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Training pay is wages that an employee receives during his or her training period on the job. In most states, there are labor laws regarding minimum wage, and these pertain to training pay. It is important to ask ahead of time, though, if training time is paid, because some jobs may refuse.
Training pay generally pertains to the first day or two on the job, where the new employee might not be actually doing the job that he or she was hired to do. In many cases, the first few days are taken up with filling out paperwork, attending meetings, and learning how the company works regarding computer systems or any other skills needed for the job. Though the employee is technically not working, the training pay is given because the time is still being used.
In addition, it could potentially be a liability to have an unpaid employee working in in a company building if an accident should occur. For these reasons, it is reasonable to expect that one will be paid for the time spent training in a new job; should the job not work out, the employee will still be owed those wages. They will not be withheld or rescinded by the business.
Keep in mind that training pay and a sign-on bonus, or hiring bonus, are different things. A sign-on bonus is an optional benefit offered by a number of employers, and is not governed by labor laws. In general, an employee must work for a company for a specified period of time, such as from six months to one year, before receiving his or her promised sign-on bonus. If the employee does not meet these requirements, the company generally reserves the right to refuse to pay the sign-on bonus. While training pay is received for regular working hours, a hiring bonus is used to recruit new employees, and to keep them in their positions.
Some employers might also offer education pay, which is similar to training pay. For instance, if a company requires that a new employee take a class or receive a certification, the company might pay for that program as a benefit to the employee, and as an expression of good faith that the employee will remain in the position. This differs also from tuition reimbursement, which is money paid to an employee who is taking college classes to further his or her career; the important difference to note here is that the classes are not a required part of training to work for the company.