Ask the expert: Employees must be paid for attending drug training
Q: Do we have to pay employees for their time spent going to mandatory drug training? A: Yes. The Department of Labor does not oversee workplace drug testing, but the Fair Labor Standards Act provides guidance as to what is considered compensable...
Q: Do we have to pay employees for their time spent going to mandatory drug training?
A: Yes. The Department of Labor does not oversee workplace drug testing, but the Fair Labor Standards Act provides guidance as to what is considered compensable hours worked.
For various reasons (regulations, drug-free workplace, position relevance, etc.), some employers require employees to participate in mandatory drug testing before the beginning of employment or after hire. Employers are not required to compensate a person for any time spent on pre-
employment drug testing. However, once the employee is hired, FLSA guidance requires employers to compensate employees when they go for such testing because the drug testing is mandated by the employer.
"Whenever you impose special tests, requirements or conditions that your employee must meet, time he or she spends traveling to and from the tests, waiting for and undergoing these tests, or meeting the requirements is probably hours worked," according to the Department of Labor.
Because the employee must participate in the testing as a condition of employment, it will restrict the employee from performing other responsibilities. Therefore, the time of day an employee is scheduled for the testing (before work, during work hours or after work) does not determine whether the employee will be compensated. The facts that the testing is under the employer's control, related to the company business and a condition of employment will meet the standard for that time being counted toward hours worked.
Employers should consider scheduling employee drug testing during normally scheduled work hours. This practice could avoid any potential overtime issues because of the additional compensable time spent participating in the drug testing.
This material is provided as general information only and is not a substitute for legal advice. Contact the Northland Human Resources Association at info@ northlandhra.org or visit www.northlandhra.org .