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Training & Overtime Pay in California

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  • Training & Overtime Pay in California

    I work for an aviation handling company for a major airline in Los Angeles. Myself and several coworkers were sent to a mandatory training after we were informed that we would be taking on new duties as part of our daily tasks. The training was necessary to learn the computer system and basic concepts of the department. We were paid for our time in the training; 7.5 hours (8hrs - 30min lunch).

    Unfortunately, we were required to cover for a shortage of employees that the company was experiencing during our training. This meant that we were all told to report for 8 hours of training (7am-3pm) and then report for the late shift after training (5:30pm-11:30pm) ... DAILY!

    When we received our paychecks, the company had paid us for 7.5 hours of TRAINING each day, followed by 6-8 hours of WORK each day ... thereby avoiding payout of any overtime.

    QUESTION: Is this legal in California? Should we have been paid overtime for the hours we worked after the training?

    If it should make any difference, the company falls under the Living Wage Ordinance of the City of Los Angeles.

  • #2
    It's hours worked and, unless you're exempt from the overtime provisions of the FLSA because of the exception provided by the Railroad Act, it's compensatory under federal law. I'm honestly not sure if California recognizes that exception, though.

    What does the employer say when asked why you didn't get overtime pay? Do you normally get overtime pay?
    Last edited by Pattymd; 11-03-2007, 10:08 PM.
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    • #3
      Re: Overtime & Trainig

      Normally yes. We are paid normal California overtime: 1 1/2 on anything over 8 hours a day and then same on anything over 40 hours a week.

      The response from our employer when questioned is that training is training, not work time, so the time spent in training doesn't count toward hours worked.

      Of course, I see things differently ... just not sure how the law sees them.


      • #4
        Listed below are then "normal" federal training rules. I have the same concern Patty does on whether the Railway Labor Act (RLA) is applicable, but if they are paying overtime for normal hours worked, your employer is not acting like it is applicable. I do not see how they could claim RLA for training hours only. However, if done correctly, they could pay training time at a different rate, as long as minimum wage was followed. Your city ordinance is functionally just a higher minimum wage.

        RLA (if applicable) basically turns off the normal FLSA overtime rules, but not the normal minimum wage rules. Some airline employees are subject to RLA and some are not. And like Patty, I have no idea what CA's handling on RLA is. CA has overtime rules more favorable then FLSA, and they could also have rules more favorable then RLA, if they wanted to.

        29 CFR 785.27 - General.
        Attendance at lectures, meetings, training programs and similar activities need not be counted as working time if the following four criteria are met:
        (a) Attendance is outside of the employee's regular working hours;
        (b) Attendance is in fact voluntary;
        (c) The course, lecture, or meeting is not directly related to the employee's job; and
        (d) The employee does not perform any productive work during such attendance.

        29 CFR 785.28 - Involuntary attendance.
        Attendance is not voluntary, of course, if it is required by the employer. It is not voluntary in fact if the employee is given to understand or led to believe that his present working conditions or the continuance of his employment would be adversely affected by nonattendance.
        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


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