#TuesdayTips – Understanding Employee Training Compensation: When Is It Paid Time?

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In general, time spent in job-related training is considered work time and must be compensated. However, not all training sessions, classes, or programs qualify for paid time. Here are the four criteria that must be met for training to be unpaid:

  1. Outside Normal Work Hours: The training must take place outside of the employee’s regular work hours.
  2. Voluntary Attendance: The training should be entirely voluntary, with no company-initiated consequences for non-attendance.
  3. Not Job-Specific: The training should not be directly related to the employee’s job. While it may be tangentially related, like most continuing education, it shouldn’t be specific to their day-to-day tasks or aimed at training them for new job duties.
  4. No Work Performed: The employee must not perform any work for the employer during the training, such as reading or replying to emails.


  • If a software developer enrolls in an evening college class to learn a new coding language that isn’t used at their workplace, this training does not need to be paid.
  • Conversely, if a graphic designer attends a workshop to learn a new software tool that will be used in upcoming projects, this training time should be compensated.

Key Takeaway: Understanding these criteria can help employers and employees navigate the complexities of training time compensation. By meeting all four criteria, employers can determine when training time does not need to be paid, ensuring compliance with labor laws and fair treatment of employees.

For more information on employee training compensation and compliance, contact Southern Payroll & Bookkeeping today!

#TuesdayTips – Understanding Employee Training Compensation: When Is It Paid Time?