Consultant’s Corner: Paying Employees for Training Activities

Paying Employees for Training Activities

Q. Do I have to pay employees when I require them to do training activities after hours (e.g., attend seminars, watch videos, study for tests) if it results in a promotion and pay raise after completing the training?

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We have provided labor law information and general business comments below for your consideration; however, since your GSB consultants are not lawyers and do not provide legal services, you should plan to consult your business lawyer to clarify applicable state and federal labor laws and provide legal assistance with preparing a written company policy regarding employee compensation for training meetings.

Our answer assumes that the training you are referring to is required at your discretion and is not to maintain a form of state professional license or industry certification required to qualify or maintain a therapist or other job at your business. Also, the employee classification (exempt or nonexempt) impacts training compensation requirements. For consideration with your lawyer, we have provided the following government and labor law information:

1. State labor laws.

The following labor law information indicates that your state, Louisiana, follows the federal labor laws regarding employee compensation for training time:

“Meeting, lecture, and training time

Louisiana does not have minimum wage or overtime laws and, thus, has not established when time spent by employees at meetings, lectures, and training must be counted for purposes of compensation calculations. Because most employers and employees in Louisiana are subject to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, the standards for meeting time set forth in that law typically apply.”

Business owners in a different state should check their state labor laws to see if they also defer to the federal labor laws, or if they have their own additional guidelines.

2. Exempt employees.

Generally speaking. Exempt employees do not have to be paid any additional compensation for attending after hours training meetings, as noted here:

“Is the employee an exempt employee or a nonexempt employee? If the employee is exempt—that is, an employee who meets one of the tests for not receiving overtime—then the employer may freely make the employee attend meetings outside of his or her normal working hours shift, without any additional compensation. Most salaried employees are exempt (though “salaried” and “exempt” are not the same thing, and it is possible to be paid on a salaried basis while being nonexempt and earning overtime); as a consequence, the vast majority of salaried employees can be made to work additional hours, such as by attending mandatory meetings outside their regular working hours, without being paid anything more.”

3. Nonexempt employees.

In accordance with Department of Labor (DOL) regulations promulgated under the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), when training is job related, employees must be compensated for the time spent in training even if the training takes place outside of their normal working hours. As discussed in the following labor law article, there are 4 key factors that must all be met for training time not to be compensable:

  1. Training must be outside normal working hours
  2. Training must be completely voluntary
  3. Training must not be directly related to the job
  4. Employee must not perform work for the employer during the training

Related government and labor law information:

Bill Wortman

Bill Wortman is the Chief Business Consultant for, with over 40 years of business experience. In addition to 12 years consulting small business owners, Bill’s professional career includes a big-eight CPA accounting firm, national consumer finance, big-three automotive manufacturing, Arby’s fast food, marketing, and other industries. He’s held multiple executive-level positions and fulfilled the role of CFO at large, publicly held (NYSE, NASDAQ, and AMEX) corporations. In addition, he’s been an owner of private ventures involving residential real estate development and a General Motors new car dealership.