In this two-part article, a wage dispute lawyer in Tampa is covering a gray area of labor employment law: if employers should compensate their workforce for time spent traveling, training, attending seminars or work events. In the first part, we discussed many specifics in regard to travel pay. In this section, we will discuss pay during work events.
Is Your Time Attending Seminars and Work Events Covered?
Attending lectures, seminars, and other work-related events can be a tricky wage and hour topic. On one hand, your attendance can provide you with insight that helps you better perform your work. On the other, it may not be directly related to your position. Typically, whether or not the worker should be paid depends on whether or not the employee “must” attend the event.
Employers do not need to pay an employee if they can prove the following four requirements approved by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA):
1) Is the employee required to attend the event? If the event is considered voluntary, the employer does not need to compensate the employee for attending.
2) Is the event during non-working hours? This can be considered time “off-the-clock” that may not require additional compensation.
3) Is this event directly related to the employee’s position? If the employee is not fulfilling a basic job task, they should not be compensated.
4) Was the employee productive? If the employee wasn’t paying attention or productive during the event, the employer does not need to compensate them.
If the employee refuses to attend a work-related event and does not experience an adverse employment action for their absence, this confirms that their attendance was not mandatory. In other words, if the employee is not disciplined, terminated, penalized financially, or demoted, the worker retains their choice to participate.
Is Your Time Attending Training Programs Covered?
Training courses can be an excellent way for employees to obtain certifications and develop their career. Many employers request that their employees learn new skills that can foster the growth of their workforce. Again, attending training programs is a gray area of the law that comes down to a few requirements including:
- Is the program directly related to the position?: If the training course is not specifically related to the job tasks that the employee is currently performing, the employer may not need to compensate the employee for attending this program. If the training will help the worker perform their current job tasks more effectively, this should be compensated. In other words, learning a new skill doesn’t necessarily require compensation.
- Did the employee voluntarily attend?: The employer does not need to compensate an employee that elects to take educational courses or training programs independently. If the employer gives notice to the employee that they are required to attend a training program, this should be considered paid time.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.