Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an employer must pay an employee for trainings and meetings unless all of the following four factors are met:
If any of these factors are not met, the employee's attendance at the meeting or training program is compensable time which the employer must pay. Special consideration regarding the voluntariness of training must be given if the training is for certification or licensing requirements. If the training is required by the state for individual licensing in the employee's field, the voluntary requirement is likely met. However, if the training and related certification is required by the employer, the training will be deemed involuntary.
If the employer imposes discipline or other adverse employment action(s) if an employee fails to attend the meeting or training, attendance is not voluntary and the time the employee spends attending the meeting or training must be compensated. Employers are required to compensate employees even if it is the employee's understanding and/or if the employee is led to believe that the employee's working conditions and/or continued employment would be adversely affected if the employee did not attend.
For the meeting or training to be related to the employee's job and thus compensable, the meeting or training must help the employee perform his or her current job duties more effectively. If the employee attends the meeting or training to learn a new skill, the time is not considered hours worked and is not compensable under the FLSA.
If an employee attends school or other training after hours on his or her own initiative, the time spent is not considered hours worked and the employee is not entitled to compensation for the time spent, even if the course or training is related to the employee's job.
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