I am considering paying non-exempt new-hires a bonus ($400-$600) after successful completion of training instead of paying an hourly salary during the 2-4 week training period.

This is completely illegal under both federal and state law. Workers must be paid for hours worked. Mandatory training time is considered time worked. This is even truer if the training is on the employer’s premises. Call centers receiving calls from other states are subject to Federal Fair Labor Standards laws.

Your question implies that unsuccessful prospects would not be paid for the time they were in training. “Not paying employees means working them for free. Working for free is slavery. Slavery was outlawed in the 1800s”. Federal minimum wage laws also apply. Virginia laws require two paydays per month so working people for 4 weeks without paying them is against state law.

We recommend paying minimum wage for all new hires and paying a bonus for successfully completing training. If you have a high failure rate you might consider a more restrictive selection process, better working conditions or a better training process.


Hope that helps you out. =)


A note about HR laws:
Laws concerning employee treatment, benefits, hiring and firing…etc are multi-level. What this means is that there are Federal laws, state laws and sometimes local regulations that have jurisdiction over an employee. The information presented here should not be considered legal advice. Ultimately, employers with serious legal questions should consult local attorneys with expertise in worker relations.
The questions and answers presented here are based on research and data from internet sources and should not be considered the final word.

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