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Is Training Bond Illegal?

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Is Training Bond Illegal?

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Old 20th Dec 2004, 14:50
  #1 (permalink)  
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Question Is Training Bond Illegal?

I have been told that any kind of training bond is illegal. Any country who is a member of the United Nations also falls under the International Labour Law which there is suppose to be a quote (I can't personally find it yet) calling training bond "Slaved Bond". I'd appreciate if any of you out there could share opinion or knowledge regarding this matter. Thanks.
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Old 20th Dec 2004, 15:17
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I don't have chapter and verse on this, but I understand that a bond is legally unenforceable, BUT it is likely that many companies won't give you any kind of reference afterwards, if they want to be ars*y you may not get a security reference.

Many people seem to pay them off just to keep life simple.
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Old 20th Dec 2004, 17:35
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I think you might be deluding yourselves. If you enter into any form of contract it is your responsibility to understand what the terms are before you sign to enable the proposal to become a contract.

Certain types of contract can, depending upon the representation that was given at the time of entering into the contract, possibly be deemed to be unfair for different reasons, however you might need to convince a Judge that was indeed the case. In establishing such a case, your argued merits would have to be based on established law or likely to set a new precedent. In either case it would normally be a very long shot and almost certainly a very expensive one.

Best advice is to read and understand the terms of what you are proposing to enter into before contracting. If in any doubt seek proper legal advice before signing rather than after. The purpose of a bond or indeed any contract is to ensure that it is legally enforcable in the event of default of one or ( not necessarily and ) the other party.
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Old 20th Dec 2004, 17:47
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Probably legal (certainly in UK) but to be enforceable the bond must be fair and reasonable in its size and associated terms. The Courts would take a very dim view of any Company which had sought in enforce an unrealistic figure - the Company would have to prove every last penny should the Court so wish it to do so.
Historically very few cases have ever got close to the courtrooms - often an agreement is reached at the last moment, neither side wishing to go into the legal arena.

Probably the greatest threat to the pilot is the potential for the Company he is seeking to leave being in contact with his prospective new employer. The airlines of course expect undying loyalty from their own pilots but at the same time expect a new recruit to jump ship at the first opportunity.

It would be interesting to hear from a qualified lawyer on this one - failing that seek advive from BALPA or IPA/IPF - it is after all a VERY old chestnut...................
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Old 22nd Dec 2004, 16:26
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Interesting about the 'size & reasonable terms' of the bond. Fortunately, I never had need to test it, but I was wildly [email protected]#$%d off be interviewed for a UK airline in April; find that colleagues at the same interview had joined in June on an X bond, only for me to join in September on a 2X bond. Same training, same everything. A brick wall awaited me in the C.P & HR offices when I tried to discover why.

There was one company who's bond read "...you will be charged for your training costs etc etc." When numerous people left the bond was attempted to be invoked. A fixed price was quoted for everyone, but it was obvious that each pilot had incurred different costs due to different hours on the a/c for base training & line training etc. Thus each individual asked for an itemised bill for their bond, as had been stated in the bond; "your training costs." The company could not do so to the satisfaction of a judge and the whole matter was dropped. Perhaps the fact that these lucky guys were leaving a sinking charter ship and moving to the luxury liner of the local major meant they had time and support for the whole affair, and didn't give a rat's [email protected]#e for references. They already had the job and the major enjoyed shaffting the charter opposition.
So, it would seem that unless the bond included a specific amount, which they could show to be less than your training costs, you might have a case. I wonder what the case would be if the bond was higher than your training costs? I know of one airline that has tried that!!
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Old 22nd Dec 2004, 20:55
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In the UK they are any bond is un-enforceable in law after the Bosman ruling in football. This made any employer unable to restrict the movement of employees to better and other employment or career changes.
Most companies will try it on and threaten you with legal action, but the chances of them suceeding are almost nil. So you have to sign the agreement in the full knowledge that you may not honour it, or miss out on the benefit of training. Not a good situation IMHO.
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Old 23rd Dec 2004, 06:42
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Sorry to disagree don't wannabe but I think that is a combination of wishful thinking and confusing the issue. A simple explanation of the Bosman ruling can be found here .

This case was elevated from the Belgian Courts to the European Court of Justice and related to restrictions imposed on a football players movements by his club, and the games governing bodies at that time.

In the case of a training bond in the UK, the applicable law is likely to be contracts law. An employer is not restricting the movement of an individual but potentially demanding reimbursement of the training costs for that individual. Such action would be very difficult if there was no contract in effect. In the case of a "training bond" there is a contract in effect. This contract would presumably have been signed by the employee and would therefore on the face of it commit the employee to the terms contained therein.

