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Do Employees Have to Be Paid for Training?

Do Employees Have to Be Paid for Training?

Employees often have to undergo training as part of the job that they do. Find out here when you should be paid to undergo training.

20th April 2020
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Often, employees will undergo training in the workplace. Whether this is to further develop your skillset or essential to the work that you do, it’s not always clear whether you should be remunerated for this time. In this article, we’ll explain the circumstances where you should be paid to undergo training.

Payment for workplace training

The Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) outlines when employees need to be paid. Employees need to be remunerated for hours worked, and this includes hours dedicated to training. Your employee needs to be paid their hourly rate (or applicable penalty rate) for:

  • Training sessions
  • Meetings
  • Arriving early or staying late to open or close the business

If any of these occur outside of your employee’s usual working hours, they must be paid on top of this. For example, retail and food businesses may expect employees to be on the register “ready to go” at their starting time on the roster. Hence, this requires employees to come in earlier. The same applies for employees who remain at work later to close the business.

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Vocational placements

Many university degrees require students to undergo practical placements. These placements where approved by the institution and necessary for the completion of the degree and lawfully unpaid. This is also on the condition that you will be learning skills relevant to your degree, and necessary for you to enter the workforce. However, some placement centres may offer remuneration. As a student you can initiate your placement with the business directly, so long as it is in line with the requirements of your course.

Internships and volunteer placements

As an intern you learn and develop skills that are relevant to the career you wish to pursue. You can gain experience and get an in-depth knowledge of what your chosen industry is like. Thus, pay is not applicable in this situation. Internships and volunteer work can be a valuable way for students to make the transition from study to work, or explore a new career path. Sometimes these arrangements can lead to ongoing employment. Although you will be undergoing training, you are not entitled to compensation. Volunteer work is just that – voluntary. The nature of volunteer work is that it is unpaid, and this includes any training attached.


Whether you should be paid for training largely depends on whether there is an employment relationship in place. If you work as a paid employee, you should be paid for any additional training you undergo, as well as meetings you attend which are outside your ordinary hours. For the purpose of professional development, your employer may offer to pay but this is not mandatory. However, if you are undergoing training as part of a vocational placement or internship, you do not need to be paid. If you are not sure whether you should be paid for training you have completed, it may be worth getting in touch with an employment lawyer.

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Sheza Shahid

Sheza is a legal intern at Lawpath. She is completing a Bachelor of Laws at Macquarie University. She is interested in corporate/commercial issues within the legal industry.