Doesn’t mandatory company training need to be paid?

UPDATED: Aug 2, 2011

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Doesn’t mandatory company training need to be paid?

I recently signed up to work security at a special event that lasts around 3 weeks. I filled out all the paperwork, was photographed for an ID card, and was told that I was hired as a supervisor with an hourly rate of $18. I was then directed to attend a 3 hour training session as a condition of employment. This session was conducted at an annex of the local company office, and was run by the Director of Special Events for the company. It was job specific as to uniforms, hours, entry to the site, decorum etc. It was attended, in different sessions, by over 500. Attendees have not yet done any actual work but have been hired. Are we entitled to get paid?

Asked on August 2, 2011 New York


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

All time spent by an employee performing activities which are job-related is potentially "work time". And work time is paid time. Accordingly, most training time is time for which an employee must be paid.

Specifically, all training time is work time if it occurs during an employee's regular shift or if it is required by the employer. However, training time need not be counted as work time if it:

  1. occurs outside of an employee's normal work schedule,
  2. is truly voluntary (i.e. no direct or indirect pressure on the employee to attend),
  3. not directly related to the employee's current job (i.e. the training is designed to qualify them to get a new job and not to enhance the skills used by them on the existing job), and
  4. the employee does no other work during the training.

Since attending this training session was a condition of employment, it was mandatory and therefore time for which you should have been compensated.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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