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An employee quit after training and orientation, but before starting their actual job. Do we have to pay them?

Question:

An employee quit after training and orientation, but before starting their actual job. Do we have to pay them?

Answer from Monica, SPHR, SHRM-CP:

Yes, this former employee must be paid for the time they spent in required orientation and training, even if they did not begin their regularly scheduled work.

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, workers must be paid for any time they are required or allowed to work. Time worked ordinarily includes all time during which an employee is required to be on the employer’s premises, on duty, or at a prescribed workplace—essentially any time spent under the employer’s control. This includes new employee orientation, paperwork completion, reading of the employee handbook, and on- or off-site training. It doesn’t matter that the employee wasn’t yet doing the job you hired them to do; it only matters that what they were doing is considered time worked under the law.

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Monica has held roles as an HR Generalist and Payroll and Benefits manager at a large ski resort, providing HR guidance to more than 500 employees. She also has HR experience in the healthcare field and the non-profit world. Monica holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Linfield College.

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