This Section applies to General Schedule, Foreign Personnel, and Federal Wage Service Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) exempt (not covered) and non-exempt (covered) employees.
Definition of Training
Training. Training means the process of providing for and making available to an employee, and placing or enrolling the employee in, a planned, prepared, and coordinated program, course, curriculum, subject, system, or routine of instruction or education, in scientific, professional, technical, mechanical, trade, clerical, fiscal, administrative, or other fields which will improve individual and organizational performance and assist in achieving the agency's mission and performance goals (5 U.S.C. 4101).
According to Title 5 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) § 410.404, agencies may sponsor an employee's attendance at a conference as a developmental assignment under section 4110 of Title 5, United States Code, when:
- The announced purpose of the conference is educational or instructional;
- More than half of the time is scheduled for a planned, organized exchange of information between presenters and audience which meets the definition of training in section 4101 of Title 5, United States Code;
- The content of the conference is germane to improving individual and/or organizational performance, and
- Development benefits will be derived through the employee's attendance.
Whether time spent in traveling to and from training is compensable as hours of work is governed by rules which are distinct from those governing training. More information can be found at the Pay Policy titled “Travel Time as Hours of Work.”
Time spent in training during regular working hours shall be considered hours of work (5 CFR 551.423(a)(1)). Training taken during non-overtime hours of an employee's regular workday is work payable at the employee's basic rate.
Generally, employees may not receive overtime, holiday, or night differential pay for time spent in training (5 U.S.C. 4109(a)(1)). An exempt (not covered) and a non-exempt (covered) employee's premium pay entitlement for training hours is governed by 5 U.S.C. 4109. However, a non-exempt (covered) employee may also have an overtime entitlement for training hours as a result of FLSA. Consequently, a non-exempt (covered) employee may have an overtime entitlement for training hours when an exempt (not covered) employee has none.
Under FLSA, the purpose of the training is relevant in determining whether an employee can be paid at the overtime rate for training. Under 5 U.S.C. 4109, the purpose of training is not a criterion of eligibility for premium pay; in fact, 5 U.S.C. 4109 severely limits the circumstances under which an employee can be paid any form of premium pay.
Under FLSA Regulations
A non-exempt (covered) employee has an overtime entitlement for training hours which are in excess of the FLSA overtime standard (i.e., hours over 40), if the time spent in training or preparing for training outside of regular working hours meets the following conditions:
- The employee is directed to participate in the training by their employing agency; and (5 CFR 551.423(a)(2)(i)); and
- The purpose of the training is to improve the employee’s performance of the duties and responsibilities of their current position (5 CFR 551.423(a)(2)(ii)).
Under Title 5
Except for the limited situations listed below, 5 U.S.C. 4109 (a)(1) generally prohibits payment of any form of premium pay for time spent in training. Under 5 CFR 410.402(a), no funds appropriated or otherwise available to an agency may be used for the payment of premium pay to an employee engaged in training, with certain exceptions. These exceptions include (5 CFR 410.402(b)):
- Continuation of premium pay - the employee is given training during a period of duty for which the employee is already receiving premium pay for overtime, night, holiday, or Sunday work. This exception does not apply to full-time training at institutions of higher learning.
- Training at night – because the situation that the employee must learn to handle occurs only at night.
- Cost savings - the cost of the training, premium pay included, is less than the cost of the same training confined to regular work hours.
- Availability pay - during agency-sanctioned training to a criminal investigator who is eligible for availability pay. A bureau, at its discretion, can provide availability pay to investigators during periods of initial basic training.
- Standby and administratively uncontrollable duty - for regularly scheduled standby duty or administratively uncontrollable overtime work, during periods of temporary assignment for training as provided by 5, CFR 550.162(c).
- Firefighter overtime pay - see specific conditions under 5 CFR 410.402(6).
- An exemption granted to an agency under 5 CFR 410.402(b)(7), and
- Border Patrol agent overtime supplement.
Compensation for Training Connected Travel
The prohibition on payment of premium pay in connection with training does not prevent payment of overtime compensation to employees traveling to and from places of training provided the conditions governing compensation for travel are met. For more information, see the pay policy titled “Compensable Overtime Travel.”
Reviewed by OHRM, September 2020.
References: 5 CFR 410.402, 410.404, 551.423; 5 U.S.C. 4101, 4109; OPM, “Training and Development Policy Wiki – Employees' Pay and Work Schedules During Training”