Pay Policy for Mandatory Meetings

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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 out, 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.”

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