From the HR Support Center: Do We Have to Pay Employees for Time Spent at Outside Training Courses?

From the HR Support Center: Do We Have to Pay Employees for Time Spent at Outside Training Courses?

Yes, you will most likely be required to pay for the hours an employee spends at a training course and those hours must count toward any overtime calculation.

The time that employees spend in training courses is considered hours worked unless all four of the following criteria are met:

• Attendance at the course is outside regular working hours;
• Attendance is completely voluntary;
• The course is not directly job-related; and
• The employee does not perform any productive work during the course.

To determine whether the training is “directly job-related,” you must ascertain whether the purpose of the course is to make the employee more efficient and effective in their current position. If the training is intended to develop the employee for an advancement opportunity or is for college credit, it most likely can be excluded from the “directly job-related” category.

As a side note, it is permissible to pay employees at a lower rate for training time (as long as that training rate meets or exceeds minimum wage). However, to do so, you must notify the employee in writing of the pay rate the company will use for training hours. The required notice period varies from state to state.

The HR Support Center is a service offered to Payroll Partners clients, and provides access to exclusive, industry-leading HR tools and resources, for just a few dollars a month. From employee handbooks, job descriptions and other commonly used HR documents, to up-to-the-minute law alerts, easy-to-understand state and federal law libraries, and unique training videos, the HR Support Center will help you effectively manage your HR compliance and employee relations needs.

Legal Disclaimer: Payroll Partners and/or the HR Support Center are not engaged in the practice of law. The content in this email should not be construed as legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you have legal questions concerning your situation or the information you have obtained, you should consult with a licensed attorney. Payroll Partners and/or the HR Support Center cannot be held legally accountable for actions related to this article.