You asked: “We are about to schedule a CPR and First Aid class for our employees. It will be after regular working hours. Do we need to pay employees for this time? If so, does this time count toward overtime?”
The bottom line: time worked is time paid. Always. So, the question is: Should the time spent at this meeting be considered “time worked”? The U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division offers guidance to help you determine if time spent at an employer-sponsored event is compensable time.
According to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), an employer would NOT need to pay employees who attend an event that meets ALL of these four criteria:
- Attendance is outside of the employee’s regular working hours;
- Attendance is VOLUNTARY (no discipline or penalties for not showing up);
- The training/meeting is not job-related (i.e., required to perform essential job functions);
- The employee does not perform any productive work during attendance.
If the event does not meet all of the criteria above, the training would be considered time worked. In that case, you must pay employees for their time. That includes paying standard overtime to any nonexempt employees whose workweek extends beyond 40 hours, including time spent in training.
The same criterion applies to any employer-sponsored event such as special meetings, lectures, company picnics or parties. Just don’t forget about the employees tasked with planning, managing and serving at the event. For example, your company picnic might meet all of the above criteria, meaning you would not need to pay employees for the time in attendance. However, it would be compensable time for any employees who were required to attend in order to manage and/or serve at the event.
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