Though employers do not like to pay for training time, it is usually compensable.
For an employer to avoid paying for training time, four general criteria must be met: (i) the training attendance must be before or after regular working hours; (ii) the employee must not be performing work during the training; (iii) attendance must be voluntary; and (iv) the training duties must not be directly related to the employee's job.
Frequently, however, employees are ordered to attend training -- retail sales employers are notorious for this violation -- but are told to attend the training on their own time. If the training is mandatory, the employee must be paid. If the employee is subject to the employer's control during the training, the employee must be paid. If the employee is trained during regular work hours, the training is on the clock.
One employer we recently sued had a policy of requiring its employees to attend a sales course, which cost the employees $500 each. The course explained, among other things, how to document and solicit sales of that particular employer's products, and the cost of "tuition" was paid over five pay periods via $100 payroll deductions. The employer was quick to settle once it hired legal counsel.
If you are a non-exempt employee, and your employer requires you to attend training related to your work, you are entitled to be paid wages for the time spent in mandatory training sessions, and if there is any expense incurred, including mileage and parking, you are entitled to reimbursement for those expenses. If you have any questions, feel free to drop us an email.