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Off-hours training: Paid or unpaid?

by on
in Human Resources,Overtime Labor Laws

Q. We are requiring some hourly employees to take additional training. Those who work the day shift can attend the training in lieu of work. But employees who work the night shift will have to come in during the day. Must we pay extra for the night shift employees to attend the training? — J.L., Montana

A. Probably yes, if the training is mandatory. In general, time spent attending employer-sponsored training programs is compensable.

However, U.S. Department of Labor regulations provide for an exception, saying: “Attendance at lectures, meetings, training programs and similar activities need not be counted as working time if the following four criteria are met: (a) Attendance is outside of the employee’s regular working hours; (b) Attendance is in fact voluntary; (c) The course, lecture, or meeting is not directly related to the employee’s job; and (d) The employee does not perform any productive work during such attendance.” (29 C.F.R. § 785.27)  

In this case, the employer would have to pay because attendance is not voluntary. The regulations clearly say “Attendance is not voluntary ... if it is required by the employer.”

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

darel r maxwell January 16, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Would this be a required pay if training or in my case, certifications, that are required of me as a merchandiser in order to accept work assignments I am eployed as part-time hourly wage merchandiser for Driveline Retail Solutions in Taylorville, IN, however I actually live and work in Ulysses, KS. This position has 0 benefits. I do all my employment through my home computer. I have 8 city locations assigned to me that I use my personal vehicle for transportation. I have taken and passed several required certifications on my own time. My company documents my completed review(s) and completed test(s) with a date/time stamp however I have never received compensation. I would appreciate a private reply as I have named my employer hoping that it might enlighten you as to my inquiry.

I appreciate your time today!
I look forward to hearing from you via email,


Darel R Maxwell
Driveline Rep

PS: I am a big fan and follower of this web-site, tons of education, I read it everyday!


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