Employee training and continuing ed remain among the most-wanted benefits. But must you always treat that training as compensable time?
That’s what one of your peers just tried to determine by asking the Department of Labor (DOL) for an opinion letter.
The DOL’s answers may just save you some money while still reaping the benefits of employee training.
Submitted 6 different employee training scenarios
Of course you have endless possibilities when it comes to boosting employees’ skills and continuing their education.
FLSA 2020-15 reviewed six different training scenarios posed by one employer to determine which were compensable and which weren’t.
And while an opinion letter only applies to the employer that requested it, it absolutely gives you an idea how the feds are leaning and how they’d rule in similar situations.
Any of these sound familiar?
The organization here had a variety of different dynamics at play, with some folks required to take continuing ed courses for licensing and certification, and others who simply wanted to learn more.
Check out four of the six scenarios presented to see when and how Payroll should get involved in your training offerings:
Scenario 1: Employee A uses her educational funds to take on-demand webinars that are related to her job and provide her the CEUs that go towards her licensing requirement. She takes them on off-work time.
DOL rules: This can be treated as unpaid time, says the DOL.
Scenario 2: The same situation as in Scenario 1, only there’s no continuing ed credit component.
DOL rules: Can’t tell. The DOL says it would need more information about the webinar and its source to make a call.
Scenario 3: Employee C takes a webinar that’s directly related to his job but has no continuing ed requirement attached. He attends it during work hours. Could he sub PTO to cover that time?
DOL rules: This counts as work time says the FLSA because it was work-related and taken on the clock. However, the DOL reminded employers that they can create a policy to prohibit viewing during work hours.
Scenario 4: Same as Scenario 3, only this time the webinar is not directly related to this employee’s job.
DOL rules: Compensable. Because it was viewed during work hours, that time is compensable even though it doesn’t directly relate to the employee’s job.
If employee training is on the clock, it’s likely on your dime
There’s a definite theme emerging here. If employees take part in training during work hours, it’s likely compensable time. Which means they should belong in overtime calculations, certain variable pay structures, etc.
Chances are you have a variety of training scenarios within your company’s own payroll. And many of them may have changed since folks shifted to remote work and/or more flexible schedules.
Now’s the time to revisit this issue to ensure you’re properly counting these hours.