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Training requirements and fees – what do you need to know?

Training requirements and fees

Training requirements and fees

What do you need to know?

Failure to complete training before commencing employment

In some circumstances, an employer may require and pay for a prospective employee to complete essential training before their employment starts. This is common within the legal profession where future trainee solicitors are required to complete their ‘Legal Practice Course’ or Solicitors Qualifying Exams’ before commencing their training contracts.

A Magic Circle Law Firm has recently made the headlines for terminating their future trainee solicitors’ training contracts for failing to pass the ‘Solicitors Qualifying Exams’ at the first attempt. This approach has been widely criticised for being ‘overly harsh’ given the nature of the exams.

However, if a prospective employer specifies, at the outset, that your failure to complete a required training course will terminate their obligation to provide you with future employment, the contract becomes “conditional” and binding on the parties only in the event of your success.  Accordingly, your failure to meet such condition will not make the contract “unconditional” and the future employer is not obliged to provide you with future employment.

Repayment of training fees

Failure to complete a training course

Similarly, under contracts where an employer agrees to pay for an employee’s training and the employee fails to complete (or leaves employment before completing) the training course, the employer may require repayment of the monies associated with the training course, if this is specified in the employee’s contract of employment.

Leaving employment after completion of a training course

The general position is that if an employee has not signed a contract expressly agreeing to repay the cost of their training course fees before beginning the course, the employee will not be liable to repay these and any deduction from their pay in repayment of these fees will be an unlawful deduction from wages.

It is usual that to find a clause in contracts of employment providing for an employee to repay some, or all, of the fees associated with attending training courses. Repayment will, typically, be claimed if the employee leaves employment within a certain, specified period of time (the End Date”). In most cases, there is a sliding scale, to nil, for repayment, with reductions based on post-training length of service up to the End Date

What does this mean?

Employers should have robust training clauses within their contracts of employment to ensure that they are not liable for an employee’s training fees where they are not going to receive the ‘benefit’ of this.

Similarly, employers are wise to issue a fresh training agreement where existing employees want to undertake a training course for which the employer will pay. This will ensure employees are fully informed of the conditions attached to their additional training which will reduce the risk of any dispute as a result of a lack of awareness.

Employees should read their contracts and any training agreements carefully before commencing a training course linked to their employment. Failure to do so may lead to unexpected costs should the employee decide that they wish to terminate their employment before the End Date specified for repayment.

Contact us

For further information, please contact Annalie KingPartner and Head of Employment law team at Kerseys SolicitorsYou can contact Annalie King or Rosie Brighty a Trainee Employment Law Solicitor by telephone at Kerseys Solicitors in Ipswich on 01473 213311Kerseys Solicitors in Felixstowe on 01394 834557 or Kerseys Solicitors in Colchester on 01206 584584, alternatively you can email us at [email protected] or visit our website and click “Call Me Back”.

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