working for minimum wage, but asked to do training in my own time. Legal?

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  • working for minimum wage, but asked to do training in my own time. Legal?
  • Premier Icon BigEaredBiker
    Subscriber

    Not sure if its illegal but any training I’ve ever had to do for an employer has always been on the job.

    That being said, I can think of plenty of jobs where you would have to get a qualification in order to do the job, and no one would pay you to do it.

    I suppose the best way to look at it is would this training enhance your long term career prospects and does it result in a recognised qualification? That would steer how I view it. I would also talk to them about providing you with facilities where you could watch the videos since you don’t have a decent home connection – or they pay for you to be hooked up 🙂

    UrbanHiker
    Member

    What’s the company? I’ve hired lots of boats in my time, I shall be avoiding them in the future.

    I’ve no idea if its legal or not. But its not moral. Required training, is no different from doing the job itself. Its exactly the same as saying emptying this inbox is part of the job, but you have to do it over your weekend. Sucks.

    On a slightly different note, should you really be on minimum wage, if its a skilled job? Perhaps you could ask for a raise after doing it?

    m0rk
    Member

    If it’s anything like any of the mandatory online training I’ve done for two multi nationals I’ve just had them on in the background while doing my work muted

    Most won’t let you pass until you’ve selected the right answer at each step anyway.

    Premier Icon boriselbrus
    Subscriber

    I’ve just joined a large national company on minimum wage. Their training programme which is compulsory to pass the probation period is an on line thing which takes at least 30 hours to complete. This apparently is to be done in my own time. Is this legal? Nothing was said during the interview.

    There is a further complication in that a lot of the training is video based and I live in the middle of nowhere and don’t have broadband, just a very slow connection via my phone so can’t stream the videos anyway.

    Any advice appreciated.

    Thanks

    poah
    Member

    what does it say in your contract? I found this on another forum

    The contract itself possibly has some guidance on this issue. If they are not acting within the terms of their own contract, then breach of contract is a normal avenue for employee with less than 2 years service. There is no qualifying period for breach of contract, but it can be a tough one to make stick.

    A general principle of employment is that attending compulsory training during normal working hours would be classed as working hours, which should be paid. There is no absolute requirement for all hours to be paid at the same rate (eg, overtime, flat salary). Although it may be unusual and not very nice for training hours to be unpaid, they still count as “hours worked” and would need to fall within the National Minimum Wage. What this means is that her overall hours (including the unpaid ones) should be paid at an average rate that meets the NMW. If your daughter’s hours are close to NMW anyway, adding on these unpaid hours could take her below. One word of caution is that NMW is calculated as the average for a pay reference period, so if she is monthly paid, the unpaid hours have less relevance than if she is weekly paid.

    NMW regulations do not have any qualifying period, so a claim could be brought by someone in their first week of employment (though it would probably be their last!)

    If you find that the contract covers this and that they would still be paying above minimum wage, then I don’t see a lot of options.

    The other thing you might want to look at is the contracted hours, if the training is to be done outside of these hours then that is your time. if it mentions in the contract that the training is considered unpaid overtime then you have the right not to do OT and it has to be agreed with the emplyee and would therefor be voluntary.

    The other thing is if you can’t physically do it because of your connection then you would have to do it during work hours would you not?

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    There is a further complication in that a lot of the training is video based and I live in the middle of nowhere and don’t have broadband, just a very slow connection via my phone so can’t stream the videos anyway.

    That’s your answer then isn’t it. “Sorry, I’d love to, but ?I can’t unless you provide me with appropriate broadband access.”

    Think if it were me I’d be telling them to shove it up their chuff. I don’t work for free.

    scousebri
    Member

    Not illegal and quite common place now. Companies find it cheaper to use online training than on the job training. They get you doing your contracted hours with out the interruption of training. If the company has a lot of employees to train then this is most likely the route they will take. Not to be harsh but it isn’t there problem you don’t have internet connection. Try asking for a dongle and laptop so you can complete the training, at the end of the day it benefits them if you are trained correctly.

    Premier Icon johnhe
    Subscriber

    Training which is 30hrs long probably takes about two hours to complete in the real world. Most of it is incredibly common sense, so I skip through to the knowledge tests and just go back and read the materials on the questions I fail.

    Chew
    Member

    I suppose it depends on how much you want/need the job?

    If its a Multinational company i’m sure they know what the legal position is.

    If you kick up a fuss and come across as an arse its going to do you no favours in the long run, so in these situations be polite and reasonable.

    Explain your home situation reguarding internet access and ask what the options are. They may have facilities at work, or go to the library to do it. As others have said its probably mostly common sense stuff and you’ll probably be able to skip a lot of the learning and just wing the tests in less time than suggested.

    If you want to move away from minimum wage roles you’ll have to put in the extra hours (unpaid) to gain extra qualifications and skills to get yourself another higher paid job. I’d not like to think about the 100’s of hours i’ve put in, but the investment is paying dividends now.

    May sound harse, but sounds like you’ll need to suck it up and pass if you want to pass your probationary period, otherwise just find another job (which may have the same training).

    Premier Icon bails
    Subscriber

    Mrs Bails (HR bod) has just said it’s most likely illegal.

    Premier Icon boriselbrus
    Subscriber

    Cheers guys, it’s not for a recognised qualification – it’s basically their induction training and it consists of lots of videos which have to be watched before quizzes so will be lots of hours as you can’t get to the questions without seeing the video. It’s a semi skilled manual job with no access to computers in work time.

    Only took the job as a lifestyle change and location change and am way over qualified for it so could do something else but I’m enjoying it.

