Is it legal to not pay hourly employees for training before they have started the job?

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Is it legal to not pay hourly employees for training before they have started the job?

I am a manager for a small, fairly new company and I am hiring 10-15 employees that will be paid hourly. There is some on-line training that needs to completed before they start working. I was told by my owner to e-mail them the link and tell them it has to be completely before they start and they are to do it at home. I don’t really feel comfortable asking people to do this because it is pretty extensive and will probably take 2-3 hours.

Asked on October 4, 2010 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

This would be legal as long as it's clearly part of the terms or conditions of their employment; for example, if they are told prior to doing the training and prior to otherwise starting work, that they have to do 2 - 3 (or so) hours  of training as a condition of getting the job.

Once they start working however, then they would have to be paid for  all hours worked; at that point, mandatory training is "on the clock." So if this is pre-employment-starting; if it's a condition of employment; and if the people are given notice that a certain amount of unpaid training, it would be legal, since then it's a condition of getting the job.


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