In most instances, if nonexempt employees take training that pushes them over 40 hours a week, your company is on the hook for overtime pay – with one exception.
The U.S. Deptartment of Labor usually is by-the-numbers strict on employees’ getting OT pay when required training time leads to a work week that exceeds 40 hours. However, DOL and Congress have agreed that remedial training doesn’t fall under the normal rules and companies that provide or allow such training don’t have to pay the standard time-and-a-half to employees whose time in the training sessions would normally make the eligible for OT pay.
Under the remedial exception, you can award straight pay for up to 10 hours of training time over and above an employee’s workweek of 40 hours.
What’s considered “remedial”?
DOL says remedial training must be designed to provide reading and other basic skills at an eighth-grade level or below or to fulfill the requirements for a high school diploma or a General Educational Development (GED) certificate.
Also, DOL rules mandate that the training has to be during separate periods of time set aside for it and must be conducted away from the employee’s work station “to the maximum extent practicable.” DOL regulations require you to keep accurate records of an employee’s time spent in the remedial education each workday and each workweek and the compensation the employee is paid for this time.
Straight from the regs
Here are DOL’s instructions on this, straight out of the Fair Labor Standards Act:
Any employer may employ any employee for a period or periods of not more than 10 hours in the aggregate in any workweek in excess of the maximum workweek specified in subsection (a) without paying the compensation for overtime employment prescribed in such subsection, if during such period or periods the employee is receiving remedial education that is -
(1) provided to employees who lack a high school diploma or educational attainment at the eighth grade level;
(2) designed to provide reading and other basic skills at an eighth grade level or below; and
(3) does not include job specific training.
Note: The exception applies only to federal regulations. Check with your state department of labor to make sure the remedial exception doesn’t violate state laws.