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NHS employer now expecting me to retrospectively agree to pay back training fees

(12 Posts)
mariebelle Thu 13-Oct-16 09:32:19

Hi, so I'm currently employed within the NHS and have been here for the past 2 years. Last year I secured a new position which was classed as a training role. Since January when I secured the post I have been paid 75% of the proper salary on the expectation that this will rise to 100% of the salary after 1 year in the post having completed 2 courses my employer requires me to sit. The first course I attended in February of this year and my second (last) course is booked for 1 weeks time. Out of the blue my employer has suddenly approached me to say that they would like me to sign a 'training contract' agreeing to pay back 100% of the course fees if I leave within 2 years of completing the courses. It wouldn't surprise me if they have done this because they know I am very unhappy in the role due to a new manager who is bullying the team.

Now my argument here is that not a word was mentioned to me about this when I secured the post almost a year ago. Not a word was mentioned when I attended the course in Feb and nothing was said recently when the upcoming course was booked and paid for. Had I have known about this requirement, I would have seriously considered not agreeing to commence in the role as the courses are thousands of pounds and I would owe around £8k if I were to leave within 2 years.

I have checked my employment contract and can see no mention of any requirement to repay training fees, hence why I think they are asking me to sign something now. What does everyone think? Am I right in thinking that this is unfair? Is there anything they can do to actually force me to sign it or am I within my rights to refuse. I'm also concerned that they could somehow introduce this agreement without my signature?

Very worried and anxious about all this sad

AnchorDownDeepBreath Thu 13-Oct-16 09:35:39

If it's not in your contract, I don't believe they can apply it to previous courses without your consent - so you'll be okay for the course in February.

However, I'd imagine that they can reallocate your place on the upcoming course to someone else if you won't sign. I don't think they'd manage to change your T&Cs before next week, but be very careful with any comms relating to this.

CousinChloe Thu 13-Oct-16 09:37:53

I have no idea about the legal side of things, but you don't seem at all unreasonable to me.

I can see the employer's side if it too, but they should have got the agreement before it started. I do think they'd be within their rights to not send you on the next bit if you refuse to sign though...

thatwouldbeanecumenicalmatter Thu 13-Oct-16 09:42:34

Are you part of a trade union?

MegCleary Thu 13-Oct-16 09:45:11

Try ACAS perhaps for advice. A lot of trusts are so skint they are going after every penny they can.

lougle Thu 13-Oct-16 10:29:04

I'm not qualified in any way, but I would argue that the contract for both courses was made as part of your initial engagement: your attendance is essential to the completion of training and progression to 100% pay, which is a contractual expectation of the post. You can't, for instance, opt not to do the courses and stay on 75% pay permanently. Therefore, they can't change terms unilaterally now, for either part of the course.

Redpony1 Fri 14-Oct-16 13:32:14

It's quite a normal requirement. I've just signed one for a course i am going on that is necessary for my role.

I've signed others in the past at other companies too.

I would ask them to clarify that it's JUST for the course next week, as you are not signing anything reference to a course you have already completed.

JenniferYellowHat1980 Sun 16-Oct-16 20:18:21

It's not a normal requirement if added retrospectively though. I think they'd struggle to make that stick.

JenniferYellowHat1980 Sun 16-Oct-16 20:20:37

Can you take some last minute AL to avoid the situation for a week, by which time you'all have started your next course? Or simply be too busy to pin down this week?

JenniferYellowHat1980 Sun 16-Oct-16 20:21:37

Also - sorry - surely by accepting a 25% pay suppression you've effectively financed the course already?

Shurelyshomemistake Sun 16-Oct-16 20:26:18

What Jennifer says. Tell them to do one! But of course get advice first from your union.

flowery Mon 17-Oct-16 08:27:08

It is a normal requirement, if it is made clear to the employee upfront that this is the deal, and they therefore have the option not to go ahead.

If this training contract was part of the deal for this role and was made clear at the time, the OP would presumably have had the option to not apply for it. But she applied on the basis that there would be a temporary paycut and two compulsory courses, with nothing about repaying the cost of those.

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