In practice this is no different than the employer insisting the individual pay for the necessary training that enables him to be in the position to be considered fully qualified to be offered specific employment. If the individual instead chose to borrow the money from a bank to place himself in that same position a contract (loan) would presumably also be entered into and would also be enforcable in the case of default.

If an individual wishes to break a bond or in other words terminate the contract, they should always be able to do so by satisfying the contract or with terms that may be included for early termination. This is no different than with most other contracts. Only if the employer then sought to restrict the movement of the individual might your example have merit.

I am not saying I agree with this practice, because I don't, however people need to have a clear understanding of what they are doing before entering into a contract. It would be disingenuous to suggest that it is OK to sign a contract under the illusion that the same contract might be unenforceable in the event of default. In any event, if you have any doubt at all, take your contract to a lawyer for proper advice.

As a matter of interest, which part of Article 48 allows you to be forgiven the costs of training that you have contracted for ?

For reference Article 48 of the Treaty of Rome states :

Article 48.
1. Freedom of movement for workers shall be secured within the Community by the end of the transitional period at the latest.
2. Such freedom of movement shall entail the abolition of any discrimination based on nationality between workers of the Member States as regards employment, remuneration and other conditions of work and employment.
3. It shall entail the right, subject to limitations justified on grounds of public policy, public security or public health:
(a) to accept offers of employment actually made;
(b) to move freely within the territory of Member States for this purpose;
(c) to stay in a Member State for the purpose of employment in accordance with the provisions governing the employment of nationals of that State laid down by law, regulation or administrative action;
(d) to remain in the territory of a Member State after having been employed in that State, subject to conditions which shall be embodied in implementing regulations to be drawn up by the Commission.
4. The provisions of this Article shall not apply to employment in the public service.
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Old 27th Dec 2004, 23:07
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In Canada, 9 out of 10 provinces do not recognise training bonds (Slave Contracts). The only one that does is Alberta, but only if the period covered will extend guaranteed employment.


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Old 27th Dec 2004, 23:55
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Not quite sure why they would be referred to as 'Slave Bonds' Offshoreigor?

The bonds that I am familiar with don't involve any payments from the trainee during the bonded period, they are only an agreed notional (and usually reducing sum), to cover the costs of training and only become serious cash if the trainee/employee leaves before the agreed period is up.

As Bealzebub has pointed out, quite clearly, they are a simple contract between employer and employee/trainee to ensure that the employee gets a reasonable return on their investment in an individual, they don't restrict movement, (slaves were restricted). An employee is free to go anytime, just so long as they honour their contract and pay for any outstanding balance of their training costs as they agreed to when they joined.

I know of a few people who have 'jumped ship' and been successfully sued by the employer, in the employees home country, for the balance of bond, and quite a few others who visited the office and came to an amicable agreement over the final sum and method of payment.

The bottom line is, if you accept the deal you should expect to honour it.
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Old 28th Dec 2004, 00:13
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My wife is an employment lawyer, and she tells me the important word here is "reasonable".

As long as a bond to cover training costs, is only for the actual cost of the training, it is reasonable. If they ask for more than they have paid out for the training, that is not reasonable, and should invalidate the bond.
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Old 28th Dec 2004, 00:23
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Would it invalidate the entire bond or just that amount considered to be OTT?

Is the court allowed to impose what amounts to pecuniary penalties if they consider the employee is overcharging? How would a court quantify this or is it simply left to their discretion.

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Old 28th Dec 2004, 00:34
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I believe the whole bond would be invalidated. In the end it would be down to the wording of the contract.

Sadly, nothing is ever that straightforward in law, whatever some PPruners might tell you. That's why she gets paid bucketloads to tell people that she doesn't know the answer!!!
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Old 28th Dec 2004, 15:26
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Arrow Training bonds

Blue 1 (Old Air Botnia) insist on a training bond. I have been told that for their BAE RJ or what that 4 engined thing is called it is 3 years and 40 000 Euros.

Fair? For a type rating that is virtually useless as there are very few BAE146/RJ operators around I think this is absolutely crazy.

A self sponsored rating on a B737NG can amount to as much as 30 000 Euros. However when most of the training is done inhouse with own instructors it seems that Blue 1 is making money on the expense of their employees.

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Old 30th Dec 2004, 11:48
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Not sure about the legality of bonds but in the Uk don't the government give tax relief/benefits on training costs?

If so this would have to be taken into account when calculating the amount owed.
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