    Might suggest doing it on a company computer at Lunchtime as a compromise as I don’t want to be an arse…

    Premier Icon boriselbrus
    Subscriber

    Just spoken to the DWP minimum wage helpline and they have confirmed I must either be paid for the time I spend doing the training or the hourly rate must be adjusted to take the time into account. To not do so would be illegal.

    Will be having a little chat with the manager tomorrow…

    Premier Icon tomhoward
    Subscriber

    Will be having a little chat with the manager tomorrow…

    And the sad fact is he simply wont take you on/continue your employment if you go in all guns blazing demanding to be paid to do it.

    hels
    Member

    What company ?

    Moses
    Member

    I’d go for the “no-broadband at home” story, suggest you do your first hour per day on the course.

    Premier Icon boriselbrus
    Subscriber

    Well I certainly won’t be going in all guns blazing! It’ll be very diplomatic…

    Fortunately, the manager is really nice, the company is very busy and they are struggling to recruit people. I could go temping and earn more tomorrow (but I like the job). I can’t see them getting rid of me for this, but if they did it would hurt them more than me.

    I won’t disclose the name but they are a big well known retailer who appeared in the Sunday Times best 25 big companies to work for.

    Premier Icon bigblackshed
    Subscriber

    From what you have said about the training OP, I’d have a guess at Human Focus? You can’t skip the videos to get the knowledge questions.

    Asking you to do it in your own time is just taking the piss. Thay should pay you for that time or time off in lieu.

    they are struggling to recruit people.

    no sh*t, I wonder why that is

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    Part to the on-going interview process. Two ways to pass

    (1) get in with it – shows enthusiasm and drive
    (2) politely inform manager of regulations and get done at a convenient time for you both

    Looks like you have both covered.

    Personally I would have gone for (1) but hey?

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    If its a Multinational company i’m sure they know what the legal position is.

    They may know it, but whether they choose to comply with it is a different matter.

    maybe comprise and ask if you can start a little before the end of the day using a training room with broadband?

    Premier Icon woody21
    Subscriber

    If training is government funded then not illegal but not compliant with SFA funding rules as expectation is that the employer will allow you to train during normal work hours

    I can remember in 1991 being on a YTS working 50 hours a week for £26.50, never moaned, just got on with it and thought that enthusiasm would get me further than those who sat around on their hands protesting at what they were asked to do.

    When i’m driving around in my executive uber barge and drawing £4k a month in wages I never forget that I got here by being flexible, enthusiastic and didn’t go out my way to throw H & S/HR/Working time directive stuff at my employers, those who did still have bum jobs and still moan about having bum jobs.

    Moral of the story is……

    slowoldgit
    Member

    … the moral of the story might be that you’ve been lucky. Your record counts for little when the company is bought out and shut down.

    Squib
    Member

    Sounds like you’re talking about ‘Gears 1’ and if you’re over qualified for the job, it should take 2 hours in the grand scheme of things as very few procedures are covered in it. You can request to do this in work time on any of the terminals…

    Mehhh, try doing a degree, about 3600 hours of unpaid training that you have to pay for. I’ve just applied for a second masters which will be about another 1800 hours.

    Do the 30 hours, be enthusiastic about it, do more training if they offer it, ask for more training. Training’s great, it’s like the office stationary cuppboard, only the boss is happy if you take lots of it, and you can take it with you when you leave and it look good on your CV.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    Yes it’s legal to ask staff to do training in their own time, at least none essential training anyway. I’ve got sone to finish off today I’ve done loads of training in my own time and lots in work time.

    Junkyard
    Member

    I agree with Drac here if they make you do it then it is work

    Certainly mandatory training and also apprenticeship training has to be paid and I would be very surprised if this was legal

    Even if it i and given they are a multinational it is clearly taking the piss and a sign of how good an employer they are

    if you were all in a union this would not happen 😉

    it wouldn’t though.

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    Not quite what I meant my fault for not giving more info.

    It’s training to get a job so fair to ask you to do some in your own time. Thisianotaspoon gives a good example, my employers expect people to do their degree in their own time. They do a good chunk of it in work time for essential parts but the writing of assignments and studying is done in their own time, it’s far more than 30 hours too.

    An essential training I was referring to was for items such as H&S or job specific that need one to one interface.

    However, explain the Broadband issue to them and see what they can do to help or tell them to stuff it and be unemployed for the sake of a few hours.

    Even if it i and given they are a multinational it is clearly taking the piss and a sign of how good an employer they are

    Id take it as a good sign, I bet the training probably costs them more than minimum wage/hour.

    Its 30 hours FFS. Give up your TV time for a couple of weeks, get it done, stick a line on your CV to say you’ve been formaly trained in XYZ, and if you still feel hard done by quit and get another min wage job. Because no ones going to give you a better job without qualifications and thats going to take some hard work and hours.

    Premier Icon vinnyeh
    Subscriber

    In m opinion there’s a line between what I consider training and education (i.e. broadly speaking I think that site/company specific stuff is training, transferrable stuff that shouldn’t need to be repeated is education).

    If it’s training then I think it should really be done in the employer’s time or time paid for, education shold be at the employers discretion.

    Junkyard
    Member

    Their training programme which is compulsory to pass the probation period is an on line thing which takes at least 30 hours to complete

    to quote the OP they ar emaking you do their trainign and not paying you to do it

    try asking them for an unpaid week off and see what they say- its the same old same old where employers just take the piss
    imagine how much they save making each employee do this rather than pay them.

    I agree that if you elect to do training they dont ask you to then that is a different issue and it should be done in your own time.

    No employer [ legally i think] and certainly not morally can demand you do their training and then not pay for it
    I dont have access to my employment law book at aowrk but i will check what it says later tonight

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