As Jayne has said it is important to ensure that the right to deduct from final salary or seek reimbursement for costs is written into the policy/agreement. I think the act of entering into an agreement is important and emphasises the investment being made on both parts. Actually retrieving costs in such a situation is a matter of judgement and sometimes the costs of doing so can be prohibitive.

  3. Training Agreement
    There had been a number of threads on this subject over the last couple of years.

    Whe I took advise on this subject from one of the major UK Employment Lawy Firms was that the maxium tie in period was one year and even that could be challenged in court.

    We had a document that say for the first 6 months after the training it was 100% refund and that it dropped to 50% and then dropped 8.3% per month to nothing.

    If it was a 2 year course they would have to sign a new agreement for each year of the course.

    The training agreement was also an authority to deduct the money from final pay should they leave.

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