Ask the Experts: Pay for Training

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September 24, 2019
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September 30, 2019

Question: Our employees are required to attend sexual harassment prevention training. Do we need to pay for their time at training?

Answer: If an employer requires attendance at a training, then it generally must be paid. While this training may often be directed because of a state law, it is ultimately an employer-directed activity. 

Department of Labor guidance is that trainings and work events can only be non-work time (unpaid under the Fair Labor Standards Act) if all four of the following criteria are met:

  • The training occurs outside of the employee’s normal work hours;
  • The training is completely voluntary (there will be no company-initiated consequences if the employee does not attend);
  • The training is not specifically job-related (it may be tangentially related to their job, such as most continuing education, but cannot be specific to how they do their job on a day-to-day basis); and
  • No work for the employer is performed during the training (e.g., reading or replying to email or requests).

Given these criteria, nearly all harassment prevention training will be paid time.

If possible, we recommend that you offer sexual harassment prevention training during regular working hours so that you can easily track and pay for the time. Providing the training during the workday also sends the message that you value the training and are serious about preventing harassment in the workplace.

ThinkHR Can Help

Watch an on-demand webinar on the latest in state sexual harassment laws. ThinkHR customers can download a chart explaining sexual harassment prevention laws for each state that imposes them from Comply. Compliant training courses are also available.

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