Unpaid Training Lawyers for Employees
Some employers do not pay their employees during training and some employers do not pay their employees for what they call an “extended job interview”. Both are illegal. All employees in Ontario must be paid at all times. The only time it is ok not to pay someone for work is when that individual is not actually an employee.
Whether someone is actually an employee depends on the circumstances. For example, bona fide independent contractors, volunteers and interns are not employees and need not be paid for training. However, it is very challenging for employers to prove an individual is an independent contractor or intern, and it doesn’t matter what the employer calls the individual. More often than not, the individual is actually an employee and must be paid at all times.
Generally, workers are independent contractors if their employer exerts little to no control over them, they own their tools of the trade, and they are in business for themselves, not the employer.
Workers are volunteers if the person performing the services views the arrangement as being pursuant to his pursuit of a charitable-like activity, not a livelihood, and whether an economic imbalance between the two parties was a factor in structuring the arrangement.
Workers are interns if the training received by the intern is similar to that which is given in school; the training is for the benefit of the individual; the business providing the training derives little, if any, benefit from the activity of the individual while he or she is being trained; the individual does not displace employees of the person providing the training; the individual is not accorded a right to become an employee of the person providing the training; and the individual is advised that he or she will receive no remuneration for the time that he or she spends in the training.
In summary, employers do not have to pay workers for training if, and only if, the workers are true independent contractors, interns or volunteers.