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Handed in notice - told I will have to pay back training

(11 Posts)
sydenhamhiller Thu 23-Feb-17 12:11:57

Hi, hoping Mumsnet can give me their usual sage advice. I'll give a bit of background to avoid drip-feeding.

In October I started working 2 days a week at a local preschool as 'bank' staff.It all went well. They are lovely colleagues. In November, I was asked if I wanted to be made permanent. I asked what the difference would be: I'd be a key worker for some children, so more responsibility, but still minimum wage. I decided I'd like the experience, so I accepted.

However, after a few weeks it turns out I was also expected to stay an extra 2-3 hours once a month for staff meetings, for no extra pay. When there is training, which I welcome, (e.g. 5 hour first aid, 1 hr FGM, 1 hour food hygiene) it is not on work time, but I am expected to do it on the computer at home, in my time.

I have worked for a big company in a past life, and I have also been self employed as a childminder. If the company needed you to go on a money-laundering course, they didn't expect you to do it after work in the evenings. When I was a childminder I went on courses in the evening/ weekend, but I think that is different: it's my business.

I started to feel that I can't deliver what they need in just 2 days 9-3, I'm just not there enough to do all the observations/ assessments on 5 children and write them up, and do the job. They really need someone F/T (I also work for my DH). And I have to confess, I also don't think it's right that staff on minimum wage are expected to stay late regularly (not talking 10 minutes now and again) unpaid. I know it's the industry, nothing is going to change, so I decided I need to rethink my career plans, and I resigned yesterday.

We had all only just been given contracts to sign, so that also made me decide - I didn't want to sign a contract and then go a few weeks later, that seemed silly. So I wrote a really nice letter to my manager and copy for the owner saying thank you so much for the opportunity, the staff had all been amazingly supportive and kind, but I was handing in my notice. And while I did not have an agreed notice period, I was giving them 4 weeks notice (as per the new unsigned contract), or would they like me to stay until Easter if that made things easier. I handed it to my manager, and verbally said I just didn't think I could do the job they needed in 2 days a week, and I thought they'd be better with someone full-time. The manager was really gracious, said 'oh no, what a shame, we've loved having you'.

Phew. That went better than expected.

Half an hour later, the manager asks for a word. The Director has said that as they have signed me up for some on line training, and it is non-transferrable I will have to pay that back, or it will come out of my salary of about £85 a week.

(The week before half term I was given the websites and passwords for some online training. I was busy that week, and away at half term. Then I have resigned. I thought it was also better to resign now, rather than do the training and resign in 2 weeks time.)

I said I am not happy about that, and that legally I don't think they can do that. They never said there were any clauses attached to training. That if I did some training I would have to stay for a week/ month/ year or pay it back. There was nothing in the contract-- which I (and some of my colleagues) have not signed. My manager just looked uncomfortable, bless her, and said I should speak to the owner.

I am sorry this is so long-winded. If you are still with me: can they do this? And they still want me to spend 5 hours of my free time before Monday doing the First Aid course (Ofsted are imminent.) Which just seems surreal: I could be going to work Monday, to earn the money to pay for an online course they signed me up to.

Advice gratefully received...

Gaelach Thu 23-Feb-17 12:18:24

I can't help unfortunately but I'm eager to hear the advice of others. This sort of situation has arisen before in my workplace (not with me) and I'm curious about the legality of it all.

picklemepopcorn Thu 23-Feb-17 12:25:27

Sorry but 'money laundering course'. I'm surprised that's publicly advertised...

Ok, I'll carry on reading now. Ahem.

OdinsLoveChild Thu 23-Feb-17 12:29:14

I tried to fight something similar. This was 15 years ago so it may be different now.

I previously had to attend compulsory training for a job. It was an industry requirement so not optional. I left my job within 2 years and was sent the bill for the training by my employer. I refused to pay it because I had not signed a contract saying I was liable for the cost of training and my employer took me to small claims court to get their money.
Basically I had to pay it because it was a statutory requirement and I would have known it was a requirement when I started working there.
The Judge stated If theres a statutory requirement for the training and it's portable to another job then I had to pay it.Had the business just said its something they like their staff to have then I wouldn't have needed to pay it back.
You should speak to a union rep or solicitor about this.

Goldnick Thu 23-Feb-17 12:40:34

Contact ACAS. I think they've paid you less than min wage if you had to attend meetings and do training additional to your role. They can only claim back training costs if you agreed this before starting. You were on a contract even if it was not written, and if not repaying training costs was part of that, they can't reclaim. But contact ACAS for authoritative advice, or any free legal advice service you can access through your insurance, etc,

Unhappyemployee Thu 23-Feb-17 12:46:44

OP if it is just general training they send people on I would be on your side with this. My previous company provided general training, some of which you mentioned, it was just....done. h&s training, fire warden training, it was just expected and not a big deal. when I did a year long qualification I had to sign a contract first stating that I wished to do the training and would have to pay for it in part if I left within a certain time after it started. I ended up having to pay for my course when I left which is fine, I signed up for that, purposely, and it was not a requirement of my job, it was an extra to make me better at it and very desirable elsewhere. I would question it to be honest, speak to acas maybe? Surely if you are required to pay your contract should state it somewhere.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Thu 23-Feb-17 12:49:19

Another one saying contact ACAS.

I've worked places where I knew I would have to pay back training if I left in a certain time period, this wasn't in my contract but was made clear to me, and TBH I think it's fair enough.

sydenhamhiller Thu 23-Feb-17 13:19:59

Aw, Mumsnet, you've actually made me all misty-eyed, I loved what a supportive power for good this place can be.

I have just called ACAS and they were amazing. If there is nothing in the contract about repaying training, it is unlikely they can deduct my salary she thinks. And the fact that they expect training on our own unpaid time is not right: training time is seen as work time, and work should be paid for.

Odinslovechild you story is a little worrying, I am so sorry to hear that.

flowery Thu 23-Feb-17 13:21:01

No they can't do this. If they deduct money from your wages to pay for training you didn't ask for and were not pre-warned would have to pay for if you leave, that will be an unlawful deduction from wages.

You are also unable to spend 5 hours working on Monday (or any other time) unpaid, because if you are only paid minimum wage, doing that would take you below minimum wage, which is against the law.

It's not good enough to just say 'that's the industry', it's against the law, plain and simple. Do they want to end up on the government's recently-published name-and-shame list of minimum wage offenders?

insancerre Thu 23-Feb-17 13:32:03

I manage a nursery and I don't think the preschool can expect you to pay if they haven't told you upfront that you would be liable if you left
Our staff pay for their dBs and to subscribe to the update service but they do sign to say they agree to it coming out of their wages and its a condition of their employment
They can't make you do training unpaid and then expect you to pay for it as well
We do our own first aid training and it isn't portable, they can't brake it with them but we don't charge them for it
If they do training in their own time they get the hours back as paid leave

sydenhamhiller Thu 23-Feb-17 13:46:34

Thanks flowery and insancerre that's very interesting, and very helpful. My manager is trying to transfer the training, which is kind of her (it's the owner who is gunning for me).

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