A source of irritation for employees can be the issue of pay — or no pay — for time spent attending meetings and training sessions. Tell employees they have to attend a meeting or training program, and the employees may raise questions like these:
- Is attendance mandatory, or can we skip it?
- If we show up, do we get paid?
- If we don’t get paid for the time at the meeting or training, why do we have to attend?
An employer can lessen, and even end, the irritation employees experience, and avoid having to deal with questions like those above by adopting a clear policy on the topic.Address the following in this policy:
1. How often do you have employee meetings? For example: Once a year, once a month, every other month.
2. Is employee attendance requested or mandatory? This is especially important if meetings are held when all employees aren’t on-duty but are required to come into work to attend the meeting.
Warning: Keep in mind that if you require off-duty employees to attend meetings…you must pay them for that time. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers must pay employees for attending meetings:
- If their attendance is mandatory and
- The meeting serves to benefit the employer. If meetings are strictly voluntary and outside of working hours, you may not be required to pay employees. To be sure, check your state and federal wage and hour laws.
3. Be sure and mention where the meetings are usually held, what time they are held and what type of topics will be discussed.
Here’s some wording to consider in a meetings policy: “The Company holds monthly employee meetings. These meetings are usually held at 4 p.m. in the staff lounge. All employees are required to attend. Off-duty personnel are required to punch-in at the start of the meeting and punch-out at the end of the meeting. You will be paid your regular rate of pay for your attendance at these meetings.”
Sample Policy: Meetings and Management
Management and Supervisors schedule a number of meetings and training programs during the year that employees will attend. You will be paid for all time you spend in meetings and training programs you are required by the management or your Supervisor to attend.Following are the most common meetings and training programs. These brief descriptions do not cover every detail or question you may have regarding a meeting or training program. Ask your Supervisor any question you may have regarding a meeting or training program.
1. Plant meetings: Each plant manager schedules a plant-wide meeting each month. You are required to attend at least six of these meetings in a 12-month period.
2. Department meetings: Each department supervisor schedules meetings as needed for all employees in the department. These normally are held once each week. You are required to attend those meetings scheduled on days you are scheduled to work.
3. Training programs: From time-to-time the plant manager and the department supervisor schedule training programs for certain employees. Your Supervisor will inform you when you are required to attend a training program.
4. CEU training: If your position with the company requires you to have a license or certification, and if state law requires you to continue your education to maintain your license or certification, you have the responsibility to continue your education and to maintain your credentials. The company will permit you time off from work to attend Continuing Education Unit (CEU) education and training. You must obtain prior approval from your supervisor for this leave of absence. You are responsible for paying any fees for CEU education and training. And the company will not compensate you for time you spend in CEU education and training, except for specific CEU education or training programs that the company requires you to attend.
5. Employee Safety Meetings: Safety meetings for all plant employees are held on the first Monday of the month. Employees are required to clock in for safety meetings one hour prior to the start of their scheduled shift. Attendance at safety meetings is mandatory.
6. Safety Committee Meetings: Safety committees for each shift meet one hour prior to the committee members’ scheduled starting time on the last workday of the month. Committee members will clock in at the start of the meetin
[NOTE: Information and guidance in this story is intended to provide accurate and helpful information on the subjects covered. It is not intended to provide a legal service for readers’ individual needs. For legal guidance in your specific situations, always consult with an attorney who is familiar with employment law and labor issues.]