• Posted By Sirmabekian
  • 2022

You might have come across something like this yourself: you get hired for a new job, and get asked to come in for training. You may even have had to perform work-related tasks during this training period. However, you are later informed that this period has counted for nothing with regards to payment – your employer will not be paying you for training. Essentially, you are left uncompensated for the training you attended, and the work you have done during said training. Does this go against your rights as a California worker? Find out if you should get paid for training here. 

Unpaid Training in California is Illegal

We’ll get straight to it – unpaid training is illegal in the state of California.

It is one of underhanded employers’ favorite ways to steal their workers’ time. During those days to weeks of your unpaid training, you still had to pay your bills, pay for your transport, and – worst of all – attending training meant that you were unable to take up any work that could have paid for your expenses.

However, according to California law, you are legally required to be paid for every minute you spend on the job. What if your employer tells you that, although you were at work, you were not productive or had not completed any tasks? Perhaps they scheduled your training of the clock and said it was “recreational”? The short answer is – it does not matter. Refusing to pay you is still a violation of your rights as an employee. 

Now, let’s break down what defines training time, and what you should be paid for.

Mandatory Training

Employers will offer their employees all types of development courses related to their careers. If those courses are optional, they can claim that the time spent on your training is not work time – rather it is an “employment perk”. However, if it is mandatory for you to attend your training to hold your position, it is considered a work duty, which means that you have to be paid. 

Training is Related to Your Job

If your employer requires or offers you to attend training that is directly related to your work, it is considered paid time. It does not matter whether this training takes place in or out of the office. Since you are honing your jobs-related skills and were required to do so by your employer, you are considered to be working for them. However, this does not apply to training that you choose to pick up individually for your own development. 

Training Occurs During Regular or Overtime Hours

Even if your training is not fully mandatory, or related to your work, your employer is still required to pay you for attending if it occurs during your regular or overtime hours. 

Training Produces Products or Values for Your Employer

Any training that you attend during which you produce anything for your company needs to be paid for. Your employer is not allowed to ask you to spend unpaid time on a training session during which you produce something of value for them. If you create a marketing presentation during your training which your employer then uses, but you have not been paid for your efforts, your time has effectively been stolen. You always have the right to be paid for your work, so protect yourself from wage theft by knowing what it looks like.

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