When a company hires new employees, training is often necessary to enable them to perform the tasks of their job. Employers must then consider whether the time spent in training counts as compensable work hours. Even though the employee is not performing the work that he or she was hired to do, and the employer is not deriving a direct benefit from the employee’s time spent in training, the new hire would not be able to do the job if he or she is not trained first. This also applies to employees that require training to adapt to changing job requirements that may take place outside normal work hours.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) employers are required to pay all employees for all hours that employees are “suffered or permitted” to work. Any time an employee is engaged in activities that primarily benefit the employer, the time is compensable even if not performed during the employee’s regular working hours. Additionally, work not requested by the employer but allowed to be performed is work time that is compensable – for example, an employee may choose to continue to work after his or her shift ends to finish a task or to correct errors.
In order to determine whether time spent in training is compensable, courts usually apply the primary beneficiary test, which looks at whether the activity being conducted is for the real benefit of the employer or the employee.
Specifically, factors that a court may consider include who benefitted most from the training, whether the training was mandated by the employer, whether the training was integral to the employee’s job duties, whether the training was required to be completed during or outside of the employee’s regular working hours, and if the employer and employee signed an agreement that the employee would need to complete some training. In cases where an employer recommends training or if employees have to undergo training to maintain a license or certification, that will most likely be compensable time.
Employers will often automatically consider time spent by employees in training as non-compensable hours under FLSA . However, there are several factors that come into play in making that determination, regardless of whether the training occurred during or after work hours. You should call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page if you were not paid for training time that you consider compensable. Our top-rated team of wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action. We will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. There are strict time limitations for filing, so it is important that you call our experienced attorneys today.