Q&A with your information officer

June 22, 2023 Our Resources

Q: My manager has told the team and I that we are required to stay up to date with the most current safety requirements. I was wondering if we should be paid while completing this training?

A: All compulsory training must be paid. No exceptions.

From time-to-time, employers may require their employees to undertake essential training to ensure that they are proficient in performing their duties. Employers undertake this to ensure staff are aware of company policies (policy updates and/or refreshers), as well as ensuring that they have the right skills and knowledge to perform their role.

The most common forms of training include:

  • On/off-the-job training,
  • Online/face-to-face learning,
  • Individual/team-based training.

One of the common concerns our members share with us is that they are not being paid for their time to undertake this “essential” training.

If an employee is required to undertake mandatory training as a part of their job, whether inside or outside of work hours, they have a right to be paid for all time spent training. However, if training is genuinely voluntary the same obligation does not apply.

Sometimes the line between compulsory and voluntary training can be difficult to discern. If you are concerned about not being paid for completed training, contact the SDA.

Q: I’m a casual employee working at a small retail store. Last week, I was rostered to work a four-hour shift. After one hour of working my manager sent me home – she said the store is super quiet, so they didn’t need me. I just received my payslip and was only paid for one hour.

This does not seem right. What are my rights regarding this issue?

A: You’re correct. This isn’t right.

You are entitled to work and to be paid for all of the hours you have been contracted to work, i.e. the full four hour shift.

As a casual, if you have been contacted before arriving at work and the commencement of the shift to reduce your hours, then the employer may make the change.

However, the employer cannot unilaterally change your working hours once you commence work.

If your employer proposes to cut your shift short and send you home, the Union recommends you advise that you are happy to leave if you are paid for your full shift and speak with your workplace Shop Steward or Delegate immediately if there is any issue.