HR & Employment Law Insights

Helping family businesses, start-ups, charities, social enterprises, and other growing or established businesses throughout the UK make sense of HR and Employment Law challenges.

We get asked HR related questions every day and each week we will be sharing our top question of the week that we have been asked here at The HR Booth.

This week we answer the question "Can I recover the cost of training if an employee leaves my company?"

This is a question we get a lot, and some of our clients get frustrated that after investing in training, an employee chooses to leave them and move elsewhere.  One specific example is below:

Question

We have an employee who is leaving next week and the cost of all his training courses in the last 12 months is £1200.  We are deducting this from his final pay.  I'm assuming we can do this?

Answer You have a clause in the contract that allows you to do this, however is he aware that the cost of the training totaled £1200 and have you informed him he will have to repay this from his final pay? No, but he signed the contract and attended the training.

It's good practice to ask your employees to sign a training agreement prior to the training commencing, as this lets them see the cost of the training and over what period they're expected to make a repayment, ie is it 100% in the first year of completion, 50% year 2 etc.  This, along with the clause in the contract ensures you've covered all bases and does not mean you are making an unlawful deduction from Payroll.  You should also advise the employee when you are acknowledging receipt of resignation and confirming final payment details, that the cost of the course will be deducted from final pay.  This ensures you have communicated this to your employee, and you also have a paper trail should the employee try to pursue it.

I also take the view that you don't want people leaving under a cloud, and whilst you might be frustrated about them leaving you, it's good practice to end the relationship positively as it's someone who could be a future customer or influence others about your business.  Negative publicity travels further than good news!

I have also attached an example training agreement which you can use for your business. Click here to download.

YOUR TURN

Do you already have a training agreement in place?

Have you had to deal with a similar situation?

Let us know by joining the conversation in the comments section below.