DOL Opines on Pay for Voluntary Training

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November 3, 2020

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The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued opinion letters discussing employee pay for voluntary training and travel time under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

FLSA2020-15 reviews when employers must pay for voluntary training, discussing different examples. If the training is sponsored by the employer but voluntary for an employee to attend, the time spent taking the training during off-duty work hours is not considered working time. However, employee participation during regular work hours in a training program that directly relates to the employee’s job is work time for FLSA purposes. Employers may have a policy prohibiting employees from attending voluntary trainings during regular working hours.

FLSA2020-16 discusses travel time between a central location and another worksite. Where an employer requires a foreman to get a company truck from a central location, drive it carrying required tools and materials to a worksite, and return it to the central location at the end of the day for security purposes, the time spent traveling between the central location and the worksite is compensable work time. Conversely, a laborer’s time to travel to and from a local worksite is not compensable, even if they voluntarily choose to ride with the foreman in the company truck. For remote travel (e.g., overnight stay in lodging), an employee must be compensated for their time if their travel cuts across their normal work hours, even if they are traveling on a nonwork day. If the employer offers laborers the option to travel in a Company vehicle or drive themselves to the remote work location, the employer must pay for either the time that accrues riding in the company vehicle or the time the laborers actually take to travel to the remote worksite.

Action Items

  1. Review the opinion letters and have policies and pay processes updated accordingly.
  2. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.
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