Do we have to pay employees for a mandatory staff meeting? If so, how much?
– Reader; Cross Village, Mich.
Yes. Foodservice operators often bristle at paying wages for activities like trainings and meetings that don’t have a direct revenue correlation. It’s hard enough to make money and control labor costs when actually serving guests.
Whether the meeting is during regular work hours or outside of them, onsite, offsite or online, required or optional, you’ll need to pay at least full minimum wage to hourly employees.
Based on the Fair Labor Standards act, in order not pay for a meeting or training, all four of these criteria must apply:
- it must be outside of normal hours
- it must be voluntary
- it must not be job related
- no other work is concurrently performed.
Obviously, a mandatory staff meeting would not satisfy these criteria.
As always, regulations change and vary by state, so check with your attorney and restaurant association for the latest guidance in your area.
In the long run, having a fairly compensated, engaged and well-trained staff will yield returns. But the labor cost of a mandatory meeting is a good reminder to keep meetings focused and high impact.
More on staff meetings here.