If your employer requires you to attend trainings or workshops, it must pay you for the time you spent there in most cases. There are no specific compensation laws regarding training time in North Carolina. Instead, the state relies on the standards set by federal law. This means your employer must follow the rules about paying for trainings, meetings, and lectures as outlined in the Fair Labor Standards Act.
If you believe your employer owes you for unpaid training time in North Carolina, Gibbons Law Group can help. We can examine how the laws apply to your case, calculate how much money your employer owes you in backpay, and go over your options for recovering these unpaid training time wages. Call us today at 704-612-0038 for your free case review. We may be able to help you get the money you deserve.
When Is Training Unpaid?
There are only a few rare conditions when an employee would not receive payment for attending a work-related meeting, training, or workshop. The only time your employer can legally refuse to pay you for training time occurs when:
- The event occurs outside of your regular work hours;
- You do not have to go, and not attending will not impact current your job;
- It is unrelated to your job; and
- You complete no work tasks during this time
A training must meet all four of these factors before your employer can deny you pay for the hours you spend attending the lecture or workshop. Even if you legally must complete a course in order to receive or retain a certification, your employer may not have to pay you as long as the training meets these criteria.
For example, imagine a server wants to learn to bartend to take shifts behind the bar at work. As a part of this training, she will need to complete the Responsible Alcohol Seller Program as required under North Carolina law. If this training meets all the criteria, her employer does not have to pay her for the time spent in this training. The law requires the course, but the employer is not imploring her to attend.
When Must My Employer Pay Me for Training Time?
Your employer must compensate you for any training that does not meet the four criteria outlined in the Fair Labor Standards Act. In many cases, however, this is difficult to determine without having much more knowledge about employment law than the average worker. For example, if the worker in the previous example is a bartender who must attend a refresher course to retain her certification, her employer would likely need to pay her for this training.
Another example would be when your employer sends you to a training during the workday. Imagine you work in a daycare center, and your employer requires you to hold CPR and first aid certifications. If your employer hires someone to come to your work and provide these trainings during your normal shift, it must pay you for them. The same is true if it sends you offsite for the trainings during the workday.
If your job requires you to learn a specific computer program and your company’s corporate office offers mandatory training, your employer must pay you to attend. This is vital to your job, and you cannot continue working without this training.
Slight changes in circumstances can change the outcome of this type of case. This is why we encourage you to give us a call if you believe your employer owes you for training time. We can review your situation and explain the applicable laws. We can test your training against the four criteria, and give you a good idea of whether you have a strong case against your employer. Then, we can pursue the compensation you deserve from your employer while ensuring your rights as a worker remain intact.
Can My Employer Pay Me Less for Training?
While your employer must pay you for most trainings, it does not necessarily have to pay you at your usual wage. In some cases, your employer may choose to pay you at a training rate. This could be considerably lower than your usual hourly wage, and as low as the state minimum wage. This is legal, and a fairly common practice.
However, this lower rate is only applicable to nonproductive hours. (We can help you determine if your training time counts as productive or non-productive.)
For example, imagine your employer pays you $12 an hour for work in a retail store. However, the corporate office requires you to complete certain training online during regular work hours. Your employer would need to pay you for this time, but they could elect to pay you a training rate of only $8 an hour. Employers often choose to do this because they will also need to pay another employee to cover your shift on the floor.
It is important to note, however, that your employer can only pay you this reduced training rate for the time spent in training. If you complete the online training in two hours but then work a six-hour shift, you would receive your regular pay for the remaining six hours.
Phil Gibbons, Charlotte, NC Employee Rights Lawyer, Can Help You Recover Unpaid Training Time Wages.
Gibbons Law Group can help you recover unpaid wages. We can help you understand when your employer must pay for training, and when it can pay a reduced training wage. We will calculate how much back pay it owes you, and walk you through your legal options to recover compensation for this unpaid training time.
If you have questions about whether your employer is paying you properly for meetings, lectures, workshops, and other training time, call our Charlotte office today at 704-612-0038. We offer complimentary case evaluations and can help you recover any unpaid training time pay your employer owes you.