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Yes. The key to training (on or off location) without the need to be paid is that it be completely voluntary.
Per the Department of Labor: You [talking to employers] may establish for the benefit of your employees a program of instruction similar to courses offered by independent bona fide institutions of learning. Voluntary attendance by your employees at such training courses, outside of their working hours, would not be hours worked, even if the courses directly relate to the employees' jobs or are paid for by you.If the employee voluntarily decides to attend an independent school, college or trade school after work hours, the time is not hours worked even if the courses are related to his or her current position or you pay for the courses.
A suggestion is a bit problematic because an employee might consider that to be a "requirement", even if not explicitly stated as such.
But if the class is taught by a co-worker, offered by co-workers, and attendence is completely voluntary, then there would not be any requirement to pay.
Now if the lecture / training takes place during the regular working hours, then it's often considered to be hours worked, and would have to be paid... Again, this can be avoided if it is clear that it is voluntary and the time would not be paid.
But if outside of ordinary working hours, then it would absolutely be legitimate to offer this, voluntary attendance, unpaid, and there would not be a valid argument that an employee could have to be paid for that time.
Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX A specific citation from statutes would be even more useful. I will rate this as a 'good'. Tom
Thank you, This helps. A specific citation from Dept. of Labor statutes would be even more useful. Tom
The Department’s regulations provide that certain training activities need not be treated as hours worked. The general rules for determining the compensability of training time are set forth in 29 C.F.R. §§ 785.27 through 785.32. Sections 785.27, 785.29, and785.31 are of particular relevance to your question. As indicated in section 785.27, “training programs and similar activities need not be counted as working time if the following four criteria are met”: