Is an employer required to pay an employee for training hours, such as orientation, documentation training, etc?

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Is an employer required to pay an employee for training hours, such as orientation, documentation training, etc?

I was recently hired by a counseling center as a “billable hour” employee. I have been informed I need to attend orientation, documentation training, submit a smaple treatment plan, and attend certain additional trainings in order to maintain my position with the agency but that they will not pay me for any of the time because it is not billable hours spent with clients. I thought I had to be paid my hourly rate, or at least minimum wage if I was required by an employer to attend any trainings in order to continue employment?

Asked on June 22, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

From what you write, you are correct: orientation, training, and meetings which are required by the employer are all "work" and you must be paid for it. (This is to distinguish them from voluntarily seeking some credential or degree which will not only help you in this job but help your career more generally--such is not work time for purposes of paying wages unless the employer voluntarily chooses to pay you.) It does not matter whether your employer can bill these hours or be paid for them--any time an employee does tasks for his or her employer's benefit which the employer instructs the worker to do, that is work time for which the worker must be paid, even if it is not profitable for the employer.


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