Compensability of Job-Related Training

By James Denis

May. 4, 2009

The Department of Labor has issued an opinion letter addressing whether, under the FLSA, an employer must compensate employees for time spent outside of normal working hours at their home completing Web-based classes to prepare for a voluntary training class.

The question was posed to the Labor Department by a company that employs technicians who install, monitor and service voice and data communications circuits, and use a networking system manufactured by Tellabs. The company hired Tellabs to teach a training class to some of the technicians regarding its new and advanced features. Tellabs required those technicians taking the training class to complete four Web-based classes, which took approximately 10 hours, on their own time, in their own homes. Technicians who completed the class were able to perform job duties more proficiently by using the advanced features.

The Labor Department’s regulations provide that certain training activities need not be treated as hours worked if the following four criteria are met: (a) attendance is outside the employee’s regular working hours; (b) attendance is in fact voluntary; (c) the course, lecture or meeting is not directly related to the employee’s job; and (d) the employee does not perform any productive work during such attendance.

Based on these regulations, the Labor Department determined that although the prerequisite Web-based classes met the criteria in (a), (b) and (d), it did not meet the criteria in (c). Because the company stated that the class would make the technicians better able to perform their jobs, the training and prerequisite classes were directly related to the technicians’ jobs, and time spent completing the classes is compensable. FLSA2009-13 (1/15/09).

Impact: Employers are advised that job-related training is compensable if required as a condition of employment or continued employment. In determining whether time devoted to training must be paid, careful consideration should be given to applicable regulations.

Workforce Management, April 6, 2009, p. 10Subscribe Now!


blog workforce

We build robust scheduling & attendance software for businesses with 500+ frontline workers. With custom BI reporting and demand-driven scheduling, we help our customers reduce labor spend and increase profitability across their business. It's as simple as that.

Book a call
See the software

Related Articles

workforce blog


Exempt vs. non-exempt employees: knowing the difference

Summary Employees are exempt from FLSA requirements when they meet specific exemption criteria based on...

Department of Labor, exempt employees, Misclassification, non-exempt employees

workforce blog

Employee Engagement

12 practical employee appreciation ideas for better engagement and retention

Summary Showing appreciation to your employees improves engagement and retention. There are 12 practica...

employee appreciation, engagement, HR, raccoons

workforce blog


California fast food workers bill: why it’s more than meets the eye and how to prepare

Summary: California signs bill establishing a “fast food council” that has the power to raise the indus...