My feed

to access all these features

Find financial and money saving discussions including debt and pension chat on our Money forum.

Money matters

Please Please Help - this is urgent

12 replies

chaffinch · 12/12/2007 11:28


I posted about this on "Am I Being Unreasonable" a few weeks ago, but am not sure how to do a link so I will try to briefly explain the situation again.

We had planned to move back to where we are originally from (300 miles away) back in November and I had secured a job as a trainee IFA. The company put you through your exams after which you would be fully qualified. They sent me a 40 hour opt in/out clause to sign and also made me sign a document saying I would pay back the cost of the training if I left the company before 2 years (there was no mention of how much the actual training would be, but I already have one of the exams which cost me £150 a year ago and there are 3 exams in total). I was expecting to work more than 40 hours a week for a while becuase of the intense nature of the training so I signed to say I could work more than 40 hours a week and also signed the training cost agreement too.

I moved into a friends house for a week as our new house wasn't ready until the week after, while DP tied up lose ends and DS finished school up here. However after 3 days at this new company it became clear that the job was not compatible with having a family. In the first 6 weeks we were expected to work 100 hours a week and then after that it is an unwritten rule but expected that you work 12 hour days. No-one else there had kids and I knew if I stayed I would never see my family so after much soul searching I left the company after 3 days which meant we also had to give up our dream of moving back to the area we have wanted to move back to for years. We lost money on the new rented house as well as our deposit on the van.

When I told the company I was leaving I enquired how much I would have to pay back and the manager I spoke with said it would probably be in the region of £300 which could be offset by the pay I was due. However I have now received a nasty letter from them demanding £1600 or they will take me to a debt collection agency. They never paid me for the 3 days I was there and they are claiming this is the second letter they have sent when it is actually the first.

I kniw I was naive to sign what I did without looking into it properly but we were so excited to be moving home and I didn't think I would leave before 2 years as I have always worked for previous employers for around 4-5 years each. I am out of work as I left my previous job to move back and DP only started a new job today as he also left his job too. I don't know what we are going to do and could really do with some advice as I am desparate.

Sorry for the length of this post

OP posts:
TheBlonde · 12/12/2007 11:31

Does the letter state what the 1600 is for?

chaffinch · 12/12/2007 11:35

Hi TheBlonde. It just says reimbursement of training costs. I have tried to call them but the person I need to speak with has they phone on voicemail.

I am going to ask for a breakdown of what these costs are but they pay for an outside agency to design a computer distance learning programme which I had to use so I am probably being expected to pay for this too. Its just so much money and so close to xmas too

OP posts:
ChristmasShinySnowflakes · 12/12/2007 11:42


You need to call ACAS and talk to them about working hours directives and see first of all whether the hours ( per week) that you were expected to work were even legal.

I reckon if you hit them with the information that yo've been in touch with ACAS they will be far more reasonable.

Did your contract not state what the time expectations of the role would be?

cestlavie · 12/12/2007 11:54

Hmmm. I suspect that you need an employment solicitor's advice on this but my initial thoughts on this would be these.

Unfortunately, it sounds like you've signed fairly standard employment and training contracts with the company. The hours of work and the costs of training are never going to be detailed specifically in the contracts but would usually be discussed during the hiring process (not least by the applicant). If the employment contract (like mine) says something like "...or such hours as the business may require... ", you've signed the opt-out and they have not put any pressure on you to do so then I think you'll struggle to make a case that either the hours were unfair or that you didn't know they would be 40+ hours.

I hate to say this, but from the company's perspective it's also not unfair - if they're investing money in training a new employee they're clearly doing so with a view to that employee staying with them for some time; the last thing they want is spend potentially a lot of money to train someone up and have them walk out once training is completed. On the other hand, what I imagine they can't do is charge you beyond the extent of the costs that they have incurred (i.e. penalise you) and I imagine that there is also an obligation on them to minimise these costs. So for example, if the training cost was say £1,600 of which only £400 had been paid by them and which they could cancel the remaining training at a penalty to them of £200 after you told them you were leaving, they could only charge you £600.

I'd be inclined (apart from speaking to an employment solicitor) to do as TheBlonde says and ask for a breakdown of training costs incurred and proof of additional costs which they will incur on cancellation.

chaffinch · 12/12/2007 12:07

Right, have just called ACAS and they have basically said that because I signed the opt out and agreed to pay back the training costs they can't help me and I would need to contact CAB or get legal advice. Is anyone on here familiar with the legalities surrounding this. I just can't beleive its so much money and I really can't afford to pay it.

OP posts:
ChristmasShinySnowflakes · 12/12/2007 12:08

Did you mention the number of hours you were expected to work?

Blu · 12/12/2007 12:11

Can you not keep the job but negotiate a more reasonable workload?
e the Working Hours directive etc?

I would have thought that they have, in effect, forced you to take the action you have because of the unreasonable working hourse demanded - i.e constructive dismissal - so have less right to claim back the training money?

I am not at all knowledgable about any of this, but what about looking on the Law society website, finding an Employment Lawyer and asking fr a free initial appointment to see if there is anything you could pursue?

chaffinch · 12/12/2007 12:12

Sorry Cestlavie - posts crossed there.

I can understand that but its not as if I did the exams and am now leaving to get a better job now I am qualified. I left because the expectations were ridiculous. How would I go about finding out if the costs had been minimilised? The IFA company is the training companies biggest client so I will probably not have much luck in contacting them for information, particularly as the training company are a husband and wife team and not a big company.

God this is so stressful, particulary so close to xmas

OP posts:
TheBlonde · 12/12/2007 12:24

Try not to panic

Have you tried to speak to the manager who said the fees would likely be 300 quid?

chaffinch · 12/12/2007 12:27

Good News!!!!!

The lady in HR called me back. She had had to check as I had explained on her voicemail that I wasn't happy due to the other manager telling me it would cost £2-300, and they have now agreed to not pay me but not charge me for the exams either. I hope the other manager doesn't get into trouble as he was a lovely guy but becuase he misinformed me they are now going to swallow the rest of the cost. They also admitted sending the previous letter to the wrong address (what was supposed to be my new address). I have asked for that in writing and have learnt a huge lesson.


Thanks everyone - you have all been fab

Merry xmas to you all x

OP posts:
TheBlonde · 12/12/2007 12:30


cestlavie · 12/12/2007 13:16


Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.