Unpaid training, is this lawful?

(36 Posts)
Samcj02 Fri 15-Nov-19 18:34:23

I work in a nursery and I’m contracted to 24 hours over 3 days a week, we do a lot of training at least once a month but we do not get paid, we do get TOIL for staff meetings though.. for example over the last 4 weeks I’ve had to got training 3 hours a night and I haven’t been paid, I’ve looked in to my contract and it does state that training will be unpaid and if we leave within a certain amount of time we must repay the training. So even though the contract dates that training is unpaid, is this unlawful?

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hopefullyhelpfully Fri 15-Nov-19 18:38:51

It depends on your wage. It's not lawful to ask employees to work extra hours that push them under national minimum wage, even for training. So add up the hours you have worked in a pay period (monthly or weekly depending on how you are paid) and see if the total hours worked are less than NMW.
With regard to training it's again not lawful to deduct training from people's final wage IF it would push them below NMW for that pay period. The only exception is if it's training the employee has requested vs training the employer has mandated.

hopefullyhelpfully Fri 15-Nov-19 18:41:15

To clarify re. the training, if the employee really wants to do a further professional qualification and the employer agrees to fund this it's lawful to claim it back if the employee leaves even if they then go under NMW for their final pay. However if it's training that the employer says you must take they they are still bound by NMW regulations.

Samcj02 Fri 15-Nov-19 18:52:10

So I’m paid 14p over the minimum wage! So I’m right in thinking that I’m not
Reaching my minimum wage! X

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hopefullyhelpfully Fri 15-Nov-19 20:05:48

It would seem that the training pushes you under NMW. However you need to think about TOIL- does the TOIL exactly correlate to the hours you are training, is it properly documented and is it in the same pay period?
If for example you do 3 hours training but get 3 hours off work in the same pay period, properly documented, then the NMW will not have been breached. However a more ad hoc arrangement perhaps not up to the full 3 hours would almost certainly see you fall below NMW.
Whilst NMW sits under the Dept of Business it's actually audited by HMRC who interpret the law very strictly and employers have very little room to "interpret" the legislation.

Samcj02 Fri 15-Nov-19 21:38:54

Thanks for the information it’s been very helpful, the toil we receive is just for our monthly meetings which are 1,5 hours a month, we don’t get any for training unfortunately x

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Samcj02 Fri 15-Nov-19 22:13:49

State sin my contract “extra hours for training, parents evening etc must be undertaken by the employee but may not be paid”

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hopefullyhelpfully Fri 15-Nov-19 22:18:01

In that case add up the hours you are required to be in work for meetings, training and work and calculate your hourly rate. It sounds like your training is employee mandated so they are breaking NMW law if you fall below.

I dislike organisations who make employees pay for training they need to do the job they are paid for especially if they ate already only just above NMW.

I've focused on NMW as from a contractual point of view you'd struggle - they are messing you around but it's difficult to prove and hard to enforce. However HMRC are splendid- point out the breaches to your employer, see how they rectify it and if necessary you can report them. However I'd try to resolve it with your employer first. NMW is complicated and lots of min wage employers fall below it unknowingly.

Samcj02 Fri 15-Nov-19 22:29:37

That’s great, thanks so much, I’ll email the owner/director Monday and see what she comes back with!

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insancerre Sat 16-Nov-19 10:39:37

Lots of nurseries have been fined for doing this
Here is a link to what you can do next

HermioneWeasley Sat 16-Nov-19 10:43:04

Definitely not allowed to take you under min wage regardless of what it says in your contract

I would also question the enforceability of deducting “costs” of training if you leave, when they haven’t paid you!

You can ask, or contact HMRC re enforcement

Samcj02 Sat 16-Nov-19 10:57:58

Thanks I really have no idea where to start with this..other than questioning the owner when a colleague questioned about pay, training etc she got shot down and said she need to see it from
A business point of view!!’

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insancerre Sat 16-Nov-19 11:07:49

I would email and ask for clarification about payment for training and ask politely if you will be getting paid for training on x date or whether you will be receiving time off in lieu
You can use the reply as evidence for HMRC

Samcj02 Sat 16-Nov-19 11:09:58

Perfect, thanks, I’ll start by doing that! X

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EBearhug Sun 17-Nov-19 03:10:38

Complying with employment law is a business point of view...

Samcj02 Sun 17-Nov-19 18:13:54

Exactly I’m ready for this but think they’re going to make it difficult and make up excuses and reasons why they don’t pay!

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CalleighDoodle Sun 17-Nov-19 18:21:19

that link is so interesting! Email them the figures first. Sounds like they wont pay up, so contact acas after that.

Samcj02 Sun 17-Nov-19 20:25:43

That link really is interesting! I’ll wait for an email reply and keep you all updated! 🤞🏻X

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Samcj02 Tue 19-Nov-19 22:07:07

Thanks Everyone, but it didn’t go well
Was pulled into a meeting today and said I should appreciate all of the extra benefits I get with the company, and if I’m not happy with that I should leave..then bought family into it...felt really intimidated ☹️X

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BernadetteRostankowskiWolowitz Tue 19-Nov-19 22:10:55

I'd report the organisation to the HMRC. they have departments who persue businesses who do exactly this sort of thing.

Samcj02 Wed 20-Nov-19 03:40:50

Thanks I’m just so worried, felt bullied and backed into a corner to not take it any further sad. What do hmrc do? Do they just show up? I’m worried they’ll know it’s me who’s reported it and make my life hell x

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BernadetteRostankowskiWolowitz Wed 20-Nov-19 07:09:33


EleanorReally Wed 20-Nov-19 07:13:00

How long will the training go on for?

EleanorReally Wed 20-Nov-19 07:14:16

I didnt get paid for training but it didnt last forever
surely at some point you will be trained

Samcj02 Wed 20-Nov-19 08:34:56

Since the company took over just before summer I’ve done over 20 hrs training it’s constant and in my own time x

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