Can My Employer Force Me to Take Training Without Pay?

There have probably been times when you’ve been asked to take some training at work. For example, if you’ve just been hired at a new job, new systems have recently been introduced at your existing job, or perhaps there have been adjustments to industry standards. Whatever the reason, training can be time-consuming and sometimes tedious. Is it always the employer’s responsibility to pay for training, or can you be asked to take training without pay?

The short answer is no. Once you are officially an employee, you cannot be forced to take training without pay. If you require training in order to do your job, it’s your employer’s responsibility to pay you at least minimum wage (plus overtime, if applicable) for your training time. This includes everything from job shadowing on your first day to learning how to operate a new piece of machinery in your fifth year.

As always, there are some exceptions. Employers are not obligated to pay if:

  • You are a potential employee obtaining qualifications necessary to be considered for hiring
  • As a condition of hire, you agree to obtain additional training on your own time at your own expense
  • A test or training is given to you as a prospective employee as part of the hiring process
  • You request specific training or education (in this case, you and your employer need to come to an agreement to determine whether or not you will be paid for the training time)

It is important to remember that training or education of any kind is not just a benefit to your employer, but is also a benefit to your career in the long run. Don’t shy away from requesting additional training from your employer as they may be willing to pay for you to take it, and if not, consider doing it anyway on your own time.

Every advancement you make at one job is an advancement in your entire career. Take advantage of opportunities to grow in knowledge and skills by utilizing training and education in any way you can.


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