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Employer Paid Training

If an employer requires their employees to have certain training certifications, is it the employers responsibility to pay for the training or the employees? Colorado

The way this question is phrased, it would be the employees responsibility to pay for training. There is a difference between requiring that employees have certain credentials, and requiring that employees take certain classes for the employers benefit.

Let us give you an example. Suppose SYZ Corp. has decided that every salesperson needs a bachelors degree in marketing. The employer has set a minimum qualification for the position. SYZ gives the current sales staff until 2010 to obtain that degree. The employer is under no obligation to pay for the salespeople to attend college. In 2010, the company can legitimately fire any salesperson who does not have the required credential.

The courts have found this to be true, partly because the credential — in this case, the bachelors degree — benefits the employee. A salesperson at SYZ who obtains a degree will have many more employment prospects, at a variety of companies, than a salesperson without a degree.

However, suppose that SYZ is introducing new software called Silvermine to track contacts and sales calls. SYZ requires that all sales employees attend a training class on the new software, and become proficient in it. They may even require a certificate of completion of the course. SYZ must pay for this class. That is partly because the class is mandatory — any salesperson who does not attend will be terminated. It is also because the class is being held during work hours. But it is also because the training is to benefit the employer — the employee is learning how to use SYZs specific software, a skill they probably will not be able to use at most other employers.

So there is a difference between the employer requiring an employee to take a specific class, and the employer setting certain qualifications for the job.

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This entry was posted on Friday, February 13th, 2009 at 8:25 am and is filed under
Employment Training, Human Resources Management.
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12 Responses to “Employer Paid Training”

  1. Marcie Says:

    As a followup to this topic, what if the training is required by an outside agency… such as the state. For example in a child care setting, the state requires that employees receive 10 hours of training a year. Is the employer required to pay for that training?

  2. Caitlin Says:

    Marcie! No, the employer is not required to pay for this training. If the employer set a mandatory time for the training, and required every employee to attend that particular class on that date, then the employer would have to pay for it. But if the employer simply says *you need to be certified* then the employee — not the employer — pays for the training. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Caitlin

  3. Tasha Gotthard Says:

    Hi there, awesome site. I thought the topics you posted on were very interesting

  4. Caitlin Says:

    Thanks for reading the blogs,Tasha!~ Caitlin

  5. tommy Says:

    Just wanted to say I really liked the site. You have really put a lot of time into your posts and it is just great!

  6. Caitlin Says:

    Check back often, tommy! We post 5 days per week!~ Caitlin

  7. Diane Says:

    I am a paraeducator in PA. I have worked for the my district for 12 years. Recently I have been told the state requires I have to have 20 hours of training every school year. Does the district have to pay me for these hours because they are mandatory?

  8. Caitlin Says:

    Hi Diane! No, if the school district permits you to determine when and where you will attend classes to fulfil this requirement, then they are not obligated to pay you for this time. The 20 hours are a minimum educational requirement for the position. The employer is not required to pay you for this training, any more than a hospital has to pay tuition to send the doctors to medical school.

    If the employer scheduled the classes, and told you when and where you would attend, and made attendance at that specific time and place mandatory, then the employer would have to pay you for attending the class. HTH, and thanks for reading the blogs!~ Amelia

  9. Jennifer Says:

    If my employer placed on my annual evaluation that I would achieve a certification by “xxxx” date, would they need to pay for either the classes for verification or the materials for me to study by?

  10. hrlady Says:

    Hi Jennifer,

    No, your employer would not need to pay for the certification or required materials. The reason being is your employer is stating that for your position they require you to have XXXX certification and they are giving you to this date to complete the certification.

    Thank you for reading the

  11. Lorrie Says:

    The state requires a certain amount of training hours every year for the employees, does the employer have to pay for the training hours and for the cost of the training?

  12. hrlady Says:

    Hi Lorrie,

    Federal rules state that your employer may be required to pay you, for time not working. Employers are required to pay their workers for time that is spent under the employer’s control and for the benefit of the employer. In regards to training and education, in most situations, if your employer sends you to a seminar, lecture or other learning/training session, you will be required to receive wages for the time spent for training.

    You should check with the Human Resource department regarding payment of wages for the state training.

    Thank you for reading the

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