Mandatory Training and Employee Pay

Apparently, this is common in my state (Colorado).
A person is hired and has to take a mandatory training for the job i.e. if you do not do the training the offer of employment is withdrawn. The rub is that since the “candidate” does not sign the contract or other employment paperwork until the end of the training they are not an employee (according to the company) and therefore they are not entitled to be paid for the training.

In either general terms or specific to the state, is this arrangement legal. Oh and if it makes a difference, the hiring company is the one running the training.

With the caveat I’m not in Colorado, every time I’ve been required to undergo training for an employer I have been paid for the time I spent in training, including when I worked for the Federal government. It can be legal to pay a lower wage during training, but it was always my experience and understanding that pay was required.

You may wish to look up employment law for Colorado.

Replace the word “candidate” with “intern” and I suspect that arrangement would be allowable in most states.

Well employers CAN require you do things before you get the job. If you don’t do them you don’t get the job.

Two things I can think of are, taking tests and drug drops.

My last job, I had to take a series of tests which took about 4 hours. This was part of the application process. I also had to take a drug test, which took about two hours with the waiting.

I’ve seen other things in ads such as mandatory CPR training and certification required before hire.

You’re getting into very gray areas. You would need to go to the Dept of Labor at your state and go to their website. Here it is forColorado


I think that US law distinguishes between training that is primarily for the benefit of the employer, and general professional development training or education.

E.g. if your employer requires you to take “Conglom-O Employee Rights and Responsibilities”, “How to use the Fizbin e-Charge Timesheet and Expense System”, “Employee Handbook Orientation”, and “Security Awareness Training”, then they probably must pay you for your time, since the benefit that they give you as an individual is dwarfed by the benefit that you taking the class gives the company.

If your employer tells you, “You need to finish your Bachelor’s degree within 5 years if you want to keep your job”, they probably don’t have to pay you for the time you spend attending class, studying, and writing papers because a Bachelor’s degree has wide utility for you outside of this employer.

In the Security business (in Minnesota), there is a requirement for a basic amount of training before you can be a ‘licensed’ (read: not really, but employable as such) Security Officer.

Most companies did the bare minimum and you were not paid for this.
A few companies paid minimum wage for that training.
Some companies conveniently forgot to do it at all.

One company wanted me to do an entire 2 weeks of full time training for FREE before (they said) I had a “chance” to be hired by them. Hahahaha. NO.

This is exactly the sort of training I am talking about. Things specific to the company’s policies and procedures and general practices.

I can tell you with absolute confidence that my employer requires the very thing the OP is talking about: four weeks of unpaid training, room & board at your own expense. HOWEVER, this unpaid training is only for some jobs within the company, but by no means all.

ETA: This is in Illinois, if it wasn’t obvious from my location field.