Can my employer tell me that I will not get paid for training because I didn’t work 180 days?

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Can my employer tell me that I will not get paid for training because I didn’t work 180 days?

I worked 4 training days and 1 of these days I worked from 5:00 am to 7:30 pm my pay was only $64 a day anyway. I feel so ripped off because when I started this job they told me after 90 days I would get paid for training but after 95 days I quit. My boss told me that I will not get paid for training unless I worked at least 180 days. However, there were many days I worked over 12 hours for $64. That’s why I quit.

Asked on May 13, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Kentucky

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Training is still "work" if it is employer  mandated--and especially if it is conducted onsite and/or by the employer. (This is to distinguish it from taking classes to get some degree or certification  which would be generally helpful in your field as well as something your employer might like you to have, like certification in Windows or some other operating system.) If you worked, even if it was called "training," you must be paid at least minimum wage for it--that is, for every hour you spent on training, you must be paid at least $7.25 an hour. Empoyers may *not* condition payment on being employed for 180 days. It appears that your employer has violated the law, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act and the regulations under it, and you may therefore have grounds to either sue (possibly in small claims court) or to bring a complaint to the Department of Labor.

Where I think your employer may be being confused: if an employer chooses to pay for outside training, classes, or testing which benefit the employee as well as it, it can condition that payment on remaining employed, and can require an employee to repay the tuition or fees if the employee leaves too soon. But again, if the employer is actually doing work--something for the specific benefit of the employer, at the employer's direction and as required by the empoyer--he or she must be paid wages for it.


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