Table of Contents

Table of Contents

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When employees start a new job, the onboarding process includes training. Do you understand how to go about paying employees while in training? This article dives into training pay and how employees should be paid while in training.

What Is Training Pay?

Training pay is the pay that employees are paid while in training. This can include training prior to starting the job, training as a new hire, or additional training as an employee.

Factors That Determine Training Pay

Whether employees get paid or not during training can be tricky. Here are some factors to consider whether or not an employee should be paid:

Training Is Required

When an employee is required to complete training, payment is required for their time. This type of training could include safety training, watching training videos prior to starting a job, etc. However, if a voluntary webinar is provided to an employee and they decide to participate in the webinar, an employer is not required to pay them.

Training Is Not Work Related

If an employee participates in training that isn’t work-related, an employer is not required to pay them. For example, your team at work may decide to take a self-defense class as a team bonding experience. Since this isn’t work-related, this isn’t training that an employer would be required to pay.

Training Occurs Outside Regular Working Hours

Another factor to consider is if the training occurs during or outside of regular working hours. If a training is given directly during business hours and is work-related, it is likely required that the employer pay the employee for their training time.

Training Involves Productive Work

The last factor to consider is if there is productive work taking place during this training. If an employee performs any kind of work for a company during training, they should be compensated for their time. Productive work can be interpreted in many ways, but should be considered when paying employees training pay.

Laws Regarding Training Pay

When it comes to training pay, employers need to follow strict laws for paying their employees for their time. Here are some laws to be aware of regarding training pay. Each state might be different, so refer to your state’s labor laws. Each state’s labor laws can be found at the Department of Labor’s website.

Time Spent Training

For the state of Utah, according to UT Admin. Rule 610-1-2, an employer is required to count all time spent by employees in meetings or training as hours employed if the employees are required to attend. This includes training given prior to starting work, done outside of business hours, or during a lunch break if it is a requirement for employees to attend. An employee should be paid for all of this time.

Attending a Paid Training

If an employer requires employees to participate in a training that has associated costs, depending on the state, the employer is required to pay for the training. In California, for example, employers are required to reimburse employees for training they attend. For example, if an employer wants an employee to attend a sales training, the employer can’t require the employee to spend money on the required training. Regardless of your state, an employee always needs to be compensated for the time they spend being trained. For example, if the training takes 6 hours, the employee should be paid for the entirety of the 6 hours.

Youth Minimum Wage

One law is important to be aware of when training employees under the age of 20. Employees younger than 20 can be paid $4.25 an hour, below the federal minimum wage, during their first 90 days. This is authorized by the FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) and is called youth minimum wage. After 90 days, employers need to follow minimum wage guidelines set by their state and the federal government.

Exceptions to Training Pay Rules

Training pay rules are typically pretty straightforward, but here are some exceptions to consider:

Youth Minimum Wage

As was addressed in the previous section, youth minimum wage is the most common exception when it comes to training pay rules. Employees under 20 can be paid at a rate of $4.25/hour during their first 90 days.

Independent Training

If an employee decides to go above and beyond the required training for their profession, no pay is required. This is referred to as the independent training exception. This law can be found under 785.30 of the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. For example, an employee may decide to get certification to better understand their work and profession. Some companies might still offer to pay employees for their time towards this training out of goodwill, but it is not required.

Special Situations

Another exception to be aware of is voluntary training outside of working hours when the training could have been done during working hours. For example, payment isn’t required if an employee is watching a webinar or training videos outside of regular working hours if time was provided during regular business working hours to watch those videos or participate in the training. This falls under 785.21 – special situations exception of the electronic code of federal regulations.

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Questions You’ve Asked Us About Training Pay

This is not required, but some companies do this. Also, some companies wait for a 90 day period before paying an employee more.
Yes, it is illegal to not pay employees for the time they work, including during training. Not following this law can lead to legal consequences, including a fine up to $1,000.

Tanner has over 4 years of HR professional experience in various fields of HR. He has experience in hiring, recruiting, employment law, unemployment, onboarding, outboarding, and training to name a few. Most of his experience comes from working in the Professional Employer and Staffing Industries. He has a passion for putting people in the best position to succeed and really tries to understand the different backgrounds people come from.

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