Q. If our organization offers voluntary training to our employees and the training takes place during their lunch hour, do we have to pay the employees for the time spent attending the training?
A. You don’t have to pay for opting to take voluntary training during lunch if three conditions are met: (1) the training must be truly voluntary; (2) employees must be relieved of all work responsibilities during that time; and (3) the training must not be “directly related” to the employee’s job, meaning that it's not designed to make the employee handle his or her job more effectively as distinguished from training him or her for another job or a new skill. (29 C.F.R. 785.27-785.29)
If the employee is led to believe that not attending the training will have an adverse effect on his or her employment, then the training is not truly voluntary. should not be docked for the time spent attending training during their lunch hour.