Editor’s Note: This is a post from MSTA’s Staff Attorney Scott Smith.

One of the most fundamental concepts of employment is getting paid. The employee works, and in exchange, the employer gives you a paycheck. This straightforward concept becomes a little tricky when looking at training hours, time traveling to and from work, and other time we spend for our jobs, but not necessarily working. We’re going to look at two different categories of employees when determining whether or not they need to be paid for these various work-related activities.

Since teachers are salaried employees with a contract, we don’t have to track their hours to determine how much they should get paid. Professional development days, and taking on extra duties as assigned such as bus duty and cafeteria monitoring, are part of the job and do not require additional payment from the school. As long as these extra assignments are not excessive, and spread out as evenly as possible among the people involved, the school can make these events part of the job. We should note that this concept does not apply for coaching positions or other extra duties where a large amount of work is placed on a single employee. In those situations, the employee should receive an extra-duties contract and additional payment for that work.

Because hourly employees don’t have a set annual salary and get paid for each hour they work, the rules are a bit different. When hourly employees are going through mandatory job training, or take on extra responsibilities that extend the workday, they must be compensated for the time they are working. Under the rules of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), mandatory job training is one of many activities an employee must be compensated for. However, employees do not have to receive compensation for travel time to and from work and their home. If you have more questions about how you should be compensated as an hourly employee, you should contact the MSTA Legal Services Department. You can contact us by phone at 866-343-6186, or email at legalservices@msta.org.

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