My friend works for a company that employs some hourly and some salary employees. They are going to be having a semi-optional (people are strongly encouraged to go) team-building work event in which employees will be expected to overcome some obstacle as a team (outdoors, strenuous, and will take the full day). If people do not wish to take part they may spend the day at the office and work.

My question is, should the hourly employees get paid for a team building exercise like this? Right now it seems unclear whether or not they will be paid, but my friend seems to think they will not be.

We live in Canada.

  • Mind telling us your location? Local regulations may apply. Also, why does your friend don't ask their employer what would it be?
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 18:37
  • This seems like an issue of company policy, to me. Whether the company should do it or not is opinion-based, and whoever makes the policies is the one who's opinion counts. We can't answer for that person
    – Steve-O
    Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 18:38
  • 1
    @DarkCygnus I didn't want to be too specific... but I suppose narrowing to a country can't hurt. Updated
    – Lyco
    Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 18:39
  • 1
    @Steve-O but there may be a legal aspect, related to the location, that any user with HR experience could answer
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 18:39
  • 3
    Of course they should be paid. To be honest, even those salaried should be paid, i.e. the event should be organised during the work time for everybody. An exception can be made for salaried employees and short events, like drinks after work. But then it's ok if employees can't attend. The event can't be obligatory unless it's organised during paid work hours.
    – BigMadAndy
    Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 19:08

2 Answers 2


In the US, if it is a required work event and they are hourly, they need to be paid. I don't know if the same holds true for Canada. However, the advice to find out if it is paid would still work.

It sounds like this is not required, just strongly encouraged.

In that case, the friend should say that they would like to attend but need to be paid for the day, and will have to decline, because they need the money. The company will then clarify if they will be paid (which they will, if they really wish hourly employees to attend).

  • OP clarified this is Canada and not US... mind updating your answer? Or say why it also applies to Canada?
    – DarkCygnus
    Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 18:40
  • It seems to be required to do something company related - either turn up at the event, or come to the office.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Aug 23, 2018 at 22:19

You may want to consult the respective labour authority of your province in Canada. For example:

What Counts as Work Time? by Ministry of Labour, Ontario

Excerpt with my emphasis added:

Training Time

Time spent by an employee in training that is required by the employer or by law is counted as work time. For example, where the training is required because the employee is a new employee or where it is required as a condition of continued employment in a position, the training time is considered to be work time.

Time spent in training that is not required by the employer or by law in order for an employee to do his or her job is not counted as work time. For example, where an employee hoping for a promotion with the employer takes training in order to qualify for it, time spent taking the training is not considered to be work time.

Best option is to clarify directly with your employer/manager.

  • @Crossroader why do you think this will apply team building is part of company training /personal development is it not? Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 21:47

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