Must temp agencies pay hourly employees for mandatory training?

I work as a substitute teacher for a company in Philadelphia and New Jersey. My employer has told me that I

am not entitled to compensation for a mandatory, three-hour training. He says temp agencies do not need to pay hourly employees for mandatory training. I have this in writing. Is this true?

Asked on September 28, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

All work time is compensable. that means that any time an employer requires a worker to put in must be paid. Since what you have described was mandatory attendance, and not voluntray, then you need to be compensated. That having been said, while you could sue in small claims court, it may not be worth the time and expense.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

He is wrong: anything "mandatory"--that is, required by an employer--is work time and must be paid for by the employer (whether a temp agency or their client). If it's helpful but not mandatory, so that you could skip it, they would not have to pay; but if you are required to be there, then it is work, just like attending meetings or being at your desk or in your classroom is work. Therefore, you should be paid for it.
However, if they won't pay, there really is not good way to vindicate your rights: it's hard to imagine that a lawsuit--even a small claims case as your own attorney, or "pro se"--is worth it for 3 hours of pay.

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