Q. When an employee needs on-the-job training, can the employer establish a "training period" during which it would not be necessary to pay the minimum wage and overtime?
A. No. The law does not recognize unpaid on-the-job training time. "Training time" is considered a cost of doing business for an employer. Q. If I require my employees to attend monthly staff meetings outside regular work hours, do I have to pay them for the time spent in the meeting?
A. Yes. Anytime an employer requires an employee´s attendance that time must be considered as hours worked, even though the employee may not be engaged in a productive work activity. Q. If I require an employee to attend a company-paid class or seminar to improve job performance, do I also have to pay the employee for hours spent in class?
A. Yes. If you require attendance, you must pay the employee for hours spent in class. Q. When would I not have to pay for such training time?
A. An employer does not have to pay for time spent in lectures, meetings or training programs if the following four criteria are met:
- Attendance is on employee´s own initiative (voluntary in nature).
- Attendance takes place outside an employee´s regular work hours.
- The training provided is not directly related to an employee´s current job.
- An employee does not perform any productive work during the course of the training. See 29 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 785.
Q. Is it possible to encourage training by offering financial assistance without incurring liability for payment of wages for hours spent in class?
A. Yes. Federal law recognizes special exceptions in which the criteria listed in the question above would not have to be met in full. For example, an employer-established program of instruction that corresponds with a program offered by an accredited institution of higher learning, such as a community college would qualify as an exception. Voluntary attendance by the employee, outside of working hours need not be compensated as hours worked.
Q. If I hire an apprentice, do I have to pay for hours that the employee is required to spend in class under the apprenticeship agreement or program?
A. No. Time spent in classes of supplemental instruction required under a "bona fide apprenticeship agreement" is not considered compensable time if no productive work time is performed by the apprentice.
A bona fide program is one that is recognized by and meets the standards of the Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training of the U.S. Department of Labor in conjunction with the Apprenticeship and Training Division of the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries.
Nothing on this website is intended as legal advice. Any responses to specific questions are based on the facts as we understand them, and not intended to apply to any other situations. This communication is not an agency order. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney. We attempt to update the information on this website as soon as practicable following changes or developments in the laws and rules affecting Oregon employers, but we make no warranties or representations, express or implied, about whether the information provided is current. We urge you to check the applicable statutes and administrative rules yourself and to consult with legal counsel prior to taking action that may invoke employee rights or employer responsibilities or omitting to act when required by law to act.
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