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What Is Mandatory Training?

By Tara Barnett
Updated: Mar 03, 2024

Mandatory training is any type of training that an employee must attend as a component of his or her job. In many areas, mandatory training must be paid according to the employee's normal salary or hourly wage, because otherwise employers might abuse mandatory training in order to get free labor. When this training is unpaid, a worker must decide if the job is worth the loss of time and the possibility that an employer will continue to exploit a worker's need for the job. Sometimes, employers manage to work around rules that would otherwise force them to pay for training, and these employers should be avoided.

Almost all professions require some form of training in order to prepare all employees to fulfill their job duties and uphold company policies. Some training programs are more intense than others, with some lasting several days and others lasting a mere hour. It is also common for employees to go through a training period in which training is part of the workday, and the employee is supervised and assisted on the job. No matter the method, this training should always be paid because it is essentially work performed for the company.

Generally, important work duties are covered in training. Often, this is information that the company wishes an employee to know so much that the company is willing to pay employees to learn it. Sometimes this is safety information, but just as often it is information about the company's policies.

By definition, mandatory training is required as a part of a job. There are other types of training that are highly recommended but not required or that may be offered only for interested employees who wish to become more valuable to the company. Whether or not training is explicitly mandatory, a person who is fired for not attending unpaid training in an area where mandatory training must be paid may have the ability to win a lawsuit against the company.

There are some cases where a worker might do mandatory training without getting paid, although these cases should be considered carefully. Some companies call their employees contractors or freelancers in order to avoid paying them for attending mandatory meetings and training. For example, in many freelance positions, the worker is required to train in the company's program without compensation as a prerequisite of getting the job officially. If the job is particularly desirable, the questionable nature of this training can sometimes be overlooked. An employer who seeks to get free labor from employees is not to be trusted, and working for someone who cannot be trusted is always fraught with problems.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By SteamLouis — On Nov 14, 2014

Why are we only looking at this topic from one perspective? I know many employees who take up any training opportunity just to avoid work while getting paid. They think of it as a vacation almost. Mandatory training is of course necessary. But some employers also offer additional training opportunities that are not mandatory. And employees may take advantage of them.

By SarahGen — On Nov 14, 2014

@ddljohn-- I have a freelance job and I did have to receive training but I was never paid for it. Unfortunately, companies do take advantage of certain groups of employees because of their status and also because of the legal aspects. A freelance employee doesn't have all of the rights of a regular employee. There are many disadvantages and non-paid training is just one.

By ddljohn — On Nov 13, 2014

Training is very important and I believe that mandatory training should be a regular thing. Of course, it also depends on the job and the requirements. Some employers offer training in the very beginning and that's it. But quite a few jobs require the employees to gain more knowledge and information about their job as time goes on. There may be advancements in that field or new processes used by the company and the employees need to be updated.

I also agree that mandatory training ought to be considered part of the job. I don't understand why a company wouldn't want to pay their employees for the training when it's the company benefiting.

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