Can a employer by law make you complete tests and on your own time?

My wife works for a fast food chain. They send tests their employee’s email and tell them to either complete the test or they won’t get scheduled hours for work. Can a employer do this being that it is part of the business and not pay you for it? Lastly, I understood anything pertaining to work has to be done on work hours if you are a hourly employee not salaried.

Asked on August 27, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You are mostly, not entirely, correct. 
1) If a test is required by the employer (rather than optional--e.g. it's not a test that employees may voluntarily choose  to do, such as to be considered for promotion, if they want), then it is work time and hourly employees must be paid for the time. Anything the employer *requires* employees to do is work time. If your wife is not paid for this time, she could file a wage complaint with the department of labor and/or sue for the money; but since doing this is a drastic step, if it's only a once-in-a-while, not-a-lot-of-time thing, it's probably not worth doing.
2) Hourly employees can be required to work, including these tests, outside of their regularly scheduled hours; the employer, after all, not the employee determines when the employee must work. But as per above, they must be paid for the work, regardless of when during the week it is done.

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