DEAR CARRIE: My friend works for a major airline that is being taken over by a smaller one. So things such as pay arrangements and vacation selection will change to conform with the smaller airline’s policies.
As a result, employees have to attend a training session to learn about the new way of doing things. But the new employer has made it clear that employees will not be on the clock during the training time. I told my friend I thought the company has to pay for the time spent in training because the employees are required to attend. Am I correct or can the airline require training and not pay the employee for the time? --Training Daze
DEAR TRAINING: Your instincts are right. When a company requires training, it has to consider employees on the clock during that time. Why the new employer thinks otherwise is a mystery. It may do well to bone up on basic labor law or beef up its human resources department.
Labor laws consider training work time if the employer requires it. It’s as simple as that. And a change in ownership doesn’t alter that fact. The company could legally forgo paying employees for the training time only if all four of these conditions are met: The training is held outside normal hours; it is voluntary; it is unrelated to the job, and no work is performed.
It’s clear the training isn’t voluntary. So the company has to consider it part of the workday.
Have your friend call the U.S. Labor Department at 516-338-1890 or 212-264-8185 for more information.
DEAR CARRIE: I have worked as a seasonal employee for a local municipality for eight years. For the first four years I worked as a beach manager and managed two people. After that I worked as a seasonal dock master. Since retiring from teaching, I have been working as a dock master full time. And I manage just one person now. I am wondering if I should have been paid overtime over the years because I worked more than 40 hours a week many times. In the height of the summer, I sometimes logged as many as 50 hours. Would I be able to claim overtime pay for all those extra hours? If so, how far back can I go? -- Beach Sum
DEAR BEACH: The first point to consider is whether you were even eligible for overtime. As a beach manager you might not have qualified for overtime because managers don’t have to be paid overtime unless an employment or union contract calls for it. A true manager, as defined in federal labor law, has to manage at least two full-time employees, and most of his or her work must consist of managing, among other factors.
So you may have been exempt from overtime as a beach manager. On the other hand, you may be eligible as dock master. But here is something else to consider: Because you have been a government worker, those extra hours can also be paid to you in comp time.
As to how far back you could go to recoup any overtime owed you, it’s generally two years, and a max of three when an employer willfully violates labor law.
Call the number above for more information.
Go to bit.ly/TraintimeLI for more on when training time needs to be paid.