When you start a new job, it is common for your employer to require you to undertake training. If you have completed on-the-job training or an online course, you may be wondering, ‘am I entitled to remuneration for the training period?’
Pursuant to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), employees are entitled to be paid for their work. However, not everything that an employee does at work will be within the scope of their employment. This means that time spent in training will only be considered payable work hours if the training is part of your employment relationship.
When will this be the case?
As stated in Morton v Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (No 2)  FCA 1754, acts performed by an employee who performing duties, or acts incidental to the performance of those duties, will be within the course of an employment relationship. Cases such as Morton have set out a number of facts that indicate whether an action is performed in the course of the employment relationship. Applied to the context of training, factors that point towards your training being within the course of your employment would be:
Therefore, if your training falls within your employment relationship, you will entitled to full remuneration pursuant to your employment contract or relevant award.
What if I am covered by an enterprise agreement that says something different?
If your employment is covered by an enterprise agreement, your employer may be entitled to pay you less than your ordinary wage while you are undertaking training. A good example of this can be seen in the recent news coverage of the Grill’d training policies. Pursuant to the Grill’d Enterprise Agreement 2015, employees who are undertaking an Accredited Traineeship receive a lower hourly pay than those who are not. Under section 57 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), these pay rates will apply instead of those outlined in the relevant award.
Therefore, if you are covered by a similar agreement, you may lawfully receive less remuneration for the hours spent completing training compared to the hours you were not completing training.
In the majority of situations, you will be entitled to remuneration for the hours spent undertaking training. The only exception to this is if your training is not undertaken within the scope of your employment relationship. Alternatively, you may not be entitled to receive your normal hourly rate during training if you are covered by an enterprise agreement that contains a clause to that effect.