Paid Training courses
Virtually all employers are aware that, pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), they are required to compensate employees for all hours worked.
What is not as clear, however, is whether the time an employee spends at training programs, lectures, meetings, and other similar activities should be considered hours worked. As a result, clients often ask whether they are required to compensate employees for time spent in such training activities.
Attendance is outside of the employee’s regular working hours;
Attendance is voluntary;
The training is not directly related to the employee’s job; and
The employee does not perform any productive work during the training.
This “four-factor test, ” however, is not as straightforward as it may seem. Indeed, as demonstrated by the below “Common Employer Inquiries and Responses, ” these factors contain many nuances that may make it difficult for an employer to easily determine whether training time should be compensable.
Common Employer Inquiries and Responses
i. How should an employer determine whether attendance at a training session is outside “regular working hours?”
By default, some employers interpret the term “regular working hours” to mean the, standard hours of 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. As a result, these employers automatically compensate all employees for any training that takes place during these hours, even for those who do not work this standard schedule. Such an interpretation, however, may result in significant overpayments to your employees.
The term “regular working hours” refers to the particular shift worked by an individual employee.
Thus, if an employee regularly works a shift from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., an employer would not be required to compensate her for attending a training session from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. (assuming all three other factors were satisfied), since the training session would be outside of her specific regular working hours.
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