Should hours spent on training be considered hours worked?

September 10, 2015
Should hours spent on training be considered hours worked?

It depends on the situation. Generally, voluntary training that takes place outside of usual working hours isn't considered working hours, whereas required work training or training that occurs during usual working hours are considered to be payable working hours.

FLSA Hours Worked Advisor

The Fair Labor Standards Act sets [regulations regarding which training hours must be considered working hours.

The first deciding factor is if the training occurs during an employee's regular work hours.

If Yes

The training is most likely considered work hours and must be paid, unless all of the following criteria are met:

  • Attendance of the training is voluntary
  • The course isn't directly related to an employee's position
  • The employee doesn't perform any productive work for your company during the training

If No

The training isn't considered hours worked, provided that the training is voluntary. Training isn't voluntary if:

  • You (as the employer) require it
  • Your employee is led to believe that not attending the training will adversely affect their position in the company, or their working conditions
  • Disciplinary action will be taken against employees for not attending


Time employees spend training for their positions is considered working time, and must be paid by employers. Exceptions include optional trainings that take place outside of normal working hours or aren't directly related to an employee's position.

Helpful Links:

Hours Worked Fact Sheet -

Compensable Hours: Hours Worked -


Inspirational stories and on-the-ground perspectives shaping the future of work.

Start here

On-demand sessions

Start here

Is a PEO right for you? Take our assessment.

Start here
TriNet Team

TriNet Team

Best practices from our HR experts
Additional Articles
ESAC Accreditation
We comply with all ESAC standards and maintain ESAC accreditation since 1995.
Certified PEO
A TriNet subsidiary is classified as a Certified Professional Employer Organization by the IRS.5.