Q. Are employers required to pay employees their hourly wages when they are assigned to attend training classes? Our employees travel from Colorado Springs to Denver and are not paid or reimbursed for their travel time. They also are not paid during the two- or three-day training course. Employees travel to and from the training daily. If the employee does not stay with the company for one year and one day after completion of the training, the employee is required to reimburse the employer for the school. Are these practices legal?
A. I assume from your question that you work in a covered industry subject to Colorado Minimum Wage Order No. 24 and are not in an exempt position. The wage order states that most training classes and travel to those classes would count as “time worked” requiring compensation.
With respect to training classes, the wage order provides:
Attendance at Training, Lectures, Meetings, Seminars, and Educational Programs
All such employee activities are generally treated as compensable unless all of the following four conditions are met: (1) Attendance is outside of the employee’s regular working hours; (2) Attendance is in fact voluntary; (3) The course, lecture, meeting, or activity is not directly related to the employee’s job; (4) The employee does not perform any productive work during such attendance.
With respect to travel time, the wage order states:
All travel time spent at the control or direction of an employer, excluding normal home to work travel, shall be considered as time worked.
Applying these regulations (assuming you work in a covered industry and are not exempt), it would appear that both the training class time and the travel time should be counted as work time and compensated accordingly. As for the reimbursement requirement, that is simply a matter of the agreement between the employer and the employee.
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