HR Management Compliance

Is Coaching Time Paid? DOL Reiterates Normal Place


The U.S. Division of Labor (DOL) lately answered incessantly requested questions on worker coaching. Mainly, when is the time compensable? Data contained in a current DOL opinion letter is especially vital for industries similar to well being care by which the necessity for persevering with training credit is frequent.


The letter concerned a nonprofit hospice care supplier with a wide range of medical employees, all of whom want persevering with training models (CEUs). The power offers every worker an academic fund they’ll apply to their CEUs. It doesn’t train any management over which persevering with training courses individuals attend. Selecting to attend any particular class is “all the time fully voluntary.”

Staff can use the CEU fund itself to additional their training, hold licensure present, and have interaction in comparable processes. Within the instance, the DOL discovered that whereas the hospice care supplier’s CEU fund would cowl the coaching, the workers wouldn’t be paid for his or her attendance.

Obligatory Coaching Is Completely different

The CEU coaching highlighted within the letter is completely different from the coaching a long-term care facility mandates to maintain employees in compliance. The power should deal with all such coaching as paid time. Needing training and being required to take particular programs are two various things.

In addressing the legislation, the DOL famous attendance at lectures, conferences, coaching applications, and comparable actions needn’t be counted as working time if the next 4 standards are all met:

  • Attendance is exterior of the worker’s common working hours;
  • Attendance is voluntary;
  • The course, lecture, or assembly isn’t instantly associated to the worker’s job; and
  • The person doesn’t carry out any productive work through the attendance.

Hypothetical Situations

The opinion letter is pretty lengthy with various hypothetical situations, every of which pertains to voluntary coaching:

Voluntary coaching throughout nonwork hours. A nurse attends a voluntary coaching she will be able to do at any time however chooses to do it throughout nonwork hours. The DOL notes the time is unpaid.

Regardless that the situation pertains to the nurse’s licensure and subsequently her job, the company considers it to be a “particular state of affairs.” In different phrases, it entails a course from an “unbiased bona fide establishment of studying” and satisfies an expert licensure requirement.

Webinar at work. An accounting clerk submits a request for an on-demand webinar instantly associated to his job. He has no persevering with training element and views the webinar throughout work hours. The DOL considers the time to be paid hours, including, “the very fact of an on-demand webinar as described in these examples as voluntary which may have been considered exterior of standard working hours is immaterial” due to the so-called suffer-or-permit-to-work commonplace. In different phrases, the employer knew it was work time and let him do it, so it was “work” and needs to be paid.

Follow observe: If an worker completes the training throughout a regular shift or regular work hours, the DOL is prone to weigh the issue closely in favor of discovering the time needs to be paid time.

The weighting is especially clear when an worker attends an on-demand webinar unrelated to his job tasks however taking place throughout work time. The DOL considers the hours to be compensable. To handle the priority, the company suggests you identify a coverage prohibiting workers from viewing on-demand webinars or any nonmandatory coaching throughout work time.

In-person, multiple-day healthcare convention. The ultimate situation addressed within the opinion letter is considerably completely different from the on-demand webinar circumstances. Within the situation, a nurse asks to make use of her training funds for an in-person weekend convention masking a number of matters.

Ought to the nurse be paid for the time spent on the multiple-day convention? Ought to she be paid for journey time? The DOL says the nurse wouldn’t must be compensated for any of her journey or coaching time if participation is voluntary and he or she isn’t doing productive work. The coaching time itself was thought of to fall below the “particular state of affairs” definition as a result of it:

  • Was voluntary;
  • Occurred exterior of the nurse’s common working hours; and
  • Corresponded to programs supplied by unbiased bona fide establishments of studying.

Backside Line

In addressing various the compensation points, the important thing issue was whether or not the coaching (1) passed off through the course of the worker’s common workday and (2) was voluntary. It may generally be troublesome to find out an everyday workday for sure sorts of healthcare workers who may match versatile schedules or on-demand.

When contemplating whether or not workers needs to be paid for coaching time, bear in mind there’s a distinction between requiring coaching (e.g., to acquire a sure variety of CEUs to take care of licensure) versus mandating particular coaching. The latter will usually lead to compensable time.

Jo Ellen Whitney is an lawyer with the Davis Brown Law Firm in Des Moines, Iowa. You possibly can attain her at

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