I'm starting my first day as a lifeguard tomorrow (first job) and my boss asked me to come in just under an hour early to go over a few things with regards to lifeguarding at this company. I have already completed the RedCross training, which is required to be a lifeguard and I had to pay for.

Is it typical to be compensated for this kind of out-of-hours training?

Thanks for all your answers, but I have some details I'd like to add:

  • This is a small company and we are staffing neighborhood pools. There are only enough people on the clock to staff the pool at the minimum.
  • My boss is one of the presidents of the company. He does not clock in for work (according to the scheduling app)
  • I also don't want to come off as rude or undesirable.

Bonus edit:
As lifeguards, we also have in-service training which is paid for. This is not in-service.

  • 4
    You should be getting paid, but arguing about one hour can rub employers the wrong way. Ask if you can leave an hour early on Friday since you worked extra for the training. If they say yes, you didn't work extra. If they say no, then you have better standing to complain about not being paid next time it comes up. Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 16:01
  • Most bosses don't clock in. They're considered "exempt" which means they get a flat wage and work whatever is needed. "Salaried" is a term many use for exempt employees.
    – Chris E
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 20:12

5 Answers 5


If its a one time thing I would not make a fuss out of a 1 time only 1 hour over-time. You ll be quick to get judged for this, if the very first thing you ask for is this. If its a re-occurring thing of course you can ask for specifics but make sure you clear this up before hand and not after the fact.


You should be compensated for every hour that you are working, and you are "working" when you can't do what you want to do, but what your company wants you to do. During that training, you can't do what you want to do, so you are working and should be paid. There's the distinct possibility that you will just be paid an extra hour, or will be told to leave an hour earlier, or some companies just keep track of overtime and you will be able to take an hour off at some point.

If your boss doesn't mention anything like this, you'll need to ask, like "Hey boss, how do you handle that hour overtime?" Asking like that you state as a fact that there was overtime making it harder for the boss to argue this should be unpaid. Then you see how things go. In the worst case you might have to decide how important the hour pay is, and how important the job. Try hard not to let anyone take advantage of you.

Also, if your boss spends an hour of his unpaid time on that training, that changes things a bit because then the boss isn't taking advantage.

  • 1
    You are working when you are on duty. It doesn't matter what you "want to do" (what if you want to work?)
    – Brandin
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 15:06

Yes. No question, without a doubt.

You're in the US so here's what a lawyer citing the Fair Labor Standards Act has to say:

According to regulations, an employee’s time attending a meeting, seminar, lecture, or training must be counted as hours worked unless it meets each of four requirements:

  • the attendance is outside the employee’s regular working hours;
  • the attendance is in fact voluntary;
  • the meeting, seminar, lecture, or training is not directly related to the employee’s job; and
  • the employee does not perform productive work while attending the meeting, seminar, lecture, or training.

29 CFR 785.27

The only question is whether or not it's truly voluntary.

Now that's a legal matter. As a practical matter, is it really worth pissing your boss off for a one-time event of an hour? Sure, you're entitled, but the real question is how long will you have the job afterward? Will you be viewed as one of "those people" who complain about every little thing?

If it were me, I'd eat the hour and be glad if I got paid for it. Yeah, you deserve it, but holding hard to your principles over one hour won't pay the rent.



In about every place I know, if you are an hourly worker and are required to show up for work, even when it's labelled as "training", you need to get paid for it.

I also don't want to come off as rude or undesirable.

If you ever get a delinquent account notice (e-mail or snail-mail) from a utility or phone company, demanding payment, is that "rude"? Think about it. It's never rude to demand payment, so you that can feed yourself and tend to your responsibilities. That's called handling your business! On the other hand, it's not very smart to work for free. It becomes more severe (I'm making no assumptions here) once you're paying bills, rent / mortgage, and feeding a family, so learn this lesson quickly.

The other stuff you wrote about "small company", which seems to translate into you short-changing yourself out of pity, is a moot point. With a big company or a small one - if the agreement is to pay you $X per hour, then that's what you're owed at paycheck time. That's why every state has laws to protect employees from employers who try to underpay them.

Before you go in, CONFIRM that it's paid time.

  • Side note - the "small company" was to bring about the point that I cannot leave early since there are only enough people on duty to legally work the pool. Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 19:20
  • Got it. But you'll find lots of questions here about people being concerned for the company's schedule lapses and the overall answer is... it's only your boss's problem if you are asked to start early and, accordingly, need to leave early if the company won't authorize overtime.
    – Xavier J
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 19:44

Having a training and being on the job are 2 very different things . You might have had training but there might be some extra precautions that your new workplace observes which they need you to be familiar with. Also your boss might introduce you to other lifeguards before you actually start work, can be multiple number of reasons. In short , you shouldn't be asking for compensation to this , as this is just the first day . Over the time , if it gets repeated then it's fair to have a word with the manager .

  • 1
    I agree with some of the points here; but training being provided by the company that was not said as an external requirement for employment should be part of your job. Not necessarily worth saying anything about on your first day; but it's very common that companies will pay for training if their employees need it.
    – JMac
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 13:36
  • I agree with some of these, but we're probably going to discuss where things are, emergency action plans (for drowning etc), how I will receive paychecks, and other things. I have already paid $200 to go to a ~25 hr certification course. Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 16:36

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