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New Contract Of Employment, Can They Put This In?


Guest MaryEMac
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Guest MaryEMac

All the staff were invited to a meeting tonight to discuss the new contracts of employment which needed updating. I am concerned about one statement. It is under Training.

" each employee will be given the opportunity to achieve qualifications to level 4. This will be paid for by the playgroup. However, if the employee should terminate their employment with us within a year of qualifying at any level they will be liable to repay the costs of the course undertaken"

What happens if you have to leave because of illness or your husband/partner gets another job at the other end of the country?

Does anyone know if this is allowed to be put in or not? My husband said that if that was in his contract then he would refuse to sign it. What do you think?

 

Mary

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I have heard of this, I avoided that clause at my previous job as the training had been funded by the LA, but I have heard that other students have been told that they would have to repay for training paid by preschool.

I am going to seek out my contract to be sure. :o

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not an unusual clause if they are paying you to do the training ..idea is to get what they actually pay for.. trained staff and to prevent staff leaving the minute they are trained and the setting not gaining from supporting you.

 

However if you pay for the training different matter and receive no payment for it..eg do it unpaid then it usually would not apply...we give staff option of doing this if they want, so training is at their cost not ours.

 

we often have this as a separate contract completed when staff train long term and we pay for it. have done for years now.

 

Leaving due to illness you would have a certificate from Dr so for use each case would be discussed with the management, who would make a decision...as would other compassionate reasons.

 

Inge

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Hi Mary

 

I investiged something simiar for a friend whose employer wanted to increase their notice period.

 

Basically, any change to a contract must be negotiated prior to the employee signing a new contract. If the employee refuses, after a set period of time (and a process of negotiation) the employer can give the employee notice of the termination of the contract, and offer the employee new employment under the new conditions. If the employee still refuses to sign then their employment will be deemed as ended. I think at best (always provided the new clause/contract is deemed to be legal and fair, of course) you can only stave off the change.

 

I hasten to say that this was some time ago, but I found all this out from the ACAS website - or they do have a hotline you can call for information.

 

I have to say that it is fairly standard practice to ask for employees to pay back training costs if they leave either during a course or for a set period after the course has ended. This is designed to protect the employer from paying out lots of money training staff only for them to use the qualification to gain a better job elsewhere. If you were leaving your job to look after a sick relative then it would be particularly galling to have to pay back your training costs but equally if a group spends a year or more supporting a practitioner to achieve a higher qualification only to see them leave shortly after, they will obviously have to go back to square one with another member of staff.

 

Its a very delicate balance isn't it - you have a commercial need on the one hand but you also need happy, motivated employees who believe they are being treated fairly. I guess its finding a happy compromise.

 

I'd advise you to talk to ACAS to find out the up to date legal position though either before you stand up for your rights at work, or sign the new contract!

 

Good luck - keep us posted.

 

Maz

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I have known contracts with this clause in as a lot of companies are now finding they are paying out to get staff trained up and they then move on to other jobs. My own company has been talking about putting this in to effect. I feel that with the transformation fund and the local lEA funding most courses then the playgroup would not be paying out for courses maybe this is something you could question! I would also want to know what they class as costs and what there definition of any level is. If you require legal advice unions are pretty good and the ACAS website has a lot of information available to download. Good Luck

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I'm also thinking of putting this sort of clause in my contracts for new employees. I just spent a few hundred pounds getting a member of staff first aid trained (she attended in her own time and was paid at her standard hourly rate) but less than three months later she has just resigned. Great to put on her CV that she has a current first aid certificate, but not so good for me because I'm a first aider down and will need to get her successor trained!

 

An interesting point about the LEA/Transformation Fund bursaries. I know that our bursary forms provide for the LEA to reclaim the costs if the practitioner leaves the course half way through but I'm not sure about what would happen if the practitioner went to work at another authority...

 

Maz

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I don't think it's unreasonable to put such a clause into the contract...........it does cost a lot of money to train staff and many groups struggle to find the money for this, so i think maybe a sliding scale of repayment is fairer, ie, you leave within a certain length of time, you repay a particular percentage of the costs.I'm sure most groups would treat illness as a different matter and sympathetically.I know of someone doing the FD course and it's being paid for by her setting.....she has told me that the moment she gets her degree she's off to pastures wealthier, and as her group hasn't got a repayment clause in her contract, she can clear off, leaving them over £6,000 worse off.Her attitude is that if the group is daft enough to let her get away with it, why shouldn't she??While I don't think it's a very moral act on her part,I agree the group should have asked her for some kind of guarantee that she would be staying for some while after qualification. A minefield!

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We have a seperate contract for this for staff to sign. I had to do this at my last job who paid for my level 3.....i did leave with about 3 months left as a job opportunity came up which i couldn't refuse. I stayed on as bank staff and work 1 or 2 saturdays a week and sometimes school hols.

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I don't think it's unreasonable to expect the repayment of some of the employers' costs if they have incurred them through training an employee. This has just happened to my son who is a groundsman.

 

I think it would be fair to have a sliding scale because the employer will have had some benefit from the training whilst it is in progress, ie 100 % if the employee leaves immediately upon qualification, 75% after so long, 50% after that.

 

My FD training costs would need to be repaid to the LEA if I don't complete the course, in theory not sure how strictly that clause is implemented. I would not owe my setting any money as what isn't covered by the transformation fund, I am funding myself.

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It isn't actually covered in our contract of employment but whenever any of our staff do an expensive, long term course paid for by preschool, they have to sign to say if they leave within so long or during the course they'll pay all or a percentage back. I think it's all if they leave within a year, sliding down to if they leave after 2 years they don't have to pay.

 

Now, in practice, it depends. We had 1 member of staff do level 3 & leave during it to work elsewhere in our town - we asked for money back as she could have stayed with us; we had another lady who'd done level1 & her husband's job was relocated to too far to commute - so we wished her well.

 

The agreement does say something about the committee's discretion, so if people need to leave & can't pay it back they have to tell the committee briefly why they're going (eg, maternity leave, spouse/partner relocation etc).

 

I wasn't surprised by it, in fact I suspect I sugested we start it up as when I worked for my County Council before having children it was a standard agreement for any funded training. In any area.

 

We make it clear to people & they always have the choice to pay themselves if possible, especially for courses not needed by the preschool. If we already have dozens of level 3s & a member of staff who's dropped out of her course before wants to do it, she'll have to pay herself. I paid for my level 4 as I didn't want to be tied to the preschool (even though I'm still there!)

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As the others have said it is quite common practice. Perhaps what you need is further clarification on the clause and this could then be written more fully so that both sides are happy with it. :o

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Guest MaryEMac

Thanks for all your answers. I don't actually have a problem with this clause but the way it was written seemed vey stark and nothing was mentioned about extenuating circumstances. I am going to speak to the chairman tomorrow and and ask if something can be added. I want it made clear because that committee won't always be there and other people could interpret ti differently.

Mary

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  • 1 year later...

Like others we have this clause as well.My duaghter has just finished a degree on dayrelease (last year) If she leaves within a year of qualifying then she has to pay it back. She worlks for a very large company.

Edited by lynned55
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As others have said we have this in our policies as a separate contract and usually we only use it for long term training rather than things like first aid. Again it is at the discretion of the committee. We had one member of staff have to leave on health grounds and the repayment was waived. Another left exactly at the end of the required period and a third thought we wouldn't invoke the repayment clause. We took legal advice and offered her a repayment plan. She did pay it back after that. Our setting couldn't manage otherwise as the cost of the training is high for us but unfortunately we cannot pay as well as other settings so often lose staff once they are qualified.

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