EMPLOYEE TRAINING PROGRAMS « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


When Employers Must Compensate for Worker Education

Must an employer pay a worker for the latter’s training hours?  Like most areas of employment law, the answer is: “It depends.”   The basic question is whether an employee is pursuing that training a) to become more knowledgeable and skilled at his/her current position (in which case, the employer must pay for those hours); or b) to become knowledgeable or skilled at another, advanced position, either at the company or elsewhere (in which case, it is possible employer may not have to pay for those hours). A safe rule-of-thumb is that a business will almost certainly be required to compensate an employee for hours spent training unless such training meets all of these criteria:

  • The activity occurs outside of regular working hours;
  • The employee knows and acknowledges attendance is voluntary;
  • The training is conducted through a separate vendor and preferably outside the employer’s premises;
  • The seminar, course or meeting is not directly related to the employee’s current job; and
  • The employee does not perform any labor that directly benefits the employer during such an activity, i.e., the work done during training is for practice and not to produce or to support the production of the employer’s goods or services.

The absence of any one of these factors could require employee compensation.  For example, even if the employee is not required to attend the training, the company will have to compensate that worker if that training is offered during that employee’s normal working hours.

The full rules can be complicated.  The review of an experienced employment attorney a good idea when structuring employee training programs.