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‘Employment Training’ Category



If a non-exempt employee takes a work-related class (for example a once/twice weekly evening class that will end in a job-specific certification), do they have to be paid for the time they spend in class? I should note that participation in the class and the subsequent certifcation are completely voluntary, and would take place at a local school. The state is Ohio. The company would be paying all fees.

No, you do not have to pay this employee for time spent in class.

Under the federal FLSA and many state minimum wage laws, any time spent in mandatory training must be paid. By the same token, an employee must be paid for any training that is specific to your company. If the employee was spending 5 hours per week learning about a software program used only by your company, he would be entitled to payment for that time. However, that is not the case here.

This training is optional, and the employee has the right to decline it without losing his job or being penalized on a performance evaluation. He is voluntarily taking the class to improve his skills and gain a certification. He will then take that certification with him if he chooses to leave the company. Under these circumstances, the employee is not entitled to payment for attending the class.

Your company is very generously paying the tuition for this class, but you are not required to also pay the employee for his time.

Again, if the class were mandatory or the training was specific to your company, the answer would be different.

January 6th, 2012, 9:13 AM |  Posted in: Employment Training |
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Wage question

If an employee shows up for the first day for orientation with intent on not taking the position, is the company obligated to pay that time? At the time of resignation, the employee admitted to accepting a job elsewhere prior to the start of orientation.

Yes, you are required to pay this employee. The federal FLSA requires that an employer pay workers for all time worked. This includes time the employee is “permitted or suffered” to work. Orientation counts as time worked, because the employees presence on company premises is required. It is company-specific training, and again, employees are entitled to payment for such training.

The various state minimum wage laws also require that employees be paid for all time worked.

There is no requirement under these laws that the employees motives must be pure. The employees intentions are irrelevant. He attended orientation, and he must be paid for that time. We agree that this employee behaved badly — but that does not permit the employer to violate state and federal labor laws. The old adage “two wrongs do not make a right” applies here.

December 19th, 2011, 4:05 AM |  Posted in: Employment Training, Human Resources Management |
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Unpaid Training Time

An employee required to do training for 2 hours a week is not paid for the time spend in training. Training place is at and on work site. In building where they work. Location of business is in the Dallas Ft Worth area. Is this legal?

This is not legal if the employee is truly required by the employer to attend this specific training class. Under the federal FLSA, when training is company-specific, it must be paid. An employee must be paid even for training that is not company-specific, when the employee is required to attend a specific class — that is, when the employer dictates when and where the training will take place. However, the employer is not required to pay employees for optional training, even if that training is conducted on company property.

Some examples:

Trina must be trained on her employers computer software, and she must be certified in CPR to qualify for her job as a taxi dispatcher. Time spent training on the company software must be paid, because it is specific to that employer. Even if Trina did some of the training online from home, this is work time and she must be paid for it.

In addition, the employer requires that Trina be certified in CPR to hold her job. Trina has the option to obtain this CPR certification wherever and whenever she likes, but she must obtain it within the first 90 days of employment or lose her job. The employer is not required to pay Trina for this training, because it is general training that applies to many jobs and Trina is free to obtain it wherever she wants. When the employee has flexibility in when and where training is obtained, the employer is not required to pay workers for the training.

Even if the employer scheduled a CPR class to be held on their premises, and suggested that Trina attend it, they would not be required to pay her for the training.

However, if the employer told Trina, “You are required to attend our CPR class held on Saturday at 10 am. We will not accept any CPR certification from any other class” then the employer is making that training session mandatory, and must pay Trina for that time.

Many employers offer enrichment classes or optional training on their premises, including computer classes and English as a Second Language or ESL classes. If the employee is required to attend, the employer must pay the worker for their time. However, many companies offer optional classes. Attendance may benefit the employees career, but is not mandatory. In that case, the employer is not required to pay employees for the class, even if it is conducted on company property.

October 1st, 2011, 6:08 AM |  Posted in: Employment Training, Human Resources Management |
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Custom and Practice

Our IT policy states that we can not use the Internet or computers for personal reasons. However, everyone including the IT director does. How does custom and practice impact this policy?

This is a less than ideal situation, but may companies have policies that are not enforced, for whatever reason. Every employer should enforce policies equitably. The same rules should apply to the IT director as to a receptionist, salesperson or any other employee. As long as you never enforce the rule that the Internet or computers are not to be used for personal reasons, that is lawful. Problems would arise if you strictly enforced this policy for Hispanic workers, but allowed all other employees to use the Internet and computers for personal use. In fact, if you fire any employee under this policy, you will probably be accused of illegal discrimination because employees of another sex, race, color, religion and national ancestry have been allowed to violate the policy without consequences.

However, you can enforce parts of your company Internet policy even if other parts are not enforced. For example, you may have a policy forbidding employees from viewing online porn at work or from gambling online on company time. You can still enforce these policies, as long as you do so consistently against all employees.

Obviously, the best practice would be to change the policy to reflect the reality of your workplace practices.

September 21st, 2011, 5:05 AM |  Posted in: Employment Training, Human Resources Management |
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Can I hold a 1 day unpaid training for new hires?

Can i request that new hires come in one day for an unpaid training day which will consist of learnng the materials for the job as well as job duties?

No. Any training that is specific to your company or specific to this job is work, and the employee must be paid for it. This is true of orientation, computer training, on-the-job training, learning materials for the job and learning specific job duties. Federal and state minimum wage laws including the FLSA require that employees be paid for all time worked. Job-specific or company-specific training is time worked, under those laws.

You can certainly require that new hires come in to train for one or more days. However, you must pay them at least the minimum wage for that time.

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