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10/25/11
Overtime for GED Training?
Filed under: General
Posted by: RPLaw Firm @ 6:40 am

Employers need to review their handbooks, policies and procedures when it comes to training.  Several businesses are under the impression that they can require an employee to mandatory training and not have to pay them.  The key word is mandatory.  Most activities especially training that primarily benefits the employer is considered compensable time and even overtime if the hours require the employee to work over 40 hours in a workweek.

Employers should review the statute to determine if they are violating the Fair Labor Standards Act with their training.  Pursuant to the rules: “Attendance at lectures, meetings, training programs and similar
activities need not be counted as working time if the following four
criteria are met:

(a) Attendance is outside of 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.”29 C.F.R. ยง 785.27.

The question that has hit the courts lately is when the needed training is because employees lack basic academic skills such as reading, writing, and arithmetic. The FLSA creates an exception designed for this type of training since it primarily benefits the employee with life skills. Section 7(q) of the FLSA, 
provides an exemption from the overtime pay requirements for time spent
by certain employees who are receiving remedial education. It allows
any employer to require that an employee spend up to 10 hours in the
aggregate in any workweek in remedial education without payment of
overtime compensation provided that the employee lacks a high school
diploma or educational attainment at the eighth-grade level; the
remedial education is designed to provide reading and other basic skills
at an eighth-grade level or below, or to fulfill the requirements for a
high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED)
certificate; and the remedial education does not include job-specific
training. Employees must be compensated at their regular rate of pay for
the time spent receiving such remedial education. The employer must
maintain a record of the hours that an employee is engaged each workday
and each workweek in receiving remedial education, and the compensation
paid each pay period for the time so engaged, as described in 29 CFR
516.34. 

Employers and trainers should carefully read section 7(q) when designing any type of training to qualify for this section.  All should also review the criteria to make sure that it does not interfere with any other overtime and wage laws.

For more details contact Danialle Riggins, Esq. Riggins Law Firm- 352-433-2400. www.RigginsLawFirm.com

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