If my employer says I have to attend training outside my normal work hours, should I be paid for this?

If you are an apprentice, you must be paid for all on and off-the-job training you are required to attend. The Apprenticeship, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 says that the whole of your apprenticeship must be delivered within your contracted hours under your employment contract

In other words, apprentices must be paid for all time spent training or studying for a relevant qualification, whether at work or at a college or training organisation. The current minimum hourly rate for those aged 16 to 18 or aged 19 or over and in the first year of an apprenticeship is £4.15 (as of April 2020). 

Where unions have been recognised, the apprentice rate is likely to exceed the statutory minimum. 

For any other worker attending training that is required by the employer, onsite or off-site, during or outside your normal hours, your average hourly pay, including time spent training, must be at least the National Minimum Wage. Where training is off-site, this includes time spent travelling between the workplace and the training centre.  

The National Minimum Wage is worked out as an average basic hourly rate calculated over a ‘reference period’. This is a month if you are paid monthly, a week if you are paid weekly, or a day if you are paid daily. To avoid breaking National Minimum Wage law, your employer must pay you on average at least the National Minimum Wage for all your working hours, including training time and travelling from work to the training centre, throughout the reference period.   

Any pay for training that exceeds the National Minimum Wage will depend on your employment contract, or on any separate agreement you can make with your employer on an ad hoc basis. 

If you work in a unionised workplace, your union may have negotiated an agreement on the treatment of time spent training outside normal working hours involving, for example, time off in lieu ('TOIL'). 

If a union is not recognised where you are, why not join one and find out how to organise at your workplace to see what can be negotiated with your employer? Use our Union Finder tool to help find the union most suited to you. 

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.

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