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Help for small firms

Help for small firms: Handling pay and wages

Handling pay and wages - Myth busting: True or false?

If my employee leaves shortly after I have paid for them to attend a training course, can I reclaim the cost from their final pay?

There is no statutory right to reclaim the cost of a training course if your employee decides to leave your employment shortly afterwards.

If you did want to recover the cost of the training course from the departing employee, you would need an agreement with them to do so. Some employers include a repayment clause in their employees' contracts to make clear when and how costs for training courses etc. may be reclaimed.

Alternatively, when considering whether to pay for your employee to attend a training course, you and your employee could enter into a specific agreement that explains in what circumstances you will be entitled to recover all or part of the training costs from them.

In both scenarios, the terms agreed should make clear that the costs are only recoverable for a reasonable period of time following the training course. After this period has passed, your employee may leave without any of the costs being recovered.

Do I have to pay an employee their wages when they resigned without working their notice period?

If your employee leaves without working their notice or getting your agreement to not work their notice, they may be in breach of their contract. As a first step, you should try to contact the employee to find out why they are refusing to work their notice and to see if they are willing to reconsider their decision. This may mean that you resolve a potential problem informally and quickly before it escalates and leads to legal action.

If they still refuse to work their notice and you incur additional costs, such as agency costs to find a temporary replacement, you could try to reclaim the money from them by making a civil court claim against them. This can often be more costly to you than the value of the losses you incur.

Your employee is not entitled to be paid for their notice period if they refuse to work it. However, they are usually still entitled to any outstanding pay for work already done and any outstanding holiday pay.

You can only withhold all or part of their final wage if there is a clear contractual right to do so. Some employers include a clause in their employees' contracts which permits deductions to be made from an employee's final wage if they refuse to work their notice and the employer incurs losses or additional costs as a result.

This is only relevant if your employee simply refuses to work their notice period. If they are absent because of a legitimate reason, such as sickness (and your notice periods are the same as the statutory notice period), they will still be entitled to their normal pay during their notice, and deductions for any costs you incur must not be made.

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