We are requiring some nonexempt hourly employees to attend after hours training. The training is related to their jobs, and is mandatory. Should these employees get paid for their training time?
Training programs conducted during regular working hours constitute work time and must be compensated as such, according to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
After-hours training need not be compensated if:
- Attendance is entirely outside normal working hours and is voluntary (attendance will not be found voluntary if the employee is led to believe that attending is critical to his or her job).
- The training is not directly related to the employee’s present job.
- The employee does not do any productive work during the program.
A training program is considered directly related to the job if the training is designed to help the employee handle the present job more effectively (but voluntary attendance at school outside the workplace, after hours is not work time, even if it is related to the employee’s present job).
Time spent in training for a new job or in the development of new skills is less likely to be classified as compensable work time.
Given what you’ve told us (that the training is mandatory and related to the employees’ jobs), it is likely that a court would deem it compensable time.