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Is my employer required to pay me for meetings and training time?

Regardless of how you feel about them, job-related staff meetings and training sessions have become a part of Florida employment. As to whether or not your employer is legally required to pay you for this time; well, it depends on several factors.

The federal wage and hour laws are pretty clear about compensation for employee duties, but there is a little room for misinterpretation. By law, employers in Florida do have to pay for the time employees spend in meetings or training programs with a few exceptions. It is the last two exceptions that have the most risk of misinterpretation by either party.

-- When attendance is only voluntary

-- When the event does not relate directly to the employee's job

-- When the event falls outside of the employee's schedule

-- When the worker performs no productive work during attendance

When an event is voluntary, it means you are not required to attend. If you attend anyway, then an employer is not mandated to compensate you for this time.

If you decide to attend an event addressing topics outside of your job description, then your employer does not have to pay you for this time.

When the event occurs outside of your schedule and you attend, your employer is not required to compensate you by law. However, what if the event is required or mandatory? This could be a gray area for you to discuss in-depth with an employment attorney.

Finally, attending an event in which you perform no "productive work" may or may not be one of these gray areas as well. For example, if you are required to attend and yet perform no productive work based on your employer's definition, you could again discuss the issue of compensation with a lawyer.

These are only loose examples of when an employer and an employee have differing perspectives on compensable time. If unpaid meeting or training time is a real issue for you, it could work in your best interests to seek legal advice.

Source: U.S. Government Publishing Office, "Electronic Code of Federal Regulations," accessed May 09, 2016

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