Training time is counted as hours worked and therefore compensable even if it occurs after normal business hours. It is compensable at the employee’s normal rate and counts toward overtime if the employee exceeds 40 hours in that week. If an employer has an established training rate, it could pay the training time at a different rate; however, most employers don’t pay at a different rate. There is an exception to the requirement that the training time be paid, if all the following can be met:
- Attendance is outside the employee’s normal work hours;
- The employee’s attendance is completely voluntary (meaning attendance is not expressly or impliedly a condition of employment or advancement)
- The training is NOT directly related to the employee’s job duties
- The employee does not perform any productive work during his or her attendance.
There is also an exception for voluntary attendance at a lecture or course that is job related if the course or lecture is offered by a third party like a school or vocational institute not affiliated with the employer. For more information see the Department of Labors Bulletin on this subject.