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Should employee be paid to attend Continuing Education classes?? Pennsylvania

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  • Should employee be paid to attend Continuing Education classes?? Pennsylvania

    ** posting on behalf of a friend.

    In the insurance industry (home, car, etc.). Has to attend so many hours of training to maintain her license.

    Today she had to attend one of these all day classes on her day off.

    Her employer says .... since they are paying the $200 for the class and since she wasn't scheduled to work today anyway, they are not paying her hourly wage. Also, if she has to go to one that falls on her normal work day, they do not pay her since she is not technically "at work."

    I say ... it is time required for work and should be compensated.

    Who's right?

  • #2
    See here page 7 http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/WH1312.pdf
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    • #3
      Who choses what classes she will take and when she takes them? Her or the employer?

      There is a 2009 Opinion letter (FLSA2009-1) regarding Child Care workers and state required training. It may or may not be applicable. The details are a little different in the fact that all training was done outside work hours. http://www.dol.gov/whd/opinion/FLSA/...07_01_FLSA.htm

      I seem to remember there is a difference when the training is required by a licensing board/state versus the employer and that was the best I could find quickly.

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      • #4
        DAW can correct me if I'm wrong but as I remember it, if the state requires the training, the employee does not need to be paid for the class time. If the employer requires it, s/he does.
        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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        • #5
          cbg, that was my immediate thought....that the difference was who required it. But the opinion letter was all I could find to back it up .

          I did find this upon further research in the Texas Employer Handbook: "...for continuing education requirements related solely to the ability of an employee to practice a particular trade or profession, as long as the training is of general applicability and is not designed to fit a specific job with a specific employer (see DOL Opinion Letter WH-504, October 23, 1980). Such training is "portable" and allows the person to find work in that trade or profession with any employer or even on their own." (TX often follows federal wage laws and I work from there, so that is what I am most familiar with and why I quote it even when other states are in play)

          WH504 is in relation to ambulance services and required training...."As for criterion (b) in 785.27, we think that in each situation the reason why attendance by an employee is not voluntary must be examined. Where an employer (or someone acting in its behalf or interest) either directly or indirectly requires an employee to undergo training, the time so spent is clearly compensable. The employer in such circumstances has usurped and controlled the employee’s time, and must pay for it. Where the State has required the training, however, a different situation arises. In general, such State-required training, as is the case here, is of general applicability, and not tailored to meet the particular needs of individual employers. In light of these considerations, we take the position that the FLSA does not require compensation for time spent in the training you have described.".... but does go on to say that this wouldn't pre-empt a state law that required pay.
          Last edited by hr for me; 04-22-2014, 12:49 PM.

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          • #6
            I am in agreement with the last answer as far as the feds and most states are concerned. I can require all my drivers to have driver's licenses but that is not compensable hours worked, because it is a generic job requirement, not something being forced primarily by the employer. As would a CPA for an accountant or passing the bar by an attorney. These are general credentials required by the profession and the governmental boards who regulate them. In contrast, lets say that I require my receptionist to attend cooking classes so he can double as a chef during lunch. Not a generic or state imposed requirement on receptionists, just the employer making decisions. Last I checked, there are a lot of grey areas.
            "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
            Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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            • #7
              Agree that the question as asked is ambiguous. If the employee was told she had to attend a certain class by her employer and for which her employer paid the registration fee, then it must be considered hours worked even if it does count toward keeping her license. If her employee merely has a tuition reimbursement policy and the friend was able to choose which class she wished to take and needed it for generic licensure purposes, it would not be hours worked.
              I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

              Comment

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