Under the FLSA, most employees who receive training above and beyond the normal workweek have to be paid overtime for the time they spend in that training. But the law has an oft-overlooked exception that could benefit a lot of employers.
A special overtime exception under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) can be a lifesaver for employers who hire workers in need of basic education.
A lot of employers decide not to provide after-hours training to workers because they can’t afford to pay workers overtime for the time spent in training.
But if you have an employee (or employees) in need of remedial education — like non-English speakers whom you’d like to see become more proficient in English — section 7(q) of the FLSA can work to your advantage.
It allows employers to pay for up to 10 overtime hours of instruction at a worker’s straight-time rate of pay to provide fundamental education to that worker.
One big stipulation: The training can’t be job-specific. It must be “remedial” in nature.
The exception was created to help employers provide workers with reading and other basic skills at an eighth grade level or below — or fulfill the requirements for a high-school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate.
Other requirements overtime training must meet to qualify for this exception:
- It must be conducted away from employees’ workstations “to the maximum extent practicable”
- It must occur during specific periods of time set aside for it, and
- Accurate records must be kept of an employee’s time spent in remedial education each day and workweek, and the compensation paid to employees for this time.
Note: Check your local laws. Some states and other jurisdictions may have laws that are more stringent when it comes to compensating employees for this type of training.