Lectures, Meetings and Training

Many employers give employees opportunities to go to lectures and seminars and to attend training programs. Employers may also require employees to attend company meetings. Your attendance at lectures, meetings, training programs and similar activities may or may not be hours worked depending on the facts of the situation.

Special Situations

The following are some special situations where time spent attending lectures, training sessions or courses of instruction is not regarded as hours worked.

Your employer may establish for the benefit of his or her employees a program of instruction that is similar to courses offered by independent bona fide institutions of learning. Your voluntary attendance at such training courses, outside of your working hours, would not be hours worked, even if the courses directly relate to your job or are paid for by your employer.

If you voluntarily decide to attend an independent school, college or trade school after hours, the time is not hours worked even if the courses are related to your current position or are paid for by your employer.

Time spent in certain supplemental classroom instruction held in conjunction with apprenticeship programs may not be hours worked. Special rules apply to public sector employees who attend outside of regular working hours specialized or follow-up training, which is required by law for certification of public sector employees. Police officers and fire fighters attending a police or fire academy or other training facility are not considered to be on duty during those times when they are not in class or at a training session, if they are free to use the time for personal pursuits. Such free time is not hours worked.

In situations other than those listed above, it is necessary to determine whether the time spent attending lectures, training sessions or courses of instruction is hours worked. The first factor to consider is whether the attendance is during your regular working hours.

The second factor is whether your attendance at the lecture, meeting, training or other similar activity is voluntary.

Your attendance is not voluntary if:

  • your employer requires it;
  • you understand or are led to believe that not attending will adversely affect your present working conditions;
  • not attending will adversely affect your continued employment; or
  • disciplinary action will be taken against you for not attending.

The third factor that must be considered is whether the course, lecture, or meeting is directly related to your job. It is directly related to your job if it is designed to help you do your job more effectively or to teach you something you needed to know to do your job. For example, a clerical employee who is given a course in word processing is engaged in training to improve his or her ability to do his or her job.

On the other hand, the training is not directly related to your job if it is designed to train you for a different job. For example, if the data entry employee takes a course in bookkeeping, it may not be directly related to his or her job.
Some training courses are instituted for the purpose of preparing an employee for advancement through upgrading the employee to a higher skill, and are not intended to make the employee more efficient in his or her present position. This training is not directly related to the employee’s job, even though the course incidentally improves his or her skill in doing his or her regular work duties.
The final factor is whether you perform any productive work while at the lecture, meeting, training program or similar activity. Productive work would be any work which your employer is able to use for his or her purposes, rather than work which is for practice only and of no use to your employer.

Attendance at lectures, meetings, training programs and similar activities need not be counted as working time if the following four criteria are met:

  • Attendance is outside of your regular working hours;
  • Attendance is in fact voluntary;
  • The course, lecture, or meeting is not directly related to your job; and
  • You do not perform any productive work during such attendance.

 

 


Yezbak Law Offices • Nashville, Tennessee 37215 • 615-250-2000 • 866-255-